CHOLET National Race 2019
Dom McCoy & Nik Booker, Convoyers Report
This week, only one transporter was required as the total number of birds in this race was approximately 3,659. After both vehicles went up and down both sides of the country dropping off and picking up crates and birds, we met at Cosham, Hampshire, only a couple of miles away from Portsmouth Dock. Our chairman had arranged for a team of workers to assist with the loading and unloading of both vehicles which was done in a very professional manner. A word of thanks to Jason and his merry men for all their hard work allowing myself and our driver Phil to proceed to the Docks. We once again got to the Docks with very limited time to spare and within 45 minutes we had left Portsmouth on route to Ouestraham. After a light supper and shower it was time for bed.
6.30 a.m. Friday, we were on the dock side where all drinkers were topped up on all three sides of the crates. We waited just over one hour to allow birds time to have a drink. The drive down to Cholet was very pleasant and the winds and weather were all in our favour.
We arrived at our liberation point around 1.30 p.m., after driver having required breaks, giving me time to top up drinkers on route. All birds were fed and after a hour or so, wasted food was cleared up and all side drinkers refreshed plus all front feed trays were filled with water. Throughout the afternoon, birds were monitored and readings were taken regarding heat and humidity all were found to be fine. Around 8.30 p.m. all birds were checked for final time.
4.30 a.m. Saturday morning, birds waters checked all ok, then the hard work began, no, not preparing for release but waking up fellow convoyers for updates on line of flight. Calls were coming in from our appointed people on the ground from different parts of the country. All this was being taken into account. William Curtis was our appointed rep for consultations with the meteorological office and then relaying all this to Tony Adams who then along with his already gathered information was able to give me a full detailed account of the weather. You can never get enough information especially when you are looking after members future champion birds. After Tony's first call, the wings on the transporter were fully opened as a liberation was on the cards. Quick check of waters then myself and Phil began cutting the strings in between me receiving more updates. After more talks with our men on the ground and everything else taken into consideration, the birds were liberated into a beautiful blue sky with a South South West wind. All birds cleared the site in good time and were out of sight within three minutes. Once again we were joined by the French F.C.F., who complemented us on our liberation and our vehicle. That's all, Dom McCoy.
MESSAC National Race 2019
Dom McCoy & Nik Booker, Convoyers Report
First, I would like to introduce you to one of our permanent convoyers, Mr. Nik Booker, who will be collecting birds from the East side of the country. Nik is very experienced and I have known him for a good few years, we have worked together on numerous occasions at both federation and combine level and I know everyone will be very happy with him in the way he will care for your pigeons and he will prove to be an asset to the NFC convoying team.
An approximate total of 4,907 birds were collected from various marking stations from Wednesday until Thursday and both transporters met at around 9.30 p.m., ready to board the boat. Unfortunately, we were not able to top up waters before we boarded because of arriving at the docks late, due to traffic but as soon as we docked the birds were all given fresh water on three sides of each crate. We stayed on the French docks for well over one hour to allow all birds a chance to drink. We left the docks and made our way down to Messac which takes around three and a half hours.
As soon as we arrived at Messac Marina, the lorries had to reverse down a narrow strip between open fields and the boat marina which gives us the perfect liberation point. All the electric fans on both trailers were switched on, a total of eighteen were soon doing their job lowering the temperature inside and also monitoring the humidity which made the inside around 24 degrees compared to outside of a rather sticky 26 degrees. All birds were fed and as it was early, we gave the birds plenty to eat so they would have lots of time to digest their food before the race after feeding and a clean-up of surplus food that the birds scattered over the floor. Water was once again filled up to all three sides of the crates. Birds were monitored from a short distance and were all seen to be drinking. We left the birds to relax and had a well-deserved coffee. At different times, water levels were checked and temperature readings were taken all were found to be good. At around 8 p.m., the fans were switched off, the sun was going down and birds were left to rest for the night.
Saturday 4.30 a.m., myself and Nik were up checking for any drinkers that needed to be topped up, although this year we are giving birds water on three sides, all crates had water available at all times. At 5.45 a.m., calls to and from our weather team and various other contacts including our Chairman who was overseeing the race, I received valuable reports from various parts of country and good information from Tony Adams. We had a perfect liberation sky as per photos. Channel clear with a light South East wind, we liberated the birds at 7.15 a.m., into a bright blue sky. All birds cleared together after two minutes heading towards home. We had some French officials at site taking photos before and after liberation and they were very happy with the way everything went. Many thanks to all involved in the liberation from Dom McCoy and Nik Booker, Convoyers.