Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary

Leopard 3 - a contender at the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta. Image: Paul Wyeth

Leopard 3 – a contender at the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary International Regatta. Image: Paul Wyeth

Mike Slade’s 100ft Leopard 3, one of the world’s most recognised yachts, will be on the Solent start line at the Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International Regatta, 25 – 31 July.

Leopard will be sailing amongst the other top guns including George David’s new Juan K designed all-carbon 88ft Rambler, which will be making her UK debut this summer.

“The Bicentenary gives us the challenge of top level racing in the Solent on our home patch,” said Mike Slade. “We would love to be on the podium!” Leopard 3 could, of course, have her work cut out for her – the likes of Rambler, and other cutting edge designs like 60ft day racer Spectre, being helmed by Sir Charles Dunstone, will be putting up stiff competition.

The inclusion of so many large yachts has meant that amendments have been made to the crew classification requirements in the IRC event. “We wanted our fellow clubs to bring their members along to help us mark this great occasion and initially set the crew classification limits with that in mind,” explained Jonathan Peel, Chairman of the Regatta Committee. “However, it has become apparent that our original limits on Group 3 sailors in some of the larger yachts were unrealistic, not least on safety grounds and, as a result we have made some changes.”

Competitors should refer to the Crew Classification guide on the event website.

The Royal Yacht Squadron’s 200 years have many distinguished stories to tell, but the classic yachts that are coming, some more than 100 years old, add plenty of their own, like the William Fife designed Mariquita built in 1911. The largest yacht in the fleet Eleonora, at 162ft long, is an exact replica of the famous schooner Westward, designed and built in 1910 by N.G. Herreshoff, designer of America’s Cup defenders, which turned back all six challenges from 1893 to 1920. She was the fastest schooner in the world in 1910 and in the following years.

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