Monday 7.12.2015 – International evening

I watched the news and weather forecast this morning and it looked like a big cloud system is coming towards us. So it looked like the resting day might be tomorrow. We already made some plans for the resting day, it would be great to go to Dubbo zoo.

There was again an international safety minute at the briefing, Andy Davis was telling examples of joining and leaving the thermal and how you have to watch not only left and right, but also up and under your wing. Boyd (USA) and Sam (UK) were the pilots thermalling in front of us.

Also it was confirmed in the briefing that the international evening will be today and tomorrow is a resting day. I don’t know how many noticed, but on Jenny’s weather information was a warning for Wednesday morning about possible storm with hails. So it might be that we lose one more day for the weather before the end.

Towings – postponed

Towings usually start here when they are intended to start, so you don’t see those hours and hours waiting like in Europe when the weather is bad. That’s good, since it wouldn’t be great to wait in these hot conditions. Today was different from that. First towings were postponed half an hour to 12:00, before that Standard class task time was shortened from 5 hours to 4,5 hours. Also Club class got a B task. After Standard class was launched, towings were stopped for a while, Team captains were asked again in front of the grid as there was a C task for Club class. Their task was originally 507 km, but it was changed completely and distance shortened to 360 km.

While we were waiting, and the high Cirrus cloud was getting over us and becoming thicker and thicker, some speculation started arising in the grid. It is very traditional, it is as traditional as the International evening is. Every time there will be questions like “since the weather is like this, how many people do you think will be in the international evening”, meaning that people will land out and since crews are collecting their pilots back, the party is pretty quiet. I’ve heard those speculations as many times as I’ve been in international evening-parties. Also some comment on the frequency is usual, the comment is usually quite martyr-like (sorry) “start the party without me, this isn’t going well”.

I talked with the task setter Paul about the speculations and he told me that they knew about those. But he said that they are confident that the flying weather will be good despite of the cirrus cloud. That thick cirrus cloud would definitely kill the flying weather if we would be in Europe, but it doesn’t happen here.

This was proven when the club class finished the task easily. But problem on Standard class might have been that their task time was still 4,5 h, but they weren’t able to start before 14:00-14:15 and the day (flying weather) was going to end quite soon after 18.00. Sun was setting when club class had arrived, but there were just first signs of the standard class. Half of them made it, but rest of them had retrieval towings or crews collecting them from the field.

So the international evening started slowly, but more and more people arrived and it was very traditional party after all. Only thing was that teams were more concentrated on liquor than food, as it’s forbidden to bring any food to Australia.

We tried to find the Southern Cross in the evening, as the sky was really clear. But there was no luck, but I think I found it just when we were about to leave. I had looked for it too low on the sky. Perhaps there will be another chance to see it before it’s time to go home.

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