The marathon from Ledge Point to Lancelin is a tough windsurfing race. A running start with 159 competitors and a more than 30 minute long downwind fight while the early afternoon, when the sun is still high up in the sky. Jesper Orth (AUS-10), who lives and works in Perth, had a great race and finished in second just behind Peter Volwater. Read his report about a windsurfing marathon, which happened in tricky windconditions. 

Last seconds before the start for the marathon 2012 (Pic. John Carter).

First of all Stoked to get 2nd.This year was pretty light wind. Anything under a powerful 7.5 m would have been struggling. So well done to all that completed the race. I know a lot of sailors did not make it and had to pull out. Great effort to give it a go! In the end there was just below 200 sailors starting and this was awesome for the forecast. The organisation did extremely well to get a result in both, Waves and the Marathon based on a doubtful forecast. It can’t be cheap to have the helicopter hanging there plus all the other media packages. So hopefully the outcome will be a nice 30 minutes long clip packed with some good action and the support from sponsors etc be intact, for the years to come.

Concentration before the start, just next to Björn Dunkerbeck (Pic: James Torode).


Let´s talk about the race a bit more detailed: I used the KArace 9.4 myself with the F2 82 and a 44 Volt fin from Vector Fins. I had a great start and was in the top 5 out of the beach, I would say. Dan Engdahl got the best start again.
He actually went to the wrong boat – more upwind fishing boat – but realized in time and corrected. I was happy to jibe in 1st around the boat and I think behind me was Daniel Aeberli, Chris Lockwood, Dan Engdahl, Isaac de Vries, Rowen Law, Blair Gavin, Steven Stratfold. Not sure where Peter Volwater, Patrik Diethelm, Björn Dunkerbeck etc were, but they must have been up there. I might have forgot to mention some, but it´s hard to tell.


Jesper had a great start leading from the beginning on (Pic: John Carter).


Then I had to sail really deep off the wind to the next marks. I think Peter came up to me on 2nd or 3’rd leg and got a little bit ahead. I tried to hang on to him, but my jibe at 3rd mark left me non planing for a while and I could see Peter pulling away more on the deep of the wind. All sailors behind me seemed to have same low wind situation for a short while as well. I got going again and the helicopter came around, but went way to close to me on my leeward side. I saw teh helicopter coming and could not do anything against the “sudden headwind gust” that flatten me straight in the water. Chris Lockwood passed me “laughing”. I managed to pass Chris again a little later going very deep and a little faster with my 9.4.


The Google Earth view on Jesper´s line.

Then Patrik Diethelm arrived and we had a good fight. He managed to pass below me and got in front to the last mark. The last leg inside was very tricky as we had to throw in 2 more jibes to get through the reef. Patrick went way to far in on the inside and I jibed further out and could sail next to the “knee deep” reef on the outside. Next jibe was critical and I did actually jibe to early and could not make the gate (of 2 marks), so had to go off planing and drift down for 20 meters. My “panic” eased as I saw the guys behind with the same problem.


Jesper Orth with excellent speed on a 9,4 (Pic: John Carter).

Made it to the beach in 2nd — stoked! Needed 37,34 minutes from Ledge to Lancelin, 96 seconds behind the winner Peter Volwater.


© Jesper Orth, John Carter, James Torode, 2012