Diary Saturday 30th
After yesterday’s exertions we arose bright and early this morning to be at the range for 8 to meet the local police and receive our rifles. While we sheltered from the sun under a gazebo and began re-assembling them, Andrea Kim-Lee the secretary of the TRA greeted us and provided us all with a goody bag of rum, local chocolate and pin badges.
After relaxing for a short while in the shade we were allowed to go forward and fire our first shots in Trinidad for practice. We were using the issued Hornady Match ammo which looked particularly aggressive with their red ballistic tips and sharp taper. The Captain lead the way getting the first V-Bull on the team and after firing another one decided that was sufficient.
After waiting for everyone to finish zeroing we then moved onto the first proper competition a 2&10 at 300 yards. The English team members were asked to cover off one target each so that they could then be paired with a Trinidad local. A nice touch to ensure we could get to know everyone. The wind conditions were relatively benign with a small fishtail of 1/4 or 1/2 either side of zero. The team though would of been thankful for a stronger breeze not least to give some respite from the intense humidity. It was in this shoot that the team really got the feeling for what shooting in the Caribbean is like. As mentioned the humidity was intense with the air akin to that experienced in a steam room. Despite drinking lots of water and taking on board plenty of salts many still suffered from pulses during the shoot and generally found the conditions very difficult. Laura Kennedy coped best, top scoring both for the team and on the range with a 50.4
500 yards started a while later around midday with the sun at its peak, those on the first detail got the worst of the heat but were fortunate to finish their shoot as it just started to spit with rain as their last shots were fired. It was a surreal experience shooting in rain that was drying as it landed on our scorching hot score books and rifles. The second detail were not so lucky as by shot 4 or 5 the range officers recognised what was about to come. Everyone was quickly pulled off the firing point and kit thrown into the cars just in time before the heavens truly opened for our first tropical rain storm.
And boy did it rain, everyone huddled under the gazebos or in cars for a good hour and a half. The road along the back of the range quickly became a river with around a foot of water and the range soon became a swamp with the firing points mere islands in the quagmire. As we had an enforced break we took lunch early which was a Chinese meal delivered to the range. Entertainment was provided by watching various trucks and motorbikes attempting to traverse the flowing road river.
Eventually the rain cleared and the second detail were able to resume their 500 yard shoot at around 3.30 pm. This time Turbo came out on top with a 50.6.
Due to the rain, the 600 yards firing point was approached by a series of pallets used to create duck boards and we were wondering whether we ought to have organised red wellingtons as part of the team kit. One advantage of the rain was to lower the temperature with 600 proving to be a much more comfortable shoot. It was though, a battle against the light conditions with the sun setting at around 6 o’clock. The tail end of the second detail were shooting in light similar to that found at the end of the county short at 8pm at Bisley. Top score at 600 was Andy Daw with a 75.9.
Once shooting finished we quickly packed our rifles back into their flight cases to be stored by the police overnight and then retired to the Trinidad Rifle Association clubhouse for stats and sundowners. The results for the days shooting are now on the website and it transpired that England took the top 13 places on the day with Laura Kennedy being the best with a 171.12.
Upon returning to the hotel, score books were left with the Captain and while the rest of the team went to the pool and got ready for dinner, the team management got together to select the teams for our first match tomorrow.
The England vs. Trinidad match would be a team of 8 but in order to get as much match practice as possible we would also be entering a team of four alongside.
Finally the Captain was able to announce the team (now posted on the website) and based on some strong performances today several team members got their first opportunity to shoot for England. For dinner the team split up with some opting for a quiet night at the hotel, while the rest went to nearby Sails restaurant where we enjoyed a very pleasant meal out on the jetty.