BALMY BALLOONISTS

Photo Session Report

The world sends up a hurrah for today begins the Great Balloon Race! Making last-minute preparations before sunrise, the balloonists await the weatherman's signal. The blue-red flames of the burner bring the majestic silver balloons to life. Head-first they climb into the gondola. The hatch is sealed, the clamp closed. You give the signal and silently their balloon begins to rise, with it, the balloonists' hopes of victory.

The starting positions. The best winds are around latitude level 3 and the balloons set up accordingly.

And they're off! Crossing the Atlantic Start player Purple has jumped to an early lead, but it's a tight bunch.

But now Red manages to move south and take advantage of strong winds, taking the lead and becoming the first to reach the Old World.

Black and Yellow follow Red's lead, finding it a convenient way around problematic Libya.

Purple manages to move north, not only avoiding Iran, but catching Red. All of the rest are close behind.

Red is forced north so Yellow, flying over Saudi Arabia, becomes the first to cross into the new wind zone. Progress in the north is slower, but worst of all, Black encounters bad weather and starts to lag behind.

Wind changes slow down the northern balloons so it looks like it's up to Red and a recovered Black to catch a runaway Yellow.

This situation continues, with Purple, Blue and White all in the same zone.

Three fly north of China while the southern balloons hold their lead, although Red and Black now threaten to overtake Yellow.

Now the southern balloons have broken out into the Pacific while the northern balloons try to figure out the Russian no-fly zone.

Blue will go north and Purple south, but the best winds remain those closest to the Equator.

At last Purple is able to move south and get on the "fast train". White has passed the no-fly zone with Blue hard up against it. Yellow maintains the lead with Red breathing down his neck.

The winds change and Red and Black are able to take advantage by moving north. Yellow loses his lead when he cannot do the same. White and Blue are coming on, but bad winds force Purple into the Equatorial Doldrums.

Black is forced to move south leaving Red in a clear lead as he sights the coasts of North America. All the rest have yet to see Hawaii.

Flying over Mexico Red looks a clear winner now with the rest still well over the Pacific.

Oh no! Red has planned poorly and was forced to move north. Even worse, this landed him in Area 51! where he'll be spending quite some time explaining himself. But it's his own fault. Meanwhile the others save Purple have come on strong.

The Fast winds are in the north and those that can take advantage are pushing for for the finish line.

In the end it's White who soars over the finish line to earn the first sip of champagne!
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