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    Branson abandons kite-boarding record bid


    by ODN


    Sir Richard Branson has been forced to abandon his attempt to set two world records by kite-boarding across the English Channel.

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

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

    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 on Tuesday morning, hoping to reach the French coast.

    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.

    A defiant Sir Richard said afterwards: "It was fantastic conditions for kiting but hellish conditions for the chase boats. The boats couldn't have done it and it's too dangerous for the kites to continue without them."

    He shrugged off the failure of his first attempt and vowed to try again on Wednesday, when conditions are expected to be better.

    He said: "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."