Richie McCaw gliding at Omarama last year. Photo by Jill
Organisers of the New Zealand National Gliding
Championships in Omarama hope to get at least nine days of
competitive racing in over the next two weeks, despite a poor
forecast for the new year.
About 30 pilots from across New Zealand have been entered in
this year's event, which begins today and runs until January
12 at the Omarama airfield.
Organiser Max Stevens said a scheduled practice day yesterday
had to be curtailed due to poor weather, but it was hoped
pilots would be able to take part in races on at least eight
or nine days before a winner was announced.
Gliders could be expected to reach speeds between 200kmh and
500kmh during the competition, he said.
''Pilots navigate by GPS and their flights are recorded on
GPS and downloaded on to computer and scored off that.
Basically, you get points according to how fast you went,
until there is a winner.''
He said races in four classes would take place every day,
depending on the weather, and points would be accumulated
until the final day.
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw would also be taking part in
''with a bunch of pilots taking turns in a team effort. He
hasn't time to be here for the whole fortnight''.
''They're entering it basically for fun.''