The following entries are available for this year:
On Friday evening after checking the Suffolk Club's forum it looked like winching for the day wasn't going to happen with only two members signed on (myself being one of them). I posted one final comment about it probably not happening and that was enough to spur enough people to come out of the wood work.
On Saturday morning I arrived shortly after 10am. John was already there and looked a little stressed; something to do with the padlock! Between the two of us we wheeled out the winches and started readying the field. Next to arrive was Richard and Keith, the required winch operators for the day. Richard was without glider so very honourably took up position on the clubs oldest winch, the Princess! That meant me; John and Keith would be winch fodder for the day.
By the time of my first winch, the wind was quite cross (45-70 degrees) and a little gusty. I was the second person to be towed on the Princess (John's early tow was a little too light). After the all out was given I was hauled forward. Richard on the winch was now correcting for that earlier lighter tow and was now adding more tension to the cable, probably a little too much for my comfort as my glider was dancing all over the sky. I wasn't enjoying this and mistakenly attempted my first release before the tension had fully dropped off. The result was a weak link break, a slightly less than perfect landing on the runway and a long walk with the glider back to launch.
For launch 2, the Princess winch was replaced with the Koch making my second launch a much less stressful experience. The wind was very cross, almost due south so limiting my final release height. Richard would later advise me on letting the glider drift down wind but pointing towards the winch to get a better tow.
Although the sky looked interesting, connecting with any reasonable lift eluded most of us. It wasn't until I lent Richard my Target before someone finally connected with some lift. Richard was able to stat aloft for over 15 minutes and achieved an altitude of 1,100 feet (as recorded on my vario - shame I couldn't take credit for it). I think that was a personal best for my Target! I told myself that Richard being 20kg lighter gave him that advantage!
My remaining launches were all very similar, however, as the wind started to blow more from the west e.g. down the runway, better height gain on tow was achieved. I ended the day with my worst landing to date (I blame the wind suddenly switching to the south). My 'belly flop' was also caught on video so after that I decided that that was enough for today and started to pack up. I'd had 7 tows and was now tired (something to do with all that sun!), so assisted a few more launches and after that the group consensus was that's it for the day! By 17:30 we were packing everything into the hanger and setting off to our respective abodes (for me, just over a 2 hour drive away!).