Mike Slade and the crew of his record-breaking supermaxi yacht,Icap Leopard, will tomorrow begin the Heineken Cape to Bahia Race from Cape Town in South Africa, one of the longest and toughest offshore races of its kind.

This will be the first race for Icap Leopard, following modifications to improve speed by 7.5.

Slade, the chief executive of Helical  Bar, is looking forward to setting a record pace. ‘We are all really looking forward to getting underway on Saturday. The crew has done a great job getting the boat up to scratch for the start.

‘Cape Town has been a fantastic place to be over the last few days and I cannot believe the amount support we have had from the public and the press. It is going to be a long and tough race, but I am really excited about competing in this prestigious offshore challenge.'

With regard to the weather conditions expected during the race, the yacht’s navigator, Rosco Monson, said: ‘It looks like a quick exit from Cape Town with a 25 knot southerly, however this will quickly drop to around 12 knots on day two or three.

‘The toughest part of the race for us, will be this period of light winds, so we will be actively seeking stronger winds wherever we can. The second half of the race looks more stable with 13-18 knots of trade winds, so it will be important for us to reach these trade winds as soon as possible.’

Slade’s crew includes Whitbread and Volvo Round the World Race sailors Jan Dekker, Gordon Maguire, Jason Carrington and Paul Standbridge, as well as members of America’s Cup syndicate Team Shosholoza, David Rae and Joey Heywood.