The End of August and I took the plunge to enter the Whitesheet Thermal lottery (sorry English Open). I took 2 Willow 2 models along for the weekend and it was great to see 3 other pilots with various Willow versions. It was interesting to see the Willow 2 with a Willow 1 tail that Joe Cubitt has been enjoying so much- it certainly looked to have a good turning control in the light air.
John Bennett flying his Willow 1 looked his classy self all the way through the race.
The delay in the start of the race gave time for the almost no wind conditions to be well established and start to swing off course whilst the factor 30 to be liberally applied. With ballast completely removed the Willow 2 behaved impeccably and was placed around the top 5 in the first 2 rounds. Flying in conditions which demand reliability and performance seem to be right up the Willow’s street.
A rush of blood and optimism that our change of slope and slight increase in summer breeze had me gambling on ballast and loosing.
The Joy of Whitesheet is the variability of conditions. A summer’s day flying the slope is one of soaring’s great pleasures and should be enjoyed- even when you are racing. This does mean that in racing at Whitesheet you are buying a ticket for the thermal lottery but this is not news and the variability of F3F has always been one of it’s great pleasures.
Perhaps it is the low nature of the Whitesheet slopes that seems to emphasize the variances in lift more than other sites. Whilst I do not see the English open Ever rivalling the Welsh Open in terms of speed or prestige it’s a great place to fly with some excellent company.
After a fun evening meal and an interesting night under canvas and massive rain it was time to convene for day 2. A dash of common sense and we were drinking coffee in a local pub garden. Although the bad weather meant that there was no racing on the Sunday, the 4 hours it took to read out the previous day’s scores mean that the rain had stopped in Devon on the way home.
I had the chance to fly some more and test out my latest Merlin. It’s very tempting to pack a Merlin and a Willow for the Welsh open- next to the BaroccaJ
- Not a bad end to a fun weekend!