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INTRODUCTION:  Le Tour Des Maritimes is a futurity consisting of a series of 8 races for a total of 2150 km of flying over one of the toughest courses in Canada. (See Course)  One of our goals is to provide a series of races that would be similar to a normal young bird schedule at the club and combine level.  Needless to say, pigeon racing under these circumstances is not a fair sport.  The Le Tour will be fair because all the racing pigeons will start and finish at the same points.

The Le Tour series is mainly a headwind course that begins from 100 km and ends with a flight from Glace Bay on Cape Breton Island a distance of 500 km.  This must be one of the most difficult release points in Canada.  The Cape Bretoners claim that at any one time the winds can blow from all directions across the Island.   During the winter months winds can exceed 100 km/h throughout the Cape Breton Highlands.  Fortunately they are not as strong during the summer months but they still can be a problem.  At the release point unfavorable winds exceeding 20 km/h can always be expected.  If the birds fly home as the "crow flies" they would have to fly over 400 km of open water.  This is quite unlikely so by flying along the mainland of Nova Scotia and north through New Brunswick the actual distance the birds fly exceeds 600 km.  Just getting off the Island is challenge.  Upon being released in Glace Bay and in addition to unfavorable winds the birds are confronted by water on all four sides.  And as we know pigeons are reluctant to fly over water.  Because of this fact, the first 7 races of the Le Tour schedule have been planned to condition and build the birds confidence for their final task, that is, reaching home on the day from Glace Bay which remains the ultimate goal of the Le Tour.  This goal has been achieved in each of the 8 years of running the Le Tour Des Maritimes.

ENTRY:  First time participants are encouraged to submit their tentative reservations as soon as possible.  They will be put on a waiting list.  To ensure a 200 bird entry approximately 210 reservations will be taken.

All birds will be fitted with an electronic band upon arrival to assist in regular inventories.  If any participant should lose all their birds before racing begins, one bird will be given as a replacement from our young bird team.  As well a limited number of young birds will be available free of charge for those confirmed participants that are unable to enter their own birds.  By entering the Le Tour all participants agree to supply a pedigree for their remaining bird(s) after the series is over.  Sending a pedigree when shipping your birds is suggested.  See Reservations.

SHIPPING BIRDS:  Birds will be accepted between April 29 to May 15th, 2005.  Entries can be shipped either to the Bathurst Airport via Air Canada or the Moncton Airport.  Please note: Birds shipped to the Moncton Airport will be picked up on 2 dates to be determined later.  Young birds hatched from April 1st to 16th should be ready for shipping between these dates and should be eating and drinking on their own.  Birds arriving sick will not be accepted.  The darkening system will not be used but the race birds will be put on 16 hours of daylight on June 21st.

The Alberta Classic site has an excellent health section that I refer to often.  I especially suggest the section on Prebiotics and Probiotics for preparing young birds to be sent to one loft futurities.

RACE SCHEDULE:  Weather permitting, training will begin in early July and the race schedule will start around the middle of July and end the first weekend in September.  The birds will be flown as follows: 2 x 100 km, 2 x 200 km, 300 km, 350 km, 400 km and 500 km for a total of 2150 km.  All races 300 km and over will be considered two-day races.  If less than 50% of the birds shipped to any race do not arrive in race time the race will be extended by one day.  (See race schedule 2005)

CLOCKING:  A Benzing Express electric clock will be used.  "Timeout" is defined as the time between 1 hour after sunset and 1 hour before sunrise.  

WINNER:  The "Overall Winner" will be the racing pigeon flying the 8 races in the least total time.  Birds failing to return in race time in any of the races will be disqualified from the Overall Championship but will continue racing and qualify for individual race results & prizes.  If there are no birds in race time in any race that race will be considered as not flown.  As well, if sufficient birds return in reasonable time the race schedule may be continued at the discretion of the organizer.  If it is decided that racing will not continue, the winner will be declared from the results of the last completed race.  In the event that there is a tie in determining the positions for the Sprint Championship, Long Championship or Overall Standings the race bird with the best time flown in the last race will be placed ahead.

CORRESPONDENCE:  Race Reports and the Overall Standings will be posted on this site as soon as they are available.  Management and other relevant information will also be posted here.  Participants will be notified by e-mail as soon as this information is available.

MEDICATION:  Our practice has been to medicate the birds as little as possible to allow them to develop their own immune systems.  However a treatment for worms, canker and respiratory ailments will be given when appropriate.  A Complete Supplemental System will be our our main strategy for keeping the pigeons healthy.   Upon arrival birds will be be quarantined for several days to insure no diseased birds are introduced into the loft and the youngsters are eating and drinking well on their own.  Birds becoming sick will be placed in quarantine and if not recovering in a reasonable time they will be dealt with in the usual manner.  However, if the unthinkable should occur, that is, a mass outbreak of some disease, we will be prepared to use the appropriate treatment.  All birds will be vaccinated for PMV.

FINAL COMMENTS:  To ensure the integrity of the race and to avoid any controversy, I have tried to cover all possible scenarios.  If necessary, these guidelines may be updated for clarification only.  If something unexpected should arise, a decision will be made by the management for the good of the race and all decisions will be final.

Thank you for considering Le Tour Des Maritimes Futurity.   

Andrew Skrobot