Thursday, 26 August 2010

Princess Beatrice's good luck kiss, take two: But even her royal rallying couldn't stop Dave Clarke and Branson's second splash landing

By Paul Harris

Kiss for good luck: Princess Beatrice kisses her boyfriend Dave Clarke goodbye before he set off on his second ill-fated attempt to cross the English Channel with Richard Branson

Bundled up against the cold in a red wind jacket, the 22-year-old royal looked less excited to be going through the process for a second time, after posing excitedly for pictures and filming from the shore on Day One.

Her 28-year-old beau is joining Branson and a team of 17 friends and family to attempt the record-breaking journey.

But not for the first time on one of Sir Richard Branson's Big Adventures, the billionaire entrepreneur discovered he can have no control over the weather.

Look familiar? The 22-year-old princess was also there yesterday for the team's first attempt at the record-breaking journey

For the second day in succession, the Virgin tycoon's plans to kite-surf across the English Channel were thwarted by unfavourable conditions.

It forced him to abandon his latest attempt to get into the record books with the kind of challenge that most other 60-year-olds probably wouldn't put at the top of their lists of ways to celebrate their birthday.

The idea was to make the 24-mile journey on a surf board, dragged by a kite attached to a 30ft harness.

He'd kite-surfed before, of course - most famously with a naked model clinging to his back and a huge grin on his face.

Supportive: Beatrice looked excited on Day One, posing for pictures and filming Clarke from the shore

For the second day running, she stood dutifully on the shore and kissed her boyfriend for good luck.

But once again, Princess Beatrice's supportive send-off was in vain, as boyfriend Dave Clarke and Richard Branson's hopes of crossing the English Channel were thwarted.

Weather was the culprit again, and while yesterday winds were too strong, today they weren't strong enough.

But on a day when even large yachts had trouble filling their sails, that sinking feeling quickly set in.

From a boat offshore, I watched as Branson tried repeatedly to stand upright on his board and get going.

Four hours later, Branson admitted defeat. Afterwards on dry land above the shingle shoreline of Dungeness, Kent, he told me: 'The biggest problem was simply to get off the beach.

'Despite all the forecasts we were given, the wind just wasn't there. If I had been on my own, I think we'd be having this conversation in Boulogne.

Life's a beach: Sir Richard Branson is all smiles as he prepares to attempt to become the oldest person to kite-surf the English Channel

'But my family and friends would have been alongside me so I think it was the right decision not to go.'

Wasn't he a bit old for this sort of caper though? 'As people will find out as they get older, you don't feel any different at 60 than you do when you're 20,' he said.That's part of the fun.'

Branson was trying for four records: to become the oldest person to kite surf the Channel; the youngest (Branson's nephew Ivo, 15); the largest group to do so (17 people, including daughter Holly, 29, and son Sam, 26); and maybe even the fastest crossing (target: under four hours).

Eventually, however, two observers from the Guinness Book of Records went home without any new entries to submit.

Meanwhile Branson - who is also planning to take his family into space next year - says he is determined to try again later.

Splash down: The wind is against Sir Richard Branson and the entrepreneur is forced to take a splash landing

source: dailymail

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