We went, we are back.
We learned a lot
We will go again!
We left 1 August, check-in at Cape Town Airport was clean sailing. We flew with Emirates. A quick(1hour) stop over in Dubai, that ended to be more a 100m dash from on plain to the next. The last flight to Prague was in a A380. And this is where thing became interesting. On the flight we where informed that some of our bags where not on the plane. After a very long wait to get through border control in Prague, we got to baggage collection and figured out that this was ALL our bags, not just some. Lesson: 1 hour stop over in Dubai is not enough, even if the flight booking website thinks so 🙂
We made the most of the time, booked the cars out, got something to eat, used the local metro buses and trains. Got our bags 21:30, and jumped into the rental cars and drove to Pardubice (town where we where staying for the competition time). On route we had to deal with more that 24 hours of travel behind us, driving on wrong side of road, rain storms and lots of road works. Got to bed at around 00:30. Lesson: Do not drive on the other side of the road in the dark in rain after long travels, not the best for team spirit 🙂
The Friday morning we got to the zero range a bit early (Like any good prepared South African). Got something to eat and did the entry paperwork. Down to the zero range. This is where Brett was very thankful that Zelda packed the spare scope. Brett did a stellar job of replacing his scope and getting it zeroed in. My scope moved during travel, and I re plumbed it at home the morning all ready. I zeroed the scope the best I could in the wind. So it was a lot of shooting the afternoon at the zero range, and some crony checking. This is also where the metal games of the other teams started, there was a few people trying to upset us :), this must be par for the course at big events like this. Lesson: A red fragile sticker on a gun case, is like a red flag to a bull for airport staff 🙂
The next morning, started with rechecking the zero of rifles. A quick safety briefing and then we where off to start shooting on the Alpha course. Up to this time I have not mentioned the weather, except some wind. Well for those that missed it, we where in one of the hottest heatwave since 1977 in Europe. Temperatures above 35 degrees. Wind blowing and swirling. Shooting from full sun to very dark places, from full shaded to full sun, left, right, up, down, smaller reducers than we are used to (no 40mm to be seen). Carrying my 16kg case and rifle between lanes, not enough water with me, hiking up what felt to be Lions head. This was a great day, and gave us a clear welcome to Worlds this is the big game! Lesson: Always take more water than you think you need, and up my fitness level. Maybe think of a better scope.
The second day was a quick zero again, and then the rain came, some local people even decided to go home, but we stuck it out for a hour and a bit. A safety briefing again, and then we walked to Bravo course. For me the first few targets was enough for me to question a lot of things. On the silver targets it is impossible to see where you missed, I started to question my zero or ranging. After 15 targets, I had to walk down from number 40 to 1, this was not fun in the heat again. Then I settled a bit better and started working through the next few lanes. I must say that the shooting partners I was pair with was great guys, never did they laugh or play mental games with me.
People ask which course was the most difficult. For me they where very different. Alpha (Build by Petr from Czech) was very long shots, and lot’s of open spaces with wind. Bravo (Build by Ian from England) was more technical shots (playing with your eyes in dark and light, swirling wind and angles). This is just my views. In my opinion the Worlds courses was between 15 to 20% more difficult to the courses we are used to at home (No 40mm reducers, and longer shots on smaller reducers, and lots of direction changes, which make the wind not easy to read)
At the day end we walked back, and had a cooldrink or two. Next was some shootoffs, and then the prize giving.
I’m very proud of what team SA did, we will be back next year (If all goes to plan as the Protea Team).
Lastly I want to thank a few people:
- My wife and son (they almost never complains when I go shooting, and my wife did this trip with me as supporting role)
- CK, who designed the logo, and was always available for a question or advice
- Ulrich, who redid all his targets and gave us a 3 shoot weekend for last big practice.
- The cape town HFT league members who supported us all the way.
- Jakub Vicher that helped us with all the prep of paperwork and answered all CZ questions we had
Jan Van Der Vyver – SAHFTA – Team ZA