by Louay Habib
ICAP Leopard, Mike Slade’s record breaking Maxi, is under going final preparations for a breath-taking season of racing. ICAP Leopard sailed across the Atlantic last November to take part in the first ever, Atlantic Ocean Racing Series. The 100 ft Maxi has a scintillating four-month programme of racing, in some of the most spectacular locations throughout the Caribbean and America.
ICAP Leopard’s world-class international crew includes many yachtsmen from the Volvo Ocean Race. A highly competitive and well-drilled crew is led by Boat Captain, Chris Sherlock and includes:
Ian Budgen (GBR), Robert Greenhalgh (GBR), Mike Joubert (RSA), Gordon Maguire (IRL), Luke Molloy (AUS), Jeremy Robinson (GBR), David Rolfe (NZ), Guy Salter (GBR), Mark Thomas (AUS) and Jim Turner (GBR).
They will be taking on formidable opponents, in the shape of George David’s New York Yacht Club team, racing on the Juan K designed Maxi, Rambler 100 (ex-Speedboat).
ICAP Leopard’s Robert Greenhalgh is anticipating a thrilling start to the campaign.
'There is quality right through our team and the Caribbean usually provides fast adrenalin pumping conditions, which will definitely suit ICAP Leopard. This will be my first RORC Caribbean 600 and I am relishing the prospect but most of the crew has done the race before and it looks like an awesome event to kick off the Atlantic Series.
The RORC Caribbean 600 is designed to thrill, it has high speed reaching legs and many tricky corners to negotiate, it is like a Formula One racetrack. It is going to be exciting and full-on with a lot of tactics coming into play.'
ICAP Leopard’s owner, Mike Slade is understandably relishing the prospect of racing the powerful Maxi in the Caribbean; it is a part of the world he knows well, having raced there since the early 90s.
'There is nowhere on earth that comes close to the Caribbean as a sailing location, constant wind and ocean swell provides some spectacular racing and the beautiful sunshine and fantastic scenery just adds to the magic of it all. It is the main reason that we go there but this year is even more special, as we have been provided with the fantastic opportunity of competing in the Atlantic Series. Yacht owners like myself are enthralled by the competition, it really gives us all something to go for.
Besides the thrilling offshore racing, ICAP Leopard is ready, willing and able to compete in some of the glorious regattas in the Caribbean, but personally I cannot attend them all, due to the exciting challenges in the UK and European property market.'
ICAP Leopard has an action-packed programme comprising seven spectacular events, starting with the RORC Caribbean 600 in February and ending with the showcase event of the Atlantic Ocean Series; The 3000 mile Transatlantic Race.
Four sailing regattas are also scheduled around the offshore events and ICAP Leopard has limited charter opportunities available. Up to eight VIP guests can race on board with the full race crew, to experience the ride of their lives.
Race fans can track ICAP Leopard’s progress during the season and read blogs from the boat at the official web site, which is packed with information about ICAP Leopard.
ICAP Leopard website here