Interview with Jim Acketoft, Sweden, flying EB29 DR (1P), on 18 July 2019, day 11 of the championship

Good evening, Jim! How was hour flight today?

It was a struggle today. We were working very hard. We did not dare to wait as long as some others did because we thought the clouds were overdeveloping slightly. And it pushed us against the northern part of the lines so we went underneath the Berlin TMA. We actually managed to catch up with the first gaggle that had started. But then, because we have quite a fast glider now, we gambled too much trying to leave them behind us. And that cost us 700-800 meters so we had to work hard again to catch up. This is how the first two long legs were going: catching up – making a mistake, catching up – making a mistake. And during the last leg we were able to get a really good last thermal to get to the final glide. That gave us a few minutes but it was very tight in the top today. We raced over 600 km and the difference between the top five or six gliders is half a kilometer per hour. And we did not fly at the same places at the same time, so it is an incredible result. I have to say that the other pilots did very well today. 

What was the most difficult decision you had to take today? 

We wanted to go fast but if you go fast, you easily get low. So the decision is if you want to go straight and aggressive and fast or if you want to make a detour and keep your altitude and be a little bit safer. But today we gambled, we tried to win but it cost us more than it gave us. So I think all decisions today were quite difficult. It was never easy today. 

Is it the first time you are flying in this area in the north of Germany?

Yes, in this area it is my first time. I have flown in the Hahnweide competition near Stuttgart six or seven times, I think. I would say that this part [of Germany] is very different. We flew on the other side of the border, in Poland. And there it is more similar to this terrain. Some of it you can recognise. But it is still good to be here to practice for a week or 10 days or 12 days. 

You normally fly in Sweden, are the conditions there very different from here? 

They are slightly different. I fly from the southern part of Sweden, it is equally flat with about the same amount of forest. If I fly to the north of Sweden from where I live, there will be a lot more forest. And usually we don’t fly so much in this warm type of air mass, we fly in a cooler type of air mass. It is easier to look at the clouds and guess what they will do for you when you get there. Here I am struggling a little bit to find the correct spot under the cloud. Yeh, it is difficult but we are learning. 

Are you going to come for the World Championship next year?

Yes, we are going to come.

Also open class?

Yes. 

Same glider?

Yes

 

Thank you very much for this interview, Jim and good luck!

 

The interview was taken by Evgenia Alexeeva.