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tbreithaupt

buying a Laser vago, good or bad idea?

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hi, I will shortly be buying a Laser Vago XD, not new but used, to sail a bit more competetively at our club.

the boat i have at the moment is a Laser 3000 but it has a daggerboard and our lake is only 3m depp at its maximum and also has baddly marked shallows. Also i my Father willl be sailing it with my mother and it just seems a bit more comfortable.

any advice? or are there better, similar boats out there?

it just seems a little heavy and underpowered

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I got a Vago, yes they are heavy. I wouldn't say underpowered with the XD rig, the potential is there..just a lot of weight to shift, if that makes sense.

 

They are tough, and ideal as a trainer for something more exotic. I got mine to learn solo trapeze/helming, it was ideal for this. I would buy one with the standard Dacron sail too, if I were you. I bought the standard a little while ago and it does make a difference in higher winds. Can be reefed too.

 

Depth? hmm, I sailed mine in a shallow lake for a while and it coped ok. You might want to fit a breakaway type cleat for the rudder. The centreboard has a bungee cord so will raise if you hit the bottom.

 

I would try one out first, before parting with your cash.

 

I progressed to RS700 and was mighty thankful of the Vago time. I don't bother with my Vago now, the 700 is a more refined boat. Would sell the Vago but shipping it back to the UK would be the killer:) (live in the Falkland Islands)

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I only sailed one once, so take this with a grain of salt.

 

My take is that it was not very comfortable and a bit difficult to sail without being any faster than similar sized boats (eg V15, Albacore, JY 15) with the speed verdict determined via a couple of round the buoys races. Seemed to me that it's value lies in being a trainer for a more advanced boat (49er, I14, etc) rather than an end in itself. If you're looking for something to "get you there" it might be for you, but expect to move on in a year or three.

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How are the planing abilities? does it get onto a plane quickly in marginal planing conditions? also hows the upwind performance? does it plane upwind like the laser 3000 ?

also does the self tacking jib system work well? or does it depend on the wind strength?

and how good is it upwind? can you pull the sheet in really hard without stopping it from working?



it also seems a little too short, does that affect its performance?

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Hmm, well I am no expert but:

 

Yeah, planes ok though you might need to bear off a bit more than something more high performance (like the RS700 say)

 

Self tacking Jib mod works ok, I didn't bother with a pulley and all that; just threaded the jib sheet through the clew eyelet. I did use a pulley before but it didn't let the jib set very well. I found the same issue without the pulley, so you will need to (especially if solo) tweak the sheet to set the jib after going about and on a new tack.

 

Its not the comfiest boat I ever sat in, but I spent most of my time on trapeze. The lack of footholds for getting out on the trap were a bit of a nuisance. There is a recess of sorts near the thwart, but its such an odd shape as to be useless. I use the drain holes in these recess to thread the jib sheet ends up through, tidies the sheet system up a bit:)

 

Vang control, works ok but there is a lack of a positive 'return'..you can make an adjustment but by the time you piss around re cleating you can lose the adjustment you made...by simply trying to re cleat :) I added a bit of bungee cord at the mast foot and up to the vang control 'take up' (will add a photo sometime if needed..I don't have one to hand right now)

 

Downhaul is a shitty system, I would change it. The control is right at the sole level, down and in front of the thwart..brush it with a foot and you can uncleat it. A stupid idea. It needs re routing and adding another block possibly to make it more functional. You need plenty of downhaul or Cunningham to get the most out of that XD mainsail in a decent breeze.

 

Outhaul, functional, nothing amazing. Mind you I have gotten spoilt with the RS700 system, where you can crouch in while on the trapeze; reach down and adjust whichever setting you want. You can do this on the Vago, but only with the Vang control...hence the bungee cord mod.

 

Overall? its a tweakable boat, the lower shrouds are basic and could do with 'stamasters' fitting to get ultimate tweaking of mast prebend etc. I haven't bothered, fitted them to the 700 instead:)

Spinnaker runs make the Vago come alive, no complaints there!

 

Weak points? shes a tough cookie in all truth, things like the gooseneck fitting can let you down...silly overdesigned pins etc, I had a failure that bust my vang 'Gnav' strut, one of the plastic ends snapped:( managed to get home alright with the mainsheet nice and tight to keep the leach in shape.

 

Try the Vago out, you might like her. Its tough and strong..but so damn heavy. Maybe RS400 or 500 would suit you?

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we have three as training boats up at our club just outside Cambridge. You'd be welcome to come and have a test sail if you want. With the XD main they are far from underpowered and although heavy still perfomr like an entry level skiff rather than a rotomoulded trainer. We also have two 3000s here, both sets of crews borrowed vagos for the recent inlands. If you message me I can put you in touch so you can ask their views. Better still, come and try the boats.

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thanks for all the info guys, sadly going to cambridge would be out of the question because of lack of time but i heard there are some guys at the penine sailing club do race coaching on a vago, maybe they'll let us have a play.

But thanks for the offer.

and does it plane upwind?

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Yes it does, quite well. You will need to bear off a bit to get the speed up then coax it slightly more upwind and it planes. Close hauled, its like most boats I have sailed..just chugs along. Keep your weight forward to keep bow down etc.

 

I don't think you will be disappointed with a test sail.

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