Branson's Channel Challenge

25 August 2010, 14:58

Sir Richard Branson has had to delay his two world records by kitesurfing across the Channel from Dungeness because of bad weather... Strong winds and a choppy sea forced him to turn back yesterday on his first attempt

Sir Richard Branson's second attempt to set two world records by kite-boarding across the English Channel has been delayed due to bad weather for the 2nd day in a row.

Strong winds and a choppy sea made it unsafe for him to proceed with the 24-mile crossing yesterday and he turned back after just an hour and 10 minutes on the waves.

Richard Branson says “Despite being ready from 7am on the beach, with all 18 of us  pumped up to set a couple of World Records - the winds defeated us again today.  The two days couldn't have been more different - yesterday the winds raged - today they whispered!  One extreme to another.  But setting World Records is never easy or we'd all be doing them! 

Sometimes Mother Nature just decides today was not your day... 

But we'll all be back to give it another go in the not too distant future.  I'll delay my birthday celebrations until then - on a positive note I guess that means I'm still 59!”

Here are pictures from the first challenge on Tuesday


Cross channel challenge - Branson 2


Cross channel challenge - Branson 3

The Virgin entrepreneur is hoping to celebrate his 60th birthday by becoming the oldest person to cross the Channel by kite-board.

He also aims to make the fastest crossing by a kite-board team.

Accompanied by his children Holly, 29, and Sam, 26, and a number of others including Princess Beatrice's boyfriend Dave Clarke, 28, he set off from Dungeness in Kent yesterday morning, hoping to reach the French coast.

The group included Sir Richard's 15-year-old nephew Ivo Branson, who hopes to become the youngest person to cross the Channel by kite-board.

Princess Beatrice was among the crowd of spectators standing on the shore to see them off.

But winds measuring up to six on the Beaufort scale prevented the safety boats from accompanying them on the crossing and Sir Richard reluctantly decided they should turn back.

They travelled just five miles from the shore. He said afterwards: ``I don't think I've ever done an adventure where I've succeeded the first time.``I'm looking forward to getting the job done tomorrow.''

If today's attempt succeeds, Sir Richard and his group will be the first to establish the Guinness world records.

They are also hoping that one of them will beat the current record for the fastest solo crossing of the Channel by kite-board, which is two and a half hours.

Kite-boarding, or kitesurfing as it is also known, is a water sport in which the rider is pulled through the waves on a surfboard, propelled by a large controllable kite.

Sir Richard described it as one of his favourite sports.

His mother, Eve Branson, who is in her 80s, attributed her son's love of adventure to his upbringing.

``He's always thinking up something to do next,'' she said.``It may be that I made him a bit like that because I set him things that one really shouldn't set a child, such as dropping him in the middle of Devon and saying 'find your way home, I'll meet you down the bottom of the hill' when he was about five or six.

``I didn't want him just to be a dull little child.''His kite-boarding craze did not surprise her, she added.``It is a bit typical. It's yet one more crazy thing he's doing. I didn't even know he could do it.``He likes a challenge and always likes to do things that are beyond his reach.''