Britain's Branson abandons cross-Channel kitesurf bid
British tycoon adventurer Richard Branson has abandoned his attempt to kitesurf across the England Channel after a second bid Wednesday ended in failure, his spokesman said.
Rough seas and high winds scuppered the entrepreneur's first attempt on Tuesday by forcing the support boats to turn back after five miles (eight kilometres), but he had the opposite problem when he tried again on Wednesday.
"The guys have been trying to catch the wind all day, and it just wasn't happening. There wasn't enough," Branson's spokesman said from Dungeness on the southeast English coast, where the adventurer was launching his bid.
Branson and his fellow kitesurfers including his children Holly and Sam were aiming for the northern French port of Boulogne, a distance of 24.4 miles (39 kilometres).
But they tried for more than three hours before giving up about 1230 GMT, the spokesman said.
"That's it for the moment," he told AFP, adding: "They all understand that you can't do anything about the wind... Richard's taking everyone to the pub."
Asked if Branson would make another attempt, the spokesman said "not in the immediate future".
However he did not rule out another bid one day, noting that Branson himself said Wednesday: "Let's live to fight another day."
The owner of the Virgin Atlantic airline and founder of an empire encompassing trains, media interests and financial services, had hoped to become the oldest person to cross the Channel on a kitesurf and to make the fastest crossing by a kitesurf team.
In kitesurfing, or kiteboarding as it is also known, the rider is pulled through the waves on a surfboard, propelled by a large controllable kite.
© 2010 AFP