Noble Marine Laser Vago Coastal National Championships Report @WestKirbySC @LaserPerform

By John Davies

It was a rather windy Friday night when the first keen Vago sailors arrived at West Kirby Sailing Club for our Costal National Championships. Once the rest of the group arrived on an even windier Saturday morning the stage was set for some close and exciting racing to see who was going to have to find space in their car boot to take home our hideously oversized Coastal Championship Trophy! In anticipation for such a positive outcome Dave Baxter selected the slimmest crew he could to ensure he had adequate space in his car!
After a welcome from Rear Commodore Jean Louis Simmons who promised marvellous conditions and a briefing from our Race Officer Chris Hoppins , we all eagerly waited for the tide to come in! Some of our inland sailors were sceptical that this distant blue line would ever make it to the slip way, but we assured them it would, and it did spurred on by the 23 knots of wind behind it. Although the water looked a lot whiter than normal and looked very similar to the back drop of the hills of North Wales! Those mad enough left our brains on the slipway and launched our trusty Vagos on to the cappuccino waters of the Dee estuary. Once on the water the first challenge was to keep the boat in an upright position and head for the start line. A very strong wind and a large sea made the conditions formidable and only three Vagos made it to the start line. The sensible ones turned back for shore whilst Simon Dowdell set a new record for how many times you could capsize a Vago before making a wise retreat! These were no conditions for any singlehanded sailor!

Spurred on by the fact that they could at least come third John and Jack Davies in Little Ranzo secured an excellent start with Ed & Louise and Dave & Kate down to leeward of them. Powering through the waves and listening in detail to what Jack was wearing from the rooster collection, John surprised himself and Jack by securing first place around the windward mark in Little Ranzo. Once they were certain they were at the right mark they rounded and bore away. With Ed and Louise not far behind a kite hoist was going to be an essential but fool hardy manoeuvre to widen the gap. After a short debate Jack agreed on a kite hoist secure in the knowledge that in the event of a capsize he would remain warm and toasty in his new kit. Dave and Kate having gone left rather than right were battling with the tide to get back to the mark.
Then Little Ranzo’s world was turned upside down when the bottom rudder gudgeon ripped of the boat taking half the transom with it! With the rudder hanging useless and a heavy swell Jacks suggestion of carrying on rudderless was quickly dismissed. Ed and Louise powered past Little Ranzo closely followed by Dave and Kate. The crew of Little Ranzo accepted defeat and the inevitable but eventful tow ashore! yandy131414
Dave and Kate went on to pass Ed and Louise securing a 1st in race one and 2nd for Ed and Louise.
Race 2 Started in the same conditions and after 3 Laps Dave and Kate were once again the Winners with Ed and Louise taking 2nd place.
With wind strength increasing, only Dave and Kate were brave enough to start Race 3 and so secured their 3rd First, not bad for day one!
Once ashore and whilst Jack changed into a new outfit , John set about procuring a replacement boat for day 2. With kind agreement from Mark Williamson to borrow Vago 1118 and help from Ed Deacon, John checked over the replacement boat determined to give Ed and Dave a worthy challenge on day 2.
After some great WKSC hospitality everyone retired for the night looking forward to the forecasted moderate breeze the next day!
Sunday brought even stronger winds and so only the very mad went out having rigged their Vagos with the smaller standard rig. With Sea Sailing out of the question “Plan B” was invoked and everyone took to the fantastic flat water of the marine lake. Little Ranzo was last on the water as Jack took some time to choose the appropriate attire from his Rooster wardrobe.
Once the course was established, Race 4 Started with Ed & Louise first at the Windward Mark with John and Dave hot on their heels. At the downwind leg those choosing to fly the spinnaker quickly took the lead, discovered why Vagos have foot straps on the back for the crew and experienced some of the fastest downwind sailing with a standard rig! It also provided Richard and Hannah Barnes with some excellent photo opportunities making the long distance drive to the north very worthwhile!
Dave crossed the Finish First Follow by John and Jack in 2nd then Ed and Louise in Third.
Between race 4 and 5 Ed thought it a good opportunity to see how deep the lake was with the top of his mast. But his experiment was costly as he found himself the wrong side of the line at the start and in the confusion Dave and Kate turned back thinking they “were over” opening up the way for John and Jack to take the lead and for Ed and Louise to squeeze nicely into second. They enjoyed this until Dave popped up his kite on a ridiculously short reach to the inshore mark and flew past both boats before you could say “where did he come from” proving himself a very worthy winner of race 5, with Jack misjudging a wind shift Ed and Louise were able to take second and John & Jack third.
After a most memorable Costal National Championships with some “Epic” sailing, great food, great weather, fab photos and some lessons learnt, we all left West Kirby a little wiser and with the view in our rear view mirrors of Dave trying to shoe horn the trophy into his car boot. Well done Dave and Kate!
Many thanks to West Kirby for a great event.

Rank Boat Name SailNo Club HelmName CrewName R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 Total Pts
1st Sharknado 1814 Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club Dave Baxter Kate Mellor 1 1 (6 DNC) 1 1 10
2nd 164 Hunts Sailing Club Ed Deacon Louise Foreman 2 (6 DNC) 6 DNC 3 2 19
3rd Little Ranzo 1067 West Kirby Sailing Club John Davies Jack Davies (6 DNC) 6 DNC 6 DNC 2 3 23
4th Vee Bee 200 Tudor Sailing Club Richard Barnes Hannah Barnes (6 DNC) 6 DNC 6 DNC 6 DNC 6 DNC 30
4th Vavavoom 1234 Tudor Sailing Club Simon Dowldell (6 DNC) 6 DNC 6 DNC 6 DNC 6 DNC 30




Noble Marine Vago Training Day, 22nd August 2015 @ScalingDamSC

Missed out on the Laser Vago Training events earlier in the season?  Well here is your chance to make it to one this year.  Vago class guru and coach Dave Baxter ( will be providing specialist training for the Vago fleet at Scaling Dam SC on Saturday 22nd August 2015.

See the event poster for more details:


Vago Speed Record Smashed! @LaserPerform @SchneiderUK

We have a new Laser Vago speed record!


On the 16th May 2015, John (helm) & Jack (crew) Davies raised the bar once again and set a new speed record for the Laser Vago fleet in their Vago #1067 ‘Little Ranzo’


Sailing on the non-tidal marine lake at West Kirby Sailing Club, on the Wirral, Merseyside, the combination of a steady 22-25 knots of wind from West and the lack of chop on the lake provided the perfect conditions for smashing the current record.


The new record of 20.1 mph / 17.47 knots smashes the current non-tidal record, set at Rutland SC in 2013 of 18.3 mph / 15.9 knots.  It even surpasses the current tidal record, set in 2014 in Fremantle/Perth Australia at 18.5 mph / 16.1 knots.

See the FULL TABLE HERE on the UKVA website:


Do you have what it takes?  All you need is a GPS / speed tracking device, big winds and a rather large pair of Cojones!  We ask all prospective record breaking submissions to be made with proof of your speed in order to be considered, and a photo and/or video always go down well to!  Submissions to be made via the Laser Vago facebook group or via email to


Vago Class Spring Offer @LaserPerform


May 2015

Dear Laser Vago owner

Well the new session is here and it time to brush off the cob webs and start checking over the boat and replacing any parts that are looking a bit old and battered, for this LaserPerformance would like to help you.

From now till the end of May we would like to offer you 10% off all Vago parts purchased from our online shop. Just type in the our coupon code “ VAGOROCKS “ at point of check out .


Important Info: To take advantage of this offer, all orders have to be placed by 31st of May to be able to use the Vago class offer.

LaserPerformance wish you all the luck for 2015 and if you need anything from the Team please call 01327 841600

or email

Langstone Harbour Race Weekend – Regatta Tracking @raceQs


This year, the LHRW will include the option for competitors to race with GPS tracking.  This is a completely free service, provided by RaceQ’s and should enhance the racing experience over the weekend.  Relive those pivotal moments during the racing, find out where the battles were one and lost and clock your top speed over the weekend.

All you need is a smart phone, and the RaceQ’s app…. oh, and a dry bag to put it in!

To sign up for this free service, visit the RaceQ’s website to set-up your sailor profile and learn how to track your racing.

All successfully tracked entrants will be able review their races against other competitors at our very own regatta page:

If you would like help in setting up your device – bring your smart phone along to the race briefing on the Friday night, where Richard Barnes and Simon Dowdell will be on hand to offer assistance.

Vago Tide Tactics

At the recent Southern Vago training day, Ed Deacon asked if i would do a bit of training on tidal tactics.  Many of the Vago sailors on the circuit are ‘pond’ sailors and are not used to waters that move beneath them, so I compiled a few rules to sail by when on the tide…. doh, there goes my advantage!rhumb-line

The first Vago open of the season will be sailed on the tide at the Langstone Harbour Race Weekend, so now is the perfect time to learn the finer points of tidal sailing.  Then in July, the class visits West Kirby SC for the Vago Coastal Championship. Last year the majority of the fleet broke 3 key rules within the first leg … let’s not make these mistakes again Vago’ers.

The slides covering the tide tactics session can be found on the UKVA website in the documents library. VAGO REFERENCE DOCUMENTS


Southern Vago Training Event Report


The Southern Vago Training Day was co-hosted by the UK Vago Association and Tudor Sailing Club on Saturday 14th March. A total of 7 boats were in attendance, 6 Vagos and 1 Buzz, with an even split between visiting sailors and club members.

A few visiting sailors made it down on the Friday evening for the sailing club’s quiz night, where the Vago class formed a crack team named the “Vago’bonds”. Amazingly the team finished a very respectable joint 2nd place, although i suspect the majority of the points could be attributed to our misspent youths, watching TV and listening to music!

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Following a good nights rest, the training day kicked off with a good hearty breakfast provided by the TSC galley team. As we filled our bellies, RYA coach and top Vago sailor Ed Deacon started the training, sighting various resources online for developing our techniques. We soon moved outside, where Ed’s own Vago #164 was awaiting on a trailer. Ed took the tuties through a complete rigging exercise, suggesting the easiest ways to stow your boat for trailing – Ed’s ideas on trailing a boat really do make going away to events a breeze! He then moved onto how to set the boat up and check the mast rake, and symmetry and the optimum adjustment for the horse.

The attentive students moved to their own vessels to check the measurements and set-up their boats correctly. Ed then passed his expert eye, reviewing the boats and tuning them equally. This paid dividends when we took to the water, as all boats sailed without any rigging dramas and were performing on an even keel. Ed then provided a trapezing demonstration for those who were new to the wire.


The sailors soon took to the water for the morning session, with a strong north-easterly breeze providing the perfect conditions for trapeze sailing and fast asymmetric blasts. The fleet sailed down the narrow channel (as it was low water) to the southern end of Langstone Harbour where a nice playground awaited them. The first drill was to sail on a simple windward leeward course so Ed could gauge our abilities – this proved increasingly frustrating for the fleet, as the joy of blasting off downwind with the kites flying with a disregard to the course was all too tempting!! He slowly reigned us all in, although i am sure he would be issuing detentions for us all if we were in a classroom. The drills changed to follow my leader exercises, before finishing in a close circling of the Sword Sands buoy. After about an hour on the water the sailors returned to the clubhouse for a well earned warm up a hot lunch.

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Following lunch Ed held a debrief from the morning session with performance tips for everyone. The fleet then headed back out for the afternoon to put these into action and do some more on the water practice, with several helms and crew swapping end or boats to mix it up. Those that usually sail single handed were encouraged to take a crew but for the crew to sit in the centre of the boat and move only when essential so that they could practice single handing but with the reassurance of some extra ballast should it be needed in a hurry. The weather for the afternoon had got bit windier with gusts coming through that caught quite a few out and several helms were seen to be ‘resting’ on their centreboards.


A simple course between two buoys was set but for some this was lost in translation and for others keeping upright and having a bit of fun was of more importance. Soon the call of tea and cake for some took over and cold and wet sailors started returning to the slip with the hardy few sticking it out for around 2 hours. Once all the boats were back Ed did a final debrief whilst the sailors warmed up with hot drinks and topped up their energy levels with cake. In the evening as per Vago tradition the fleet headed down into Southsea for a well earned curry and a chat about who had what aches and pains.


The fleet had planned to sail on Sunday but the day dawned cold and windy and in the end keeping warm and dry was decided to be preferable.


Thanks go to Richard & Hannah Barnes for organising the venue on the food and to the patrol boat volunteers who were kept busy Thank you also to Ed Deacon for travelling down to coach for the weekend, all the sailors found it a useful day. A special mention should also go out to Moira who excelled on the trapeze and went out in a Buzz with no fear having never trapezed before.

More photos from the event can be seen here: VAGO FLICKR GROUP

Calling all Instagram users – we need your photos!

The UKVA have a new Instagram account – to help share your best Vago photos with the wider world.

Click the button below to follow sailvago and get the latest Vago photos, straight to your feed!

If you have some cool photos from your Vago sailing then tag them using ‘sailvago’ to share with the UKVA and ‘LaserPerformance’ to reach our manufacturers feed.  To start the ball rolling, we have uploaded our two favorite artistic Vago images from the past 2 seasons – can you do better? Don’t forget to tag them!

Vago200_wintersail Vago200_wet&wild