Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Leopard roars toward finish line

3rd June 2008

Mike Slade's 100-foot maxi ICAP Leopard is en route to set another record today as it makes its way to the Lizard and the finish line in a transatlantic bid.

The record, for superyachts with powered winches, stands at eight days, three hours and 29 minutes.

The monster canting keel sloop, the largest entry in this year's Round Ireland, has been reporting speeds up to 34 knots as it surfs downwind, and at last report was eight hours ahead of schedule for the record. It set the course record for the Fastnet Race last year, going on to take line honours in the race won on handicap by Irish 50-footer Kingspan Chieftain.

Skipper Mike Slade said on Sunday: "The game is on.

Since the last report we have had a good 24 hours with no sail changes. The crew are all well rested and there is more wind on the way, with a gradual increase in pressure forecast for the next 24/36 hours."

It hasn't all been plain sailing, however. The boat hit a large sunfish with one of its rudders, killing the fish which then wrapped itself around the rudder.

This meant stopping, downing sails (including a $100,000 spinnaker) and removing the carcass from the rudder. Dead sunfish are a drag.

Of note for those following this attempt is that the current record is held by a yacht almost 2.5 times the size of Leopard. And she was linked to another record. Phocea was bought with the proceeds of the sale of a record-breaking 112-carat diamond during a divorce settlement (according to Wikipedia).

For the purists, however, we must again point out that the outright Transatlantic record for a monohull is still held by Mari-Cha IV, which did the crossing in six days, 17 hours 52 minutes and 39 seconds, at an average speed of 18 knots. And stripping it down further, Franck Cammas lashed across the pond in just four days, three hours 57 minutes and 54 seconds in his trimaran Groupama 3. He averaged 26 knots.

Read the skipper's daily log here and check out the tracker, similar to that being used in the Round Ireland this year, here. Team

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