ICAP Leopard, the 100ft super-maxi racing yacht owned by Helical Bar PLC Chief Executive Mike Slade, will once again take centre stage this weekend as she competes in the prestigious 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 world-famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Race in December. No yacht has ever taken line honours in all three races in the same calendar year, but Slade and his crew have set their sights on becoming the first.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race is an annual “offshore classic” that will see a world-class fleet of 80 yachts take on a demanding 606-mile Mediterranean course, famous for its capricious winds and dangerous 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.”
As usual, the crew of ICAP Leopard will feature several “rock 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 British ace Rob Greenhalgh (Puma) in a bid to secure victory in what is guaranteed to be a close tactical battle.
Jason Carrington, trimmer and crew co-ordinator, commented: “Like the Rolex Fastnet, this will be a race in which we cannot afford to ease off if we are to achieve our objective of being first boat home. The light and tactical nature of the course will mean that we are sure to come under pressure from our lighter rivals Beau Geste and Ran II. We are confident that we have the capability to win but it will require constant focus to keep the boat moving and ensure we head to Sydney with our record intact.”