Rested and recovered from smashing the course record in the 2,800 nautical mile IMA Transatlantic Race at the beginning of December, Mike Slade is ready to race ICAP Leopard again in the RORC Caribbean 600. The race, starting on the 18 February and expecting to last four or five days, is 605 nautical miles and the only offshore race of the Caribbean series.
ICAP Leopard set the inaugural record for the race in 2009 and Slade is relishing the challenge of winning back the title, commenting, “I really can’t imagine a better scenario than racing Leopard in the 600, it’s the ideal playground and Leopard’s natural habitat. For the Caribbean 600, our first aim will be to be the first boat back in Antigua but we will have one eye on the clock, I want to get that record back and if we get the right conditions, who knows, anything is possible and that is why we will be there.”
The course starting and finishing in Antigua goes around 11 Caribbean Islands including Nevis, St. Kitts, Saba and St. Barth. But Slade admits that it is the latter part of the race will be key and that, “Rounding Quadeloupe is going to be critical, very much risk versus reward”. Nevertheless, the 30m (98ft) yacht is well equipped to face the challenge with several high performance features including the ability to take aboard up to six tonnes of water in the transom area enabling the bow to lift in fast downward conditions. However, ICAP Leopard is not just a racer, in between breaking course records, the yacht has been based in Antigua entertaining guests in luxury, speeding through the Caribbean surf.