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Richard Branson reaches for champagne after shelving kite-surf bid

July 1, 2012 - London

Richard Branson, who failed in his attempt break the record for the oldest person to kite-surf across the English Channel, was still more than happy to pop open a bottle of champagne to toast the unsuccessful venture.

The 61-year-old Virgin entrepreneur attempted to break two records on Saturday - to become the oldest person to cross the Channel by kite-surf and to make the fastest crossing by a kite-surfing team.

He was joined by his son Sam, who recently announced his engagement to girlfriend Isabella Calthorpe, as well as his nephews and friends to attempt the 30-mile jaunt from Womereux in France to the Kent coast.

The team hoped to complete the journey by kite-surfing across the channel in two-and-a-half hours but halfway across the owner of F1 team Virgin Racing realised that his kite was too small to finish the journey.ranson, who will turn 62 next month, turned back to France while his family and friends continued on.

While his own record-breaking attempt fell flat, his son Sam had a little bit more success by becoming the fastest person to kite-surf across the Channel.

He managed to reach Folkestone in two hours and 18 minutes - beating the previous record set in 1999 by 12 minutes.

Sam and the eight others who finished also entered the record books as the fastest group of kite-surfers to make the Channel crossing, for which there was no previous record.

Speaking after stepping off a boat on Folkestone beach, a determined Sir Richard said he hoped to try the crossing again tomorrow if the weather permits.

As the tycoon reached dry land, hugs were exchanged and a bottle of champagne was uncorked to celebrate the team's success in writing themselves into the record books.

"I got half-way across and the kite was foolishly too small for me. I was heading for the cliffs of Dover where there is no beach," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.

"I was told to go back to France, which I did, to get a bigger kite. When I got there they had packed the kites up and were heading to England.

"My plan is to congratulate my son and give it another go tomorrow. I would like to finish the job off. It would have been lovely to have reached the finish line as planned," he added.


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