Russell Peters' overgrown dinghy, the Ultra 30 'Reloaded Red Square', will be taking on Mike Slade's 92 ft super-sloop 'Skandia Leopard' in this year's Hoya Round the Island

Russell Peters’ overgrown dinghy, the Ultra 30 ‘Reloaded Red Square’, will be taking on Mike Slade’s 92 ft super-sloop ‘Skandia Leopard’ in this year’s Hoya Round the Island Race on Saturday 16th June 2001.

This year will be only the third to feature Ultra 30s, tiny monohulls that are unique in this race because they have no ‘keel’ to prevent them from capsizing. The nine crew members use trapeze wires and skill and agility to keep the boat upright.

This year Russell Peters’ ‘Reloaded Red Square’ will share the start line with Mike Slade’s high-tech Reichel Pugh ‘Skandia Leopard’, over three times the size of his Ultra 30. Both teams aim to break race records in what promises to be a real ‘David and Goliath’ type fight to the finish line.

Peters came first in his class last year, with the other Ultras finishing within minutes. Though he holds just one trophy, as opposed to Slade’s two – he has valuable insider’s knowledge of this race favourite having previously crewed for Slade on board ‘Skandia Leopard’. Slade has an enviable record in the race, having set new race records twice; in 1991 on board ‘Ocean Leopard’ and in 1996 on board ‘HOYA Longobarda’. His 1996 record for fastest monohull still stands at 5 hours, 12 minutes and 3 seconds; this is the time both skippers aim to beat.

Red Square’s Marketing Director, Bob Rishworth, said “We are delighted to be able to support Russell’s team; the fit with Red Square is perfect. Even the biggest and, some would say, fastest yacht in the fleet see ‘Reloaded Red Square’ as serious competition. Red Square is the drink of choice for celebrating after a successful day on the water.” Mr Rishworth and his team will be supporting ‘Reloaded Red Square’ on board the company’s Sadler 34, ‘Memphis Mist’, also competing.

Skipper Russell Peters said, “It’s a very tough race and to get this boat around the course is a real challenge. It will be exciting to see if we can beat some of the great names and big expensive mega-yachts that will be competing. If the conditions are right, I think we have a very good chance of being the first monohull around and obviously we will have the record in our sights. The fact that Red Square are helping us to achieve our aspirations is an added bonus, and can only add to our competitive spirit.”

Weather conditions will dictate who takes the advantage on race day. Ultra 30s are extremely lightweight racing yachts and are well known for performing at their peak in winds of 10 to 20 knots. Sailing downwind, they are faster than maxi-yachts. ‘Skandia Leopard’ will perform best in winds of 15-20 knots. If weather patterns are similar to those in years past, spectators could be in for a roller coaster ride with the two yachts overtaking each other as wind and sailing conditions change throughout the day.

This year’s race begins at 0800hrs, with staggered starts throughout the morning until 1000hrs. ‘Reloaded Red Square’ will start the race at 0800, with ‘Skandia Leopard’ taking an 0810 start. Also taking part in this year’s race are four America’s Cup Class yachts including ‘GBR Challenge’ and ‘HOYA High Voltage’ skippered by Eddie Warden Owen, Josh Hall’s Open 60 ‘Gartmore’, the Whitbread 60 ‘Sunergy’ as well as the beautifully restored classic J-Class yacht ‘Velsheda’.