ICAP Leopard and Alfa Romeo up the stakes in the Rolex Fastnet Race with a private wager 10/8/07

To spice things up in this year’s Rolex Fastnet Race, Mike Slade, owner of ICAP Leopard, and his Kiwi adversary Neville Crichton, owner of Alfa Romeo, have placed a wager based on which of the two yachts will be the first to cross the finish line in Plymouth. Starting this Sunday from Cowes, the two 100ft super maxi yachts, each with canting keels, will race one another around the 608-mile course in the IRC Super Zero class.

The two owners have agreed that the losing boat will donate £5,000 to the Ellen MacArthur Trust, which gives children suffering from serious illnesses the opportunity to go sailing. Mike Slade commented: “Neville and I have become great friends over the years whilst we have been competing against each other. This year we have decided upon a friendly wager between ICAP Leopard and Alfa Romeo. We have chosen to support the official charity of
Skandia Cowes Week, the Ellen MacArthur Trust, due to its local roots. I really admire what Ellen is doing for the kids. May the best man win!”

Neville Crichton added: “It’s a pretty good bet, a bit of fun between Mike and I. If it’s heavy winds, I think it will favour Mike on ICAP Leopard, and if it’s lighter winds I think it will favour us on Alfa Romeo.”

The bet has obviously made Ellen MacArthur a happy lady. She remarked: “This bet is a wonderful gesture. I would like to thank both Mike and Neville for their generous offer and I wish each of them good luck and fair winds for what is set to be a fantastic race.”

ICAP Leopard will race with a star-studded crew skippered by Slade. Volvo Ocean Race veteran Jules Salter will sail onboard as tactician and navigator. Gordon Maguire, who has sailed four Whitbread/Volvo Ocean Races, will be a key member of the afterguard, providing support to both Mike and Jules tactically. Also racing will be fellow Volvo Ocean Race sailors Jason Carrington and Justin Slattery, as well as Alinghi’s America’s Cup winning bowman Jan Dekker and Team Shosholoza’s Paul Standbridge.

Alfa Romeo, Neville Crichton’s current 100ft super maxi, was built in 2005 at the same yard in Australia as ICAP Leopard – McConaghy Boats. The yacht was the second boat across the line in the 2005 Rolex Sydney to Hobart, and took line honours in the 2006 Rolex Middle Sea Race. This year the boat has won the Girgalia Rolex Cup and taken line honours at the Hublot Palmavela in Palma de Mallorca.