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Daredevils cross Irish Sea - in car

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Four zany adventurers have sailed across the Irish Sea in a modified Renault Laguna, overcoming 12ft waves and on-board leaks to keep the car afloat and avoid having to make a surreal car insurance claim.

The group, who had been inspired by a similar attempt on the BBC's Top Gear programme, reached Portpatrick harbour in Scotland seven hours after leaving Donaghadee in Northern Ireland.

The car, adapted by college lecturer Peter Martin, had been fitted with foam, a bilge-pump and an outboard motor.

With friends Carl McConkey, Rick Miles and Mark Farrell, he took it on trial trips around the Copeland Islands, off Co Down, before the audacious 23-mile amphibious crossing.

Mr Martin, a lecturer in leadership and management at Belfast Metropolitan College, said they could not quite believe their feat when they landed ashore.

The efforts of the team, who would not describe themselves as experienced sailors, were slightly hampered by serious bouts of sea-sickness. But despite persistent vomiting, waves up to 12ft and having to constantly bail out water leaking through the accelerator and clutch, the men refused to abandon their DIY "car-boat".

"This just proves what you can do when you put your mind to it." said Mr Martin.

© Press Association 2009