August 15th 2013. By Louay Habib.

ICAP Leopard: Luxury Raceboat

ICAP Leopard is much more than a raceboat, and below decks she's more luxurious than you might think.

Mike Slade and his crew on ICAP Leopard are regular sights on the offshore racing scene, most recently winning the prestigious King Edward VII Cup in the RORC St Malo Race. But this is a carbon raceboat with a twist;  below decks there are plenty of creature comforts…


Designed by notable naval architect Bruce Farr, the 100 ft maxi ICAP Leopard has unbelievable power and pace, capable of a speed approaching 40 knots. When the big cat is let off the leash, the feeling of speed will satisfy any adrenalin junkie, but it’s a smooth ride; fast but beautifully balanced. Photo Tim Wright.


ICAP Loepard has a crew of 20 - photo Richard Langdon

ICAP Leopard has a crew of 20 experienced big boat sailors. Many are veterans of the Volvo Ocean Race and the hand picked crop of youngsters on board are the stars of the future. However, ICAP Leopard has been carefully designed to accommodate up to eight charter guests, even while racing offshore. Photo Richard Langdon/Ocean Images.


ICAP Leopard cockpit layout

With all winches powered by hydraulics, the cockpit has plenty of room, with runner, headsail and main sheet winches all operated by push button controls. Mast, boom and keel controls are all operated from the wheel. With a compression load of over 90 tons, maintenance and supervision are paramount.


Below decks om ICAP Leopard

ICAP Leopard underwent a major refit in 2012, adapting the space below decks into a spacious saloon with a galley fit for a penthouse. There are three luxurious, en suite double guest cabins and two single guest cabins. Crew quarters are situated aft in the navigation area with sea bunks and a large head/shower cubicle.


ICAP Leopard is luxurious below decks

“Mike Slade has always wanted to cruise Leopard with his friends and family and he loves to live on board. Besides setting numerous world records and racing at grand prix regattas, Leopard is also in high demand for corporate charter and the full interior provides superb facilities for guests,” explains Chris Sherlock, the yacht’s skipper.


ICAP Leopard canting keel

ICAP Leopard’s 45 metre carbon fibre rig is one of the largest race boat masts ever built and can put aloft over 1,600sqm of sail area. To counterbalance this force the keel cants 40 degrees from side to side, simulating the weight of 200 crew members on the rail. Twin carbon fibre dagger boards prevent sideways motion when the keel is raised.


ICA{P Leopard is a powerful boat. Photo Daniel Forster/Rolex.

With a carbon fibre hull, enormous power from its sail area and spectacular right monument, ICAP Leopard is able to create its own apparent wind and sail faster than the true wind. Photo Daniel Forster/Rolex.


Mike Slade with trophy won by ICAP Leopard.

ICAP Leopard Mike Slade celebrates another win – his boat has proved very successful on the race course.


ICAP Leopard is one of the most famous racing yachts in the history of the sport, winning countless prestigious trophies and breaking numerous world records. In August 2013, ICAP Leopard will attempt to take Line Honours in the Rolex Fastnet Race for the third time,  a feat that has not been achieved for over 80 years. For more details see Leopard 3. You can also witness the yacht in action during its most recent victory; watch ICAP Leopard on Video During the St Malo Race or see ICAP Leopard: Photo Gallery.

Louay Habib

Louay Habib is a freelance journalist and broadcaster based in the UK who writes for some of the most prestigious magazines and clubs all over the world, including the Royal Ocean Racing Club and the Volvo Ocean Race.