ICAP Leopard’s captain, Chris Sherlock, has announced that their bowsprit broke at 20.20GMT on Monday, just over a day after leaving Newport, Rhode Island. No one was hurt in the incident and both the sail and the sprit were recovered safely. Since then Sherlock has been working with the crew and the Farr office, ICAP Leopard’s designers, to work out ways to keep racing safely.
The damage happened in flat water after passing the George’s Bank with a fractional sail flying off the sprit.
Fortunately the way the boat is built has meant that there is no threat to the integrity of the hull nor to the strength of the bow, so that sails can still be flown from the stem. This has meant that Leopard’s performance on the long beam reach of the first three days from Newport has not been much compromised except that the yacht has had to sail slightly higher than optimum, which is why it is to the south side of its main competition. However, as the high pressure system is approached, there are very few options for sailing downwind without the sprit.
Chris Sherlock, the captain of ICAP Leopard said earlier: “Obviously we are very disappointed but happy that nobody was hurt and we are now concentrating on finishing as well as possible. We have a team on stand-by for our arrival in Southampton to make an effective repair in time for our corporate charter commitments and the start of the Fastnet Race. We are unable at this stage to establish the cause of failure.”
Mike Slade, Leopard’s owner who is not on board for this race, is as ever determined that Leopard will be back racing as soon as possible and Clarke Murphy, who is the charterer and skipper for the Transatlantic race, is still loving the sleigh ride across the Atlantic.