XC Competition – Quebec’s Coupe Urubu
By Steven Boost
There is a unique Cross Country (XC) competition held every year in Quebec called the “Coupe Urubu”, which translates to “Turkey Vulture Cup”. Its name is an appropriate tribute to the abundant population of Turkey Vultures that make Mt Yamaska Quebec their summer home, and that routinely fly together with us. It was all started seven years ago by a couple of eager XC pilots who were searching for a friendly way to practice competition XC flying. It has since grown in popularity with pilots typically flying close to one hundred total competition tasks each year.
The Coupe’s popularity and success is likely due to its unique format, which has evolved over the years. There is no entrance fee or registration requirements. All that’s required is registering online for XContest Canada https://www.xcontest.org/canada/en/ and posting your flights there with a comment referencing the Coupe Urubu competition and specific task. There are a total of 18 predetermined tasks with start and goal cylinders, and intermediate waypoints. The tasks cover almost every wind direction and range from small triangles and out-and-returns to more than 80km. If it’s at all flyable, there’s likely a task well suited for the day. If a predetermined course is not your fancy, you can also fly open distance or open triangle from any site in Quebec.
No one calls out or predetermines what task to fly. On any given day, each pilot makes his or her own choice of task based on their own judgement of the conditions and their experience. It’s all very friendly, and typically pilots will get together and agree on a task before launching, knowing full well that flying together as a team gives everyone a better chance of making goal. Declaring a task beforehand in fact isn’t even required. You can launch with one task in mind, and change your plan in-flight for a different task if you over or underestimated the day’s potential. Pilots have the entire season from May 1 to Oct 15 to fly as many tasks as they like. Each task scores a maximum of 1000 points for the fastest to goal, and at the end of the season your overall score is the total of your best five tasks.
Everyone is welcome. Paragliders, hang gliders, rigid wings, beginners and experts alike. You can mountain launch, aerotow, or winch. To level the playing field and compensate for the advantage offered by higher performance wings, there is a handicap system that adjusts all scores based on glider performance. The scoring system encourages more experienced pilots to coach and mentor newcomers to XC flying. If a beginner and a more experienced pilot complete a task together, they will both score based on the handicap value of the beginner’s glider. To help with retrieves we have a WhatsApp chat group dedicated strictly for posting landing locations and retrieval requests. It works really well, and pilots voluntarily pitch in to help if they are available to pick up fellow pilots or have additional space in their retrieval vehicle.
Thanks to a small annual grant from the AQVL (our Quebec provincial association), at the end of each season there is a party with trophies for the top three finishers as well as t-shirts for each competitor. For anyone looking to encourage and promote fun XC flying at their local flying site, I encourage you to look at the Coupe Urubu format as a way of doing just that. The complete contest details can be found on the Coupe’s facebook page (under Files) at:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/CoupeUrubuYamaska/. For any question on the Coupe Urubu, please don't hesitate to contact me, Steven Boost, at email@example.com.
Published: Jun. 17, 2020