8:14pm Sunday 1st July 2012
© Press Association 2013
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, Kent, 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, for the fastest cross-Channel kite-surf, which was set by his son Sam on Saturday. 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.
Sir Richard, who turns 62 next month, had to abort his part in Saturday'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.
On Sunday night 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.
Later, Sir Richard said he and his team were approached by French police who pointed out that they had broken the law. But the Virgin boss said the officers possessed a "sense of humour" and sent them on their way with a warning not to do it again.
Sir Richard said: "We were secretly hoping they would arrest us so we could get to a police cell and warm up a bit. Luckily, they had a sense of humour and they let us off with a very firm warning not to do it again and sent us on our way.
"Shaking from the cold, I assured them I had no desire to do it again. Maybe Sam's record is safe after all."
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