There was a certain amount of excitement around the competitors when the met man said the first three days were flyable (about time I thought). So with 60 gliders on the grid and an a very okay looking sky I wasn’t surprised to be launched at 12 noon on task A Alpha (230km). However, as our start gate opened at 13:25 the sky was very grey and filled in with little sun getting through (the 60 gliders have been divided up into The Challenge Cup[us] and the Inter-services[Army, Navy, & RAF] to give us a little bit more breathing space in the air and on the ground) and I had the best part of 200k to do and then it started to rain! Panic over it was just someone’s water ballast or most likely the fleet’s, as they dumped it down the first leg, still it caused me some grief in the cockpit since there were no gliders in the immediate vicinity and I was flying towards a big black cloud! At the second turn point and after all this feat of staying in the air I decided to throw in the towel and tried to get back home since I had to fly out another 100k to the east and potentially i had a glide home – I did say potentially as this ended up in a field 10k short! Why didn’t I just stay with the gaggle why why? Anyway,being so close to home and not being able to get through to our chief retrieve organiser at base I decided to self-retrieve and walk in. After about the 200’redth car some kind man stopped and shortened my walk with a 5min car journey (thank you kind man). On turning the corner into Hus Bos there were gliders everywhere, well a fair few. Julian’s heroic tail was getting in with 110ft over glide from Corby/Kettering (20k) out! 494 had a similar scrape but closer in and later, and the rest of us landed short (technically) since two had engines. So a very impressive feat for 1-2kts thermals and a filled in sky. It then all opened up giving us a lovely sunny bbq night of woe and dare stories! Fun fun.