ICAP Leopard departs New York to begin transatlantic speed record attempt 27/5/08

At 15:00 ECT yesterday ICAP Leopard, the Farr designed 100ft supermaxi owned by Mike Slade, departed North Cove Marina, New York, to begin her transatlantic speed record attempt from Ambrose Light. ICAP Leopard will be looking to break the record currently held by the 246ft luxury yacht Phocea. Having smashed the Rolex Fastnet Race record by eight hours in August last year, ICAP Leopard has already proven herself to be one of the world’s fastest monohulls.

Sailing with a crew of 12, ICAP Leopard could shave several hours off the current 2,925 nautical mile World Speed Sailing Records Council (WSSRC) monohull record for yachts with power-assisted winches. The record of eight days, three hours and 29 minutes was set by Phocea in July 1988. While Slade is confident that ICAP Leopard can break the record, the crew will be hoping that the weather window which they have chosen will provide them with consistent wind until the finish. The first three days are set to be fast, with boatspeed in excess of 25 knots expected.

The crew for this record attempt includes some the world’s top offshore sailors. Long-standing boat captain Chris Sherlock will be joined by a whole host of ICAP Leopard regulars, including America’s Cup sailor Paul Standbridge, and between them they have an impressive history in world-class sailing. Many of the crew were onboard ICAP Leopard when she broke the Rolex Fastnet Record last year and they know how to get the best performance out of her.

Mike Slade, Chief Executive of London based property company Helical Bar plc commented: “The transatlantic record is one of the ‘holy grails’ of yachting and something that all offshore sailors dream of holding. As always it has been difficult finding a suitable weather window in which to begin the record attempt. However we will give it our best shot and with the right conditions we are confident we could set a new 24 hour speed sailing record as well as the transatlantic record.”

Upon ICAP Leopard’s arrival in the UK, Slade plans to race the superyacht on the British circuit, competing in the Round Ireland Race and the JP Morgan Round the Island Race, where the maxi yacht made her debut last year. She will then compete in several European events over the summer.