Branson Kite Surfs The Channel

Sir Richard Branson has entered the record books as the oldest person to kite-surf the English Channel - on his second attempt in 24 hours.

The 61-year-old Virgin tycoon crossed from Dymchurch to Wimereux in northern France in three hours, 45 minutes to establish the first Guinness World Record for the oldest person to make the crossing by kite-surf.

He failed to secure the second world record he was also eyeing, which was set by his son Sam only yesterday for the fastest cross-Channel kite-surf.

Sam made the 30-mile journey from Wimereux to Folkestone in two hours and 18 minutes, shaving 12 minutes off the previous record which was set in 1999.

He was followed on to shore by eight friends and relatives who entered the record books as the fastest group of kite-surfers to make the Channel crossing, for which there was no previous record.

Disappointingly, Sir Richard, who turns 62 next month, had to abort his part in yesterday's challenge after realising his kite was too small to carry him over while he was half-way across.

But he immediately vowed to try again, saying he wanted to "finish the job''.

He jokily told his son to enjoy the next 24 hours as the fastest cross-Channel kite-surfer because he aimed to take the title from him.

Sir Richard said the journey was "far more challenging'' than he thought, with strong winds and large waves.

He added that he now had even more respect for his son in gaining his world record.

The magnate is no stranger to record attempts. In 1987, his hot air balloon Virgin Atlantic Flyer crossed the Atlantic, setting the record as the first balloon to do so.

In January 1991, he was in the first balloon to cross the Pacific from Japan to Arctic Canada in a journey that amounted to 6,700 miles.

And from 1995 to 1998, Sir Richard, Per Lindstrand and Steve Fossett made attempts to circumnavigate the globe by balloon.