Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Report number one from F3A World Champs -- Marc Wolffe

Hi John,
I have battled to get an internet connection, but have now fond a nice cafe down the road from the hotel.
the first report is attached below...

F3A World Champs – Pombal, Portugal

Well, it’s hard to believe that it was almost 2 years ago that I was at the F3A world champs in Argentina! …and here we are on our way to Pombal, Portugal

Many times, I have been the one back in South Africa, wondering what the guys were up too at the world champs… not only the SA Team, but also all the latest breaking news, results, trends and just about anything that can be feed back to the rest of us at home. Usually you can Google and surf the internet until the cows come home and still not find a decent site to see the days happenings, so…

With this in mind, I will undertake, on behalf of, and with the SA team, to send daily updates to the SAMAA BLOG, and hopefully keep you all informed.

We will be online daily, and if anyone would like to mail us (questions about the event, or just some good wishes) we look forward to receiving your email, which can be sent to the following address which I have created specifically for this event, so as to correspond with the modelers back home. capesailplanes@live.com I / we undertake to get back to all emails as soon as possible, and welcome your comments.

And so … on to our trip, which for Walter, Bertie(caller), Gerrie (supporter) and I, started yesterday. Walter and the guys drove up from the Free State, and I flew up from Cape Town on SAA, Star Alliance partner with TAP, so even though there shouldn’t have been any problems, I still took the precaution of phoning ahead to double check that the 2.1 meter long model box was known about… and of course the first snag of the trip came when I arrived at the airport to book in, only to be told that the model box was too big and had to go cargo! Anyway, a lot of talking later and the box was accepted as passenger baggage, and sent on its way. The flight up to JHB was uneventful, and I was met at the airport by Danie Potgieter, who was to be my host for the overnight stay. He whisked me back to his place to freshen up, and then we were off to John Brinks house for a braai. At the braai we held a little ceremony for Walter Van Huyssteen, as it is his first ‘cap’ for South Africa, and we all witnessed him putting on his SA blazer for the first time.

We left the braai at 9pm, and headed for home, as we were to be at the airport at 5:30 the next morning. All things considered, the main leg of the trip from JHB to Lisbon went quite smoothly, i.e. the usual snags occurred, which briefly, are explaining the whole story of what’s in the boxes to the customs officials when making your declaration of what you are taking out the country, as well as the now usual insistence that these boxes DO in fact fit on the aircraft and they have been cleared for normal baggage. Once that was taken care of, we boarded the plane (an A340) and 9hrs later, we landed at Lisbon, which is an hour behind local SA time. So you can imagine the strange feeling when not only should it be dark, but it was also 29 degrees! Unbeknownst to us, our boxes and luggage ended up as ‘priority’ and was all but waiting for us when we arrived at baggage collection! All looked set for a quick drive up to the town of Leiria, when the wheels came off…literally. The hire car company that we had booked had a queue which ran out the door of the airport and round the corner! So… 3hrs later we got our car – an Opel Corsa, and Van – a Fiat Scudo. Next minor headache was that the boxes were about 10cm too long to fit into the Scudo, but the thought of going back into those queues realized a plan to tie the rear door closed with own of the tie straps used to hold the lid on the boxes, and not long after we were on our way - with a short stop at one of the roadside restaurants, where a cheese roll and coke cost R27.00 or a toasted cheese and tomato with a coke cost close to R50.00! Once fed, it was just a short drive to the hotel in Leiria, which we found with no fuss or bother. By now, the local SA time was midnight, and once all the goods were taken out of the car, we retired to our rooms for the night, but not before all three of us checked through the model boxes to see that everything was all right.

Tomorrow we will assemble the models and go out to the first practice session in the morning.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about our journey so far, please let us know if there are any specific things you would like me to cover by mailing us at capesailplanes@live.com .


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