The Kite Family: they are channeling dreams

Ralph Crathorne (aged 51) and his two daughters, Lucy (21) and Polly (16), think they have just broken three records in kitesurfing across the channel from Dungeness to Boulogne in 3 hours and 40 minutes.

Lucy and Polly are the first women to kitesurf the channel to France. Polly is the youngest person at 16 to have kite surfed across, and Ralph is the oldest.

Despite less-than-perfect conditions, the family dodged ships in the busiest shipping lane in the world - The Dover Straits.

Having joked about going for a family crossing for some months - the dream became a reality when a friend offered to provide a support boat.

"It was all a bit last minute. Dad glued a compass onto his kiteboard, and suddenly we were off - it wasn't until the halfway point, and I saw France in the distance, that it really sank in that we were going to make it - I just looked at my sister and laughed it seemed so ridiculous," says Polly.

"We aimed to go from Dungeness to Wimereux, but the currents and light winds forced us further south - we reckoned we had covered about 30 miles before we made it to the Boulogne Harbour walls, where my wife hauled us on board under the noses of the French Police waiting menacingly on the beach", said Ralph Crathorne.

The family used Cabrinha Kites and Wizard kiteboards to make their crossing.

Polly Crathorne, who finished second overall in the Ladies Amateurs’ freestyle section of the BKSA UK 2009 kite surf tour and is currently lying second in this year’s tour, said, "I am really excited to have just been invited to become a UK team rider for Cabrinha."

Note: The family notified the HM Coastguard and kept them informed throughout. However, by order of the Maritime Prefect of the Channel and the North Sea (number 14/93), the French Maritime Authorities prohibit crossings of the Pas de Calais by unconventional means and/or in unorthodox craft

Source: BKSA

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