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Description of a Butterfly Loop


This course format has been employed by BAOC at the Calero Reservoir ( on 10/3/04 and the Sprint Champs ( at Point Pinole on 2/22/04.

In a Sprint or Chase type event, we want to encourage head-to-head competition, and hope that "trains" will form, but we don't want the chase to turn into a just-follow-the-train race. So to mix things up a bit more we have added a special butterfly pattern of controls somewhere along the chase course. Butterfly patterns have recently become popular in the larger European events and have also been used in the recent WOCs, where the objective is to break up any following that might develop on the course.

Butterfly is a group of controls forming 2 loops with a common start and end control in the middle. The 2 loops resemble the wings of a butterfly, thus the name butterfly loops. Both loops are roughly but not necessarily precisely the same length and each will take 5-10 minutes to complete. All the competitors will complete both loops but the order will vary; half the competitors will run the right-most loop first while the other half starts with the left-most loop. Thus, for half the competitors the pattern looks like this (an example, not from the actual course):


while the other half sees it as this:


Note that each competitor has to punch the common control 3 times: first when you enter the butterfly, a second time when you have completed the first loop, and finally a 3rd time when you have completed the 2nd loop.

The common control will be marked with 3 numbers stacked up on your map, it will be duplicated 3 times on your control description sheet, and it will be programmed in the e-punch scoring to require 3 punches. We expect that this will be easy to forget, since it will seem like once you've found the bag you shouldn't need to visit it again, but because the two wings are of slightly different length, the multiple punching is a necessary requirement to balance the two variants of the course. So please remember to punch the common control 3 times.

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