Leopard transatlantic record in the balance


Mike Slade's supermaxi is ahead of her west to east transatlantic record, but a ridge lies ahead
This morning finds Mike Slade's supermaxi ICAP Leopard mid-Atlantic, 226 miles ahead of her previous time for the west to east transatlantic record for monohulls with powered winches, with just over 1000 miles to go before she reaches the Lizard. The crew are focussing on two times - breaking their own record for vessels with powered winches that they set in 2008. To achieve this they have to pass the Lizard before 14:06:27 GMT this Sunday. However the crew are really hoping to break the non-powered record - currently faster than the powered one - held by Robert Miller's Mari Cha IV with a time of 6 days 17 hours 52 minutes. To better this Leopard would have to be at the finish line by 12:38:17 GMT on Saturday (5 June). Prior to Leopard's departure skipper Chris Sherlock thought that Leopard could do the passage in six days given the right conditions - her ideal wind strength and direction is 25-35 knots from about 120deg TWA. ICAP Leopard is a different beast from when Mike Slade and his crew attempted the record in 2008. To get the maxi LOA for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race she was extended by 0.5m and significantly the boat is two tonnes ligher and now features twin rudders. The crew of 17, including Slade and led by Erle Williams, features the normal array of Volvo stardom such as Justin Slattery, Richard Mason, Jason Carrington, Guy Salter, Mark Thomas etc, with Hugh Agnew navigator and Roger Badham doing the met ashore. On this occasion the crew line-up lacks the wizen experience of Paul Standbridge who has jumped ship to campaign the 100ft Oman Sail trimaran. The latest sched has the 100ft supermaxi some 270 miles south of the great circle to the Lizard, but this has been necessary in

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