Laguna on the ocean waves

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If you were going to sail across the Irish Sea, a 100 quid French saloon car would probably not be your transport of choice - especially in October.

But high seas or not, a Renault Laguna was what four friends from Ireland decided to charter for a 23-mile trip from Donaghadee Harbour to Port Patrick - and remarkably, the amphibious craft carried them across in one piece.

Skipper Peter Martin and his 'crew' Carl McConkey, Rick Miles and Mark Farrell, left the Irish port at 9.30am on October 31 crammed aboard the modified Laguna and reached their destination seven hours later.

This was a huge step forward for the team after the dismal failure of their first attempt in 2007 when their craft, Sir Galahad, sank within four minutes of setting sail.
Not wishing to embarrass themselves again in front of the large - and sceptical - crowd that had gathered, Martin and his mates left nothing to chance, sticking an outboard motor on the back - perhaps an improvement on the standard engine - as well as attaching plenty of foam to the car.

"Nearly everyone on shore thought we wouldn't make it, but confidence rides high on the boat", Martin said. "At one point some of the crew even got in a little fishing."

The cruise wasn't some bizarre protest at Irish Sea ferry prices but rather a trip in the name of charity - and with £3,000 raised, the four can regard that as a job well done.

Sir Tristram sea trials:
Launching Sir Tristram: