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OLC Advice

Rules Source

Scoring - OLC Plus (the 2011 standard)
  • 1 point per kilometer for the longest course that can be calculated with up to 5 turn-points plus the finish point (i.e., 6 legs). In the Statistics section online, this is labeled "OLC Classic Distance."
  • 0.3 points per kilometer for the longest FAI triangle that can be calculated (subject to FAI rules on minimum percentage each leg must be of the total triangle). In the Statistics section, this is labeled "FAI-OLC Triangle."
  • The above two point totals are added together, then handicapped per glider factors can be seen HERE.
  • This grand total is the "Points" used to rank the flights on the "Daily Score OLC 2011" page. This is referred to as the "OLC Plus" score.

Water Ballast
  • Given that there's no handicap difference for water ballast, those flying ballast-capable ships are at a disadvantage if they're not carrying water ballast on a day other ships are ballasted.

1000m Rule
  • Finish height must be within 1000m (3280 feet) of start height. Given a tow to 2000' (or even 3000') and a normal finish, this limitation shouldn't ever be a problem or limit in calculation of OLC points. Even if we climb to 5000+ before leaving the field, this is not a problem since OLC will "start" the course after tow but before reaching the higher altitudes. (Not a problem for distance, which is what OLC points are based on, but can affect the displayed speed as noted below.)

Start/End Locations
  • For a closed course (necessary for FAI portion of points), start and end must be within 1 km of each other. This could trip a pilot up if the tow release is more than 1 km from the field, the pilot doesn't fly back to gliderport prior to leaving on course, and the final flight path doesn't approach within 1 km of the release. I wouldn't think this would generally be an issue, but in some situations (moderate to higher winds), it could be.

Calculated Speed
  • Due to the way course legs are calculated, whatever time the contestant spends climbing after tow and flying around the gliderport (before heading out on course) may get counted as mini-course legs with the corresponding time added to the total time, reducing the average speed which is shown (but not used in point calculations) to a number slower than what a racing pilot would normally consider their "course" speed, or would see on the flight computer which is using contest start/finish rules.

Other Scores
  • Besides the OLC Plus score, at the top right of the statistics page for each flight, you can click on OLC-League or Destination. These two use a different system for scoring. Might be of interest to some, but I think not terribly relevant to most of us. Details at:

Strategy

Seems the best strategy for highest score would be to plan the largest triangle possible, making the shortest leg at least 28% of total length (if >500k, shortest leg at least 25%, longest no more than 45%), to maximize OLC-FAI portion of the points. If finish with soaring weather remaining, could fly another smaller out-and-back or triangle to increase Distance points. Given that speed doesn't count in points, best to start on course as soon as the weather supports XC. (This strategy of course differs from contest rules and those practicing for SSA contests might want to practice contest starts and finishes which would generally constrain OLC points.)

For friendly competition on weekends, it would seem that a triangle Area Task with fairly large TP area radii would be ideal. Allows for various performance gliders to fly the same course, allows contest practice, and optimizes OLC points.