Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Saturday, October 23, 1999 Published at 17:47 GMT 18:47 UK


Windsurfer sails into record books

The lows were the pollution, the exhaustion - and the weather

A 41-year-old father-of-four has become the first windsurfer to complete the journey around Britain and Ireland.

Richard Cooper, 41, from Marlborough in Wiltshire, took 61 days to complete his trip around the 2,000 miles of coastline.

The tired and dishevelled company manager returned on Saturday to Gosport, Hampshire, from where he began his journey on 22 August.

[ image: Looking forward to being a dad again]
Looking forward to being a dad again
He is now waiting for the record to be officially verified by the Guinness Book of World Records, but was confident he had made it in.

Mr Cooper was welcomed back by his wife Mandy and children Amy, three, George, six, Jack, eight, and Rosie, 10.

"It has certainly been the toughest thing I have ever done in my life with some of the lowest lows and highest highs," he said.

"It has been a fantastic experience."

Cooper said a typical day had involved getting up at 0530BST and windsurfing for about eight hours, before falling asleep in his wetsuit in his support boat.

He said the toughest time had been the first month when he and his support team had fallen behind schedule and had been unsure whether they could make it round Scotland before bad weather set in.

He said another low had been the appalling amount of litter and pollution he had seen in the sea on his way around the coastline.

But he said windsurfing beside dolphins, seals and whales had been a highlight of the expedition.

'Won't miss the windsurfing'

Mr Cooper had taken eight months off work to train for and complete the feat.

He said: "What I am really looking forward to now is getting home and being a dad again, for a few days at least.

"I won't miss the windsurfing. I might not do that again for a while, but I will miss the sea."

Mr Cooper was raising money for the environmental charity The Marine Conservation Society during his trip, and hopes to have collected about £50,000.

Earlier this year, a 23-year-old windsurfer set the record for completing an 1,800-mile journey around Britain's coastline.

Keith Russell, from Hayling Island, shaved eight days off the previous record set in 1984 by completing the trip in 61 days.

The former record-holder was Tim Batstone, from Llandudno, who set the record with a 70-day-trip in 1984.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

UK Contents

Northern Ireland

Relevant Stories

21 Aug 99†|†UK
Windsurfer sails into record book

Internet Links

Guinness Book of Records

Marine Conservation Society

Richard Cooper's Challenge

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Next steps for peace

Blairs' surprise over baby

Bowled over by Lord's

Beef row 'compromise' under fire

Hamilton 'would sell mother'

Industry misses new trains target

From Sport
Quins fightback shocks Cardiff

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

IRA ceasefire challenge rejected

Thousands celebrate Asian culture

From Sport
Christie could get two-year ban

From Entertainment
Colleagues remember Compo

Mother pleads for baby's return

Toys withdrawn in E.coli health scare

From Health
Nurses role set to expand

Israeli PM's plane in accident

More lottery cash for grassroots

Pro-lifers plan shock launch

Double killer gets life

From Health
Cold 'cure' comes one step closer

From UK Politics
Straw on trial over jury reform

Tatchell calls for rights probe into Mugabe

Ex-spy stays out in the cold

From UK Politics
Blair warns Livingstone

From Health
Smear equipment `misses cancers'

From Entertainment
Boyzone star gets in Christmas spirit

Fake bubbly warning

Murder jury hears dead girl's diary

From UK Politics
Germ warfare fiasco revealed

Blair babe triggers tabloid frenzy

Tourists shot by mistake

A new look for News Online