Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

ICAP Leopard set to tackle light winds in Rolex Fastnet Race

7th August 2009
ICAP Leopard set to tackle light winds in Rolex Fastnet Race
This Sunday ICAP Leopard, the 100ft super-maxi racing yacht owned by Helical Bar PLC chief executive Mike Slade, will set sail in the prestigious Rolex Fastnet race. This biennial race is famous for fierce conditions, however forecasters are predicting a sea breeze start, followed by a light and shifty first night. This year’s race takes on a special poignancy as the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Fastnet Race, when 15 sailors lost their lives.

On Sunday 9th August 2009 at 14:00 BST ICAP Leopard, the 100ft super-maxi racing yacht owned by Helical Bar PLC chief executive Mike Slade, will set sail in the prestigious Rolex Fastnet race. This biennial race is famous for fierce conditions, however forecasters are predicting a sea breeze start, followed by a light and shifty first night. This year’s race takes on a special poignancy as the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Fastnet Race, when 15 sailors lost their lives.

During the last Fastnet Race, ICAP Leopard revelled in storm-lashed conditions to set a monohull course record of 1 day 20 hours 18 minutes 53 seconds, beating the previous record by nine hours. Since then, the boat has undergone a full-scale optimisation programme, which has increased performance. Having set new records in both the RORC Caribbean 600 and South Atlantic Race, as well as taking monohull line honours in the JP Morgan Round the Island race this year, ICAP Leopard will have to work hard to stay ahead of her lighter competitors.

ICAP Leopard navigator Hugh Agnew was one of the sailors that battled gale-swept seas thirty years ago. This year he is set for a challenge of a completely different kind, as light winds and capricious shifts will place a premium on offshore racing tactics. ICAP Leopard owner Mike Slade commented:

“The Rolex Fastnet Race is the jewel in the UK’s yacht racing crown and we are delighted to be back. We will be pushed hard by the likes of Beau Geste (who narrowly missed out on ICAP Leopard’s Round The Island Record this week), Ran II and Luna Rossa who will revel in the lighter conditions and, although we have done much to boost our light-airs performance, we cannot afford to make any mistakes. To break the record and take line honours in 2007 was a fantastic achievement, but this year will be an entirely different race. If there is a park up in the Irish Sea, at least we’ll be able to watch the Test Match!”

Onboard ICAP Leopard for this year’s Fastnet will a star-studded line up. Volvo Ocean Race bowman and Irish sailing superstar Justin Slattery, of ABN Amro and Green Dragon fame, makes a welcome return to the big cat alongside fellow Volvo and America’s Cup sailors Guy Salter, Brad Jackson (Ericsson 4) and Ray Davies (Emirates Team New Zealand). Rounding out the line-up will be several of the ICAP Leopard regulars including boat captain Chris Sherlock and Paul Standbridge, the grizzled English Whitbread veteran who acts as crew coordinator. Standbridge commented:

“The anniversary of the 1979 race will serve as a reminder to us all that offshore racing is a dangerous activity. However, this year will be quite a different race, with light to medium conditions forecast. We are going to have to work hard for every knot of boatspeed as we’re up against some of the best in the world. Nevertheless, ICAP Leopard has already crossed the Atlantic twice this year and we all have supreme confidence in the boat and each other. We are relaxed, well-prepared and raring to go!”

ICAP Leopard’s goal this summer is to become the first British boat ever to take line honours in the three major Rolex sponsored events: the Rolex Fastnet Race, the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race.

Published in Racing
Afloat.ie Team

About The Author

Afloat.ie Team

Email The Author

Afloat.ie is Ireland's dedicated marine journalism team.

Have you got a story for our reporters? Email us here.

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating