The blokes at Top Gear are in the process of planning their summer return, and last week viewers abroad got a rare glimpse into how the sausage is made.

You might recall Clarkson, Hammond and May taking on the challenge of creating their own aquatic vehicles a few seasons back (if not, the video is posted after the jump), and the results were somewhat predictable, with Clarkson capsizing, Hamster taking on more water than the laws of physics would allow, and Captain Slow rolling into the docks triumphant in his Triumph Herald.

Well, the three motoring presenters decided to pull their aqua-whips out of retirement to cross the English Channel, and again, two of the three vehicles met their demise at the bottom of the sea. According to various reports, May's Herald and Hammond's VW van went under within the first few minutes, while Jezza was able to stay afloat long enough to stroke his ever-expanding ego.

The Daily Mail article has several photos of the event, and a few choice quotes from understandably peeved Coast Guard officers.

On a related side note, Hammond reportedly ditched his 911 Carrera in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire at 3 AM yesterday, after he was stuck in traffic caused by a flood for 12 hours. Our man wasn't going to miss his daughter's birthday party, so he decided to run the 16 miles back to his home, equipped with a waterproof jacket, some running shoes and an iPod. "There was no way I was going to miss it – I'm away from home enough as it is," said Hammond, after recounting his two-and-a-half hour-long jog. Kudos to Hamster for knowing what really matters.

[Sources: Autotrader.co.uk, Daily Mail]