Latest update: Thursday 8 September
Professional kite surfer Andreya Wharry has shattered the world record for the longest continuous kitesurf passage by successfully completing her latest challenge, The Veuve Clicquot Kite Crossing.
Dreya, 34, kitesurfed a total of 115.4 nautical miles (132.71 statute miles) in eight hours and six minutes from Watergate Bay in Cornwall, to Dungarvan, County Waterford, Ireland.
Dreya from Newquay has set two new world records for the 'Longest Continuous Kitesurf' and 'Longest Continuous Kitesurf by a Woman'.
“132 miles - I'm really stoked with that!”, said an exhausted Dreya.
"We set out to do 135 miles and we've pretty much done that. It's amazing!"
The attempt started with an agonising wait for wind as Dreya, a former world top-ten ranked professional kitesurfer, waited on the beach for two hours for the forecasted south-westerly winds to come in from the Atlantic.
At 10am on Wednesday 7 September, the decision was made to motor 15 miles offshore from Watergate Bay to start the crossing attempt out at sea where wind conditions were more favourable.
It proved to be the right decision, as Dreya managed to successfully launch her kite and kite crossing attempt commenced at 11am.
"I didn't realise how stressed I was on the beach until I got going," said Dreya. "The winds were so light I didn't think we'd be able to get going at all, and it was really tricky to launch the kite from the water, but once I was going it was fantastic. Even in that light wind I was averaging a really good speed, around 15 knots, so I was amazed.
"It was lovely at the beginning – it was smooth, it was comfy, it was warm, it was easy. There were so many dolphins out there, they were lovely. They seemed to pop up every time I needed a pep, I had one that came up right beside me, they really gave me a lift."
Dreya passed a series of milestones along the way, including beating her own world record - a grueling 70 mile ocean passage from the Isles of Scilly to Watergate Bay last May – after three hours and 45 minutes.
She continued to make good progress, averaging a speed of 15 knots over the first five hours as the wind strength increased from force three to force five.
Then just after 5pm at 89 nautical miles, Dreya beat the official world record held by three American kitesurfers who made a passage between Cuba and Florida in 2001.
Fighting against fatigue, Dreya pushed on through the pain barrier to reach the 100 nautical-mile mark shortly before 6pm and beat Stef de Jong’s unofficial world record set only last month on a passage between Lowestoft and Holland.
"The fatigue was worse than I thought it was going to be," said Dreya. "At 80 miles it really started to hurt. Then around the 90 mile mark the sea state really deteriorated, the wind picked up to a force six, and my kite was really overpowered in that wind, I was doing all I could to control it. The last 20 miles were so hard. We saw land and then we lost sight of it again as the visibility deteriorated, and I was getting trashed by the power – the kite was just picking me up and launching me, I felt like a rag doll."
Fatigue and failing light finally got the better of Dreya just three miles away from landing at Clonea beach near Dungarvan. At 7.06pm after 132.71 miles Dreya and the safety crews on the boats decided to end the attempt, securing Dreya's place in the record books.
"Dreya has really proved that in the world of extreme sport it has nothing to do with whether you're a man or a woman. In breaking this record Dreya has shown sheer guts and determination and is an inspiration to us all," said Henry Ashworth, founder of The Extreme Academy, who have supported Dreya throughout her attempt from Watergate Bay.
For now Dreya can catch up with some much needed rest after the initial celebrating. More on Friday when Dreya speaks about her challenge in more depth.
Wednesday 7 September - afternoon
Women's World Record broken
At 56.5 nautical miles at 2.45pm Dreya has beaten her own record set last year. In mid afternoon Dreya was nearly half way with 61 nautical miles to go. The wind had reached a steady force four.
Wednesday 7 September - lunchtime
Dreya Wharry set off for the Irish Coast of Rosslare Peninsula at 11.15am after being towed five miles into the sea due to poor winds off the shore.
Our reporter Antony Makokha was at Watergate Bay to watch the second attempt at the kite surfer's world record attempt. He spoke to Dreya just before she left, and her parents John and Trisha Wharry. Hear the audio by clicking on the links below.
Wednesday 7 September - am
Cornish kite surfer Dreya Wharry has begun her second attempt on the the sport's 135-mile world record. She left Watergate Bay near Newquay on Wednesday morning for southern Ireland, after a brief delay caused by a lack of wind.
The 33-year-old from Newquay had to ditch her record bid last weekend after two hours because of bad weather.
Ex-Gladiators champion Dreya, from Newquay, made it into the record books last year after completing a gruelling 70-mile kite surf from the Isles of Scilly to Watergate Bay.
Her latest challenge called The Crossing 2: The Celtic Connection will see Dreya take on almost double that distance when she attempts to kitesurf the 135 miles from Watergate Bay, Cornwall, to County Cork, Ireland.
The time frame
Dreya has chosen a reduced time-frame of nine days, from Friday 2nd to Saturday 10th September 2005, to wait for ideal conditions to make the Kite Crossing. Leaving Watergate Bay, Dreya will take an almost directly northerly bearing, requiring at least a steady force 5 wind from the SSE to SW range.
With optimum wind and sea conditions, Dreya expects to arrive at the County Cork coast in south-east Ireland around ten hours later, although the exact destination is likely to be decided on the day depending on the prevailing weather conditions.
Dreya said: "It’s 50 per cent about the weather and 50 per cent about having the determination to do it. I’m determined to succeed and at the same time I want to introduce more people, and particularly more women, into the sport of kite surfing."
Perhaps the hardest part of the challenge for Dreya is the fact that she will be making the attempt single-handed. The determination to overcome the inevitable mental and physical fatigue will be critical to a successful attempt, and all the more difficult without the support of another kitesurfer going through the same experience.
Dreya says: "I’ll be relying on the support boats to set the pace for me and keep my speed up because I won’t know how fast I’m going at any given time. I need to average a speed of 18 to 20 knots to give me the chance to do it in the time, which is quite fast.
"I want to walk onto the sand in Ireland, I want to physically land, that’s a really important part of it for me. That was the best bit about last year, actually going without assistance from one point to another point - that’s the feeling of achievement I really want."
Follow Dreya's progress
Updates on the status of The Crossing will be posted regularly on a dedicated website for the event, www.kitecrossing.co.uk, including 48 and 24 hour alerts when the attempt is imminent as well as regular updates while the attempt is underway.