Report on a new race series that began in April 2013.
This championship began last year. I believe it was the organizer, Martin Lonien’s first attempt to hold a Condor race series. Last year the entire series was flown off-line by the competitors. This was really nice because you could compete any time that was convenient and it was very relaxed.
This year the series is back and it seems that Martin really did his homework and did an excellent job preparing for a much improved series. He prepared a nice competition document, nicely organized with all required information. The competition began in May with a series of four training races. I only managed to compete in one of these but was glad I was able to do at least one. At first I didn’t understand the requirement to sign up for a time slot to compete. I happened to register on Thursday, which was one of the two weekly race days. There are four time slots to choose from and you pick a time slot from the registration page at the time that you sign up or any time thereafter, except on race days when these choices don’t show up at all.
Registration page with option to pick a time slot
Since the top part of this page containing the time slot choice radio buttons didn’t appear the day I signed up, or on the next page, it took a post to the Condor forum to learn the proper procedure.
The first official race was held last Thursday and Friday. I attempted to race but when I clicked on the join button I was rejected by the host because it claimed that my scenery had been altered. The scenery in question was Greece 2.1. After the competition Martin sent out an email to competitors that the server was mistakenly running Greece 2.0. As a result, only two people who hadn’t upgraded from 2.0 managed to compete. I believe he is throwing out the results for this race.
The second race was run yesterday and today and my time slot was the last one today at 5pm UTC or 1pm EDT, my time.
A very kind and generous friend of my brother’s gave me his 7” Dell Streak with a badly cracked screen to run XCSoar on. After trying it a short while, I spotted a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 at Costco for only $170 so I bought the Tab and returned the Dell. I am very happy with this arrangement and it is fun learning Android which I had never used before. The galaxy connects to Condor through a wireless virtual serial port called com0com. I can connect to my PC with the tab, either wirelessly or through the supplied USB charging cable making it quite easy to create waypoint files on my pc and transfer them to the tab.
The race “committee sends out an abridged task briefing two hours before race join time. The briefing doesn’t specify waypoints so, unless you can guess what Condor waypoints are being used from the map supplied in the briefing, you have to wait until the detailed briefing is published on the Condor Club site fifteen minutes before joint time. This inevitably leads to a mad scramble to enter the new waypoints into a waypoint file, transfer them to your flight computer (my Samsung Galaxy Tab 2) and create the task on the Tab with the help of the waypoint file created on the pc.
I was able to prepare early today because the turn points on the map were pretty unambiguous so I created the task in Condor, joined the task briefly, exited and saved an IGC. I was still concerned that a non-standard Condor waypoint had been used but when the detailed briefing was finally published, the waypoints I had used, checked out.
At 1pm I jumped right into the race as soon as possible so that I would have a little time to solve problems if I was rejected by the server, as I had been last week. This week’s race used the New Zealand .8 scenery, but I had applied two texture enhancements and I hoped that these upgrades wouldn’t cause the server to reject me again.
Fortunately I had no problem this time. The only small mistake I made was that I was in such a hurry to join that I forgot to check all the details of the task. I already knew wind direction and speed 112 degrees at 31 Kph, knew the thermals would be strong with normal activity but it would have been nice to know the width as well as a few other details lacking in the briefing.
Here’s a shot northeast of the start on the way to TP1. In the distance you can see the lake and the point of land which has been the turnpoint for several Condor races that started from Glentanner airport, near Mount Cook. Wichada and I stayed there when we visited New Zealand about eight years ago.
I didn’t race badly but I feel that I didn’t take advantage of some potentially pretty strong thermals. I feel like I passed by some strong ridge lift early on and ended up making the best of weaker ridge lift later on. Perhaps I could have capitalized on some strong thermals too.