ICAP Leopard is set to tackle second leg of historic treble as it prepares for Middle Sea Race

ICAP Leopard, the 100ft super-maxi yacht owned by Mike Slade (Helical Bar PLC Chief Executive) will once again take centre stage this weekend as she competes in the Rolex Middle Sea Race in Malta. Having already taken line honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race this year, the Rolex Middle Sea Race represents the second leg of a potentially historic treble, which concludes with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in December. No yacht has ever taken line honours in all three in the same calendar year, but Slade and crew have set their sights on becoming the first.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race, an annual offshore classic, will see a fleet of 80 yachts take on a demanding 606-mile Mediterranean course, famous for its capricious winds and navigational obstacles. For owner Mike Slade, this will be his third Rolex Middle Sea Race, but the first with his record-breaking Farr-designed maxi yacht ICAP Leopard.

Mike Slade commented: “It is a joy to be back in Malta for the Rolex Middle Sea Race. The course is one of the most beautiful in the world, providing an ideal tonic for a gloomy British October! Whilst the wind is often light in this part of the world, we are hopeful that we can replicate the light airs performance that we showed in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race. We have worked hard to optimise ICAP Leopard for lighter conditions, and we believe that we are in great shape ahead of Saturday’s start.”

The crew of ICAP Leopard will feature several ‘stars’ of the sailing world. Regular Volvo Ocean Race veterans Justin Slattery, Jason Carrington, and the Salter brothers are joined by Brad Jackson (Ericsson 4) and Brit Rob Greenhalgh (Puma) in a bid to secure victory in what is guaranteed to be a close tactical battle.

The 2009 Rolex Middle Sea Race starts from Grand Harbour at 11:00 CEST on Saturday 17 October. The current course record stands at 47 hours 55 minutes and 3 seconds, established by George David’s Rambler (USA) in 2007.

For more, visit www.leopard3.com and www.rolexmiddlesearace.com