7:33 PM Mon 3 May 2010 GMT
ICAP Leopard, the 100ft super-maxi racing yacht owned by Helical Bar PLC chief executive Mike Slade, is this week berthed in New York's bustling financial district as she prepares to launch her assault upon the west-to-east monohull transatlantic sailing record in the coming weeks.
'McConaghy built Farr 100, ICAP Leopard'
Since her launch in 2007 ICAP Leopard has broken 12 major offshore racing records, including the fastest elapsed time ever set in the prestigious Rolex Fastnet Race. This voyage will see her tackle the well-trodden path between Ambrose Light, NY and the Lizard Point, which marks the entrance to the English Channel.
Her target for this attempt will primarily be the record for monohull yachts with power-assisted systems of seven days, 19 hours and 21 minutes that she set in June 2008. However, since setting this benchmark the yacht has undergone a series of modifications and the crew are confident that, given the right conditions, Mari Cha IV's outright monohull transatlantic speed record of 6 days 17 hours and 52 minutes will be achievable.
As with all major sailing record attempts, negotiating complex weather systems will play an integral role in ICAP Leopard's latest transatlantic foray. The man responsible for the successful handling of the meteorological situation onboard will be veteran navigator Hugh Agnew.
Chris Sherlock, ICAP Leopard's boat Captain commented: "We can't wait to get stuck into another attempt on the Atlantic record. Last time a tight weather window forced us into accepting less than ideal conditions for our record run but we have slightly more leeway this time. Our weather window will open on the 11th May and then we will have roughly three weeks to plan our departure. This should allow us to set ourselves up for the best possible weather pattern."
Owner Mike Slade commented: "This is something that I have been looking forward to ever since we crossed the finish line last time around. It has been brilliant to hold the record for yachts with power-assisted winches but we know we can go faster. The yacht and crew have been tempered over a two year period of hard racing and we are now sailing faster and harder than ever before. We will have a decent period of time in which to pick our weather window and the crew are all preparing to go on standby for what promises to be a thrilling sprint across the pond!"
ICAP Leopard will be carrying a GPS tracker that will allow spectators to follow her progress online at
Leopard follows in the footsteps of super-maxi yachts Ocean Leopard (1988-1999) and Leopard of London (2000-2006). Like her predecessors she is aimed towards top-level race sponsorship, day charters in the Solent and, longer term, charters in the warmer waters of the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.
Farr Yacht Design provided Leopard's basic naval architecture and construction engineering, whilst styling and interior was designed by Ken Freivokh. The boat was built by McConaghy Boats in Sydney, Australia, with Chris Sherlock acting as owner's representative.
by Alex Mills