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Laser Vago Northern Training and Open at West Riding Sailing Club

by Dave Baxter 8 Jun 2012 16:41 BST 2-5 June 2012
Laser Vagos at West Riding © Debbie Clarkson, Graham Metcalf & Joanna McFarland

Tents and camper vans started to fill the carpark and lawn at West Riding Sailing Club from 9am on Saturday the 2nd June ready for four days of action in varied conditions. The 10th and final boat rolled in as the opening ceremony got started with the announcements of the packed schedule and finally finished with the raising of the Union Flag with 3 cheers and Land of Hope and Glory playing in the background!

And so began the second Laser Vago Northern Open/Training/Fun Event, held over the Queens Diamond Jubilee Weekend with an itinerary that featured racing, training, coaching, entertainment, games, a Royal quiz, free camping and a private cafe!

Like the previous year, the event had two objectives: having lots of fun and improving sailing techniques, resulting in 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 (and joyriding in the winds on Tuesday) with experienced racers proved educational and inspiring, especially with some of the newest sailors getting to helm from the wire for the first time.

Following the kids activities during the afternoon along with sailing and meals served in the cafe, evening entertainment swung between lively conversation in the bar and hotly contested quizzes in the clubroom wrapping up with analysis of the days videos on the big screen. The TV hardly got a look in!

On the water, start practice got everyone ready for the first set of short format races which saw single handers in the top 3 places as Ed and Chris took first and second, pushing Dave down to third before he bounced back to take bullets in the next five races. Just behind, a big battle was building between the four double handers of John and Jack (in the Schneider boat), Doug and Sally (last years winners of the most capsizes award), Lee and Dan T, and Brian and Christine. The newest Vago sailors, Gerry and Martyn followed along while trying some new techniques and Dan C and Amanda took their new boat out for its maiden voyage! The rest of the day’s races were all closely fought.

Sunday club racing saw the fleet having their own start and gave some interesting situations with the back end of the Vagos being caught by the Handicap fleet and the front end reeling in the Solo fleet. As the rain came down, Dave and Ed continued to dominate at the front but the battle was still very close for the double handed pack.

Monday started well with some precision manoeuvring practice around the Committee boat giving less and less margin for error and finally leading to general chaos and a well controlled pile up! Everyone then broke away for some coaching which saw Christine and Martyn both single-handing on the wire for the first time. As the wind dropped away, more short format racing started and the light wind techniques came into effect allowing Dave and Ed to get clear of the hotly contested pack positions.

Overnight results left the possible outcome far from conclusive with the potential of a good wind and a double points medal race on the final day.

Tuesday morning produced the promised forecast with a breeze building from 12mph steady from the South. The battle of the double handers continued to be tight and Brian went solo to try a variation on Dave's 'stand in the bow' upwind trick which quickly put him in front of Dave and Ed for the race! Eventually though, it all came down to the double point medal race.

Dave flew off into an early lead but headed for the wrong mark on the final lap letting Ed, John and Jack into the top places. This gave Ed and Dave equal points overall. In the pack, Lee and Dan T held their nerve to clinch 4th position to draw on points with Brian and Christine. John and Jack held onto first double handed boat closely pursued by Doug and Sally. In the event of a tied position, the medal race position decides the outcome so Lee and Dan T got their 5th place and Dave's unbeaten run was brought to an end by overall winner Ed. Congratulations Ed!

A cracking days racing and a variety of presentations finished with the official closing of the event. Thank you to all the people behind the scenes making the event flow so smoothly, especially Debbie Clarkson. Next years date will be announced soon. More information is available on the event website at

Special Awards and Prizes:

  • Cleanest sails (for most capsizes), Martyn Benny
  • Most Improved from last year, Doug Cooley & Sally Harris
  • Quickest learner, Christine Pitman
  • Flashiest boat!, John & Jack Davies (Schneider)
  • Highest pointers (NOT), Lee carter & Dan Trowsdale
  • Demolition Derby (for most collisions), Neil Whittaker (various craft)
  • Youngest Racer, Jack Davies
  • Sailing at a ridiculous angle and still going fast upwind, Ed Deacon
  • Best new technique, Brian Pitman
Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12MedalPts
1164Ed Deacon-12222[4][3]22131220
2358Dave Baxter-311111[4]11[5]22620
31067John DaviesJack Davies[5]344421DNC3445438
4996Doug CooleySally Harris66333323[7]3[7]61048
5742Lee CarterDan Trowdale45655DNCDNCDNC4254859
61444Brian PitmanChristine Pitman[7][8]56655457131259
71349Chris Lightley-24777DNCDNCDNC66671477

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