VPI Nomad help

I've had a VPI Nomad for 3 years now. Came with the equipped Ortofon Red, which was great. When it came time to replace it I ponied up for an Ortofon Blue stylus, keeping the same cartridge. Swapping out was super easy and as expected (I've had a few turntables and changed a few cartridges but I'm no expert). Fast forward a year and a half later and it's time to replace the needle. For budget reasons I went back to an Ortofon red, again keeping the cartridge and just replacing the stylus. Super easy swap out. However, this time it is distorted and skipping. I check the counterweight (which sucks to adjust on this turntable by the way), it's at 1.6, I adjust to 1.8 at the advice or VPI. Sounds better. But once the record gets towards the end it gets distorted and skippy again. There doesn't seem to be any sort of anti-skate mechanism on here. Could the stylus be bad? Should I realign the cartridge? Throw everything away and listen to cassette tapes :)?
Never throw away what you can sell.

But seriously, the fact that increasing tracking force helped is a clue. How did you adjust? The correct way is with a gauge (even the inexpensive Shure works fine) measured with the stylus at record height, not above or below. 

Most will tell you to lower is better but the truth is mistracking is much worse than running a little extra VTF. And it sounds like that is your problem right now, mistracking. 

Just curious if you still have the old Blue? If you do I would try it and see if the problem goes away or not.