Saturday, 23 October 2010

ICAP Leopard To Take On Mediterranean Offshore Classic

by Alex Mills

At 1100 (local time) on 23rd October, ICAP Leopard, the record breaking 100ft super-maxi racing yacht owned by Helical Bar PLC chief executive Mike Slade, will start the Rolex Middle Sea Race from Grand Harbour, Malta. Last year ICAP Leopard won line honours in this Mediterranean offshore classic, although narrowly missed out on the current course record by a mere 25 minutes.

Slade will lead a crew of vastly experienced offshore talent, including top Volvo ocean race sailors Justin Slattery (IRE) and Guy Salter (GBR) on the bow and Race Captain/Helm Rob Greenhalgh (GBR). Other notable members of the crew include Watch Captain Mark Thomas (AUS) and North Sails guru Jez Robinson (GBR).

Owner Mike Slade commented: “The forecast for the race start is lighter than we would have hoped for, which will make breaking records difficult, however we will be working hard to be the first boat home! I personally love the Middle Sea Race for its spectacular scenery combined with exceptional hospitality of the Royal Malta Yacht Club which makes it one of my favorite European offshore events.”

Speaking about the conditions expected during the race, Race Tactician Rob Greenhalgh said: “Early forecasts are showing that the race is likely to be split into two parts. The start is due to be light and variable with the breeze unlikely to exceed 20 knots in the first 24 hours. As we reach the west of Sicily the breeze looks likely to increase as we benefit from a funneling effect in the Sicily Straits. With light conditions the crew will need to work extra hard to ensure that we are up to speed, however with a great crew onboard we are confident that we’ll be up to the task.”

The 31st edition of the race begins on Saturday from Malta’s Grand Harbour and is a 606 nautical mile rounding of Sicily and its surrounding islands in an anticlockwise direction. Leopard’s competition is in the form of ex Alfa Romeo 2, Reichel/Pugh-designed Esimit Europa 2 and the 2008 line honours winner Alegre who is also sailing under British ensign. The current course record stands at: 1day, 23hours, 55 minutes and 3 seconds.

ICAP Leopard
Rolex Middle Sea Race