Laser Vago Northern Training & Open at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

By Richard De Fleury on 9 May


Early arrivals started to pull into the car park at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club from 5pm on Friday 3rd May in advance of three days of action in varied conditions. The final boats rolled in on Saturday morning and the opening ceremony got started right after breakfast with the announcement of the packed schedule!

And so began the third Laser Vago Northern Open/Training/Fun Event, sponsored by DC Woodhead and Partners Ltd and held over the May Bank Holiday with an itinerary featuring training, coaching, racing, entertainment, a quiz, fantastic food and beautiful scenery!

As with previous years, the event had two objectives: having lots of fun and improving sailing techniques. Again, this attracted visitors with skills ranging from first time Vago owners just out of RYA Level 2 right through to seasoned racers on the National circuit. Both Standard and XD (Race) rigs were in use by both single and double handed sailors, all formats being covered by the single 1064 PY.

Giving new Vago owners one on one coaching sessions with experienced racers proved educational and inspiring, especially with some of the newest sailors getting onto the wire for the first time. In fact, the first two single handers decided to take new crews to give them experience and the second two joined forces in one boat.

Saturday morning priority was start practice and turned out to be a bit breezy, so much so that the coaches and race officers on the committee boat were left feeling a little lonely as the first start flag came down. In fact, not a single boat was anywhere near the line! Although some remained upright as the ever-increasing whitecaps took their toll, capsize recovery became the training topic instead of start lines.

Eventually, the boats started to get the hang of the conditions and racing began with Dave and Jo taking the first bullet. Closely fought battles then developed throughout the fleet with Ed and Jeanette, Doug and Sally, Lee and Dan, and Gerry and James (the doubled up single handers) all getting their share of wins.

Eventually with the wind hitting 30mph and everyone now sailing on standard rigs or reefs, race officers Richard de Fleury and Mike Woodhead sent the remaining boats ashore for a well-earned visit to the galley. The afternoon finished with a trapeze coaching session which got the new sailors comfortable on the wire and crowned Lee Carter as the first ‘wire to wire speed tack’ champion with a completed double tack in just eight seconds!

Sunday morning’s wind was more manageable which allowed Sam and Lucy to try some new techniques and Andrea to crew for Gerry since James could only stay for one of the three days. The Vagos enjoyed their own starts in the club racing with Lee and Dan sharing the wins with Ed and Jeanette with everyone else in close contention. The day finished with a Pizza party, quiz and lots of chatting.

The Monday forecast for 18-degree temperatures and cloudless skies did not disappoint and a steady F2-F3 saw almost 30 boats out for Bank Holiday Monday sailing. With Jo, Steve and Andrea heading home, Dave and Gerry single-handed and the battle at the front continued through the morning with some brilliant antics. Dave was recalled and had a later tangle with Richard in the rib, Isabel gave Lindsay a major dunking and a cruising Wayfarer sailed through the start area on port with three seconds to go, capsizing Ed and Jeanette on the line.

This left everything down to the double point medal race! Ed joined the single handers and the Vago fleet joined the club’s 90-minute pursuit race setting the scene for a tense finish to the event, which saw Ed and Dave get ahead of the pack in a final showdown. In a reversal of last year’s result, Dave took the win to tie points and therefore become overall winner on the medal race position.

A cracking day’s racing finished with the presentations and official closing of the event. Thank you to Mike, Richard, the YDSC team, all the people behind the scenes making the event flow so smoothly and especially Pam, Maggie and all the galley team who did an outstanding job.

Special Awards and Prizes:

Driest sails (for least capsizes), Gerry Most spectacular Tea bagging, Isabel and Lindsay Demolition Derby (for most spectacular collision), Ed and Jeanette Vago Virgins, Jo and Jeanette Fastest Wire to Wire shore tack, Lee

Overall Results: (12 races, 3 discards & medal race)

Pos Helm / Crew Sai lNo R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 Medal Pts
1 Dave & Jo 358 1 9 5 9 3 2 2 9 1 2 2 1 2 21
2 Ed & Jeannette 164 3 3 1 9 1 3 4 1 2 1 3 2 4 21
3 Doug & Sally 996 2 2 2 9 2 9 3 3 3 3 1 3 6 27
4 Lee & Dan 742 9 4 9 1 4 1 1 2 4 4 4 6 8 33
5 Gerry & Crew 578 9 1 3 9 5 4 6 5 7 6 6 4 12 52
6 Sam and Lucy 374 9 9 4 9 6 9 5 4 5 5 5 7 18 68
7 Isobel & Lindsay 1222 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 6 7 7 9 10 84
8 Steve & Andrea 1349 9 5 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 18 95

Next year’s date will be announced soon. More information is available on the event website at

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