ICAP Leopard throws in the towel

As high pressure stands between Mike Slade's supermaxi and the Lizard

Sunday June 6th 2010, Author: Alex Mills, Location: none selected

Mike Slade's ICAP Leopard has ended her transatlantic record attempt. After a fantastic start, ICAP Leopard found herself in a windless high pressure at 02:00 UTC on Saturday, still 420 nm from the finish. With the record looking less and less achievable, Skipper and Boat Captain Chris Sherlock took the decision to abandon the attempt on the west to east transatlantic record.

Having started on Saturday 29 May in New York, ICAP Leopard has had to contend with variable conditions from the start. The crew worked hard in the first few hours to position themselves correctly to pick up a weather front with enough breeze to get them up to record speed. Having achieved this, the crew were then able to keep the boat going fast through a cold and wet few days mid-Atlantic. With a record attempt of this nature the weather has to be consistently good for the entire voyage, which is hard to predict 9 or 10 days in advance. On this occasion a high pressure system on the approach to the UK blocked ICAP Leopard’s path and ended any hope of breaking the record.

ICAP Leopard Owner, Mike Slade, commented: ”We have a great yacht which has now proven itself over the last three years to be physically fast enough and powerful enough to easily churn out 500+ miles day after day and could have broken this record. However, on this occasion it materialised that the weather was not on our side and after a fantastic run at the start, the crew were forced to gybe all the way home during the latter part of the race. It just goes to prove how difficult this record is to beat and what a great boat Mari Cha IV is.”

Chris Sherlock added: “The crew did a phenomenal job to put us in such a great position during the first five days of the attempt, it is just a real shame that the forecast didn’t work out for us on this occasion. When we started we always knew that there may be a ridge of high pressure blocking our route to the finish, but we hoped that we would be able to navigate our way through without slowing too much. It is really disappointing that our record attempt was thwarted by the wind gods but no doubt we’ll be back to take on the mighty Atlantic again next year.”

ICAP Leopard will now spend the summer in UK waters competing in the JP Morgan Round the Island Race on 19 June followed by a large number of corporate charters and sponsor commitments. Her next record breaking adventure will see Slade and his crew attempt to take on the Sevenstar Round Great Britain & Ireland Race starting on 23 August this year. Following this ICAP Leopard will head to the warmer waters of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean for further racing on the International circuit.

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