Mini Transat race favourite Yves Le Blevec extends lead on second leg of race 15/10/07

Yves Le Blevec(pictured left)has now pulled out an 80-mile lead over second-placed Adrien Hardy on the second leg of the Transat 6,50 Charante-Maritime/Bahia (Mini Transat).

Le Blevec sailing a brand-new Lombard design Prototype Open 6,50 was only granted permission by the race committee to compete in this event just a few days before the start but he’s now starting to show his true colours as he makes his way through the Intertropical Convergence Zone (Doldrums) from one Trade Wind system to the other. He’s currently flying downwind in 12-18kts of breeze on the direct route towards Bahia, Brazil clocking over 2kts more boat speed than his closest rival, and should see an increase in wind over the next 24 hours – up to about 25kts – which could further increase the gap.

Australian competitor Nick Brennan lost his third place on Saturday night but is still in a highly respectable sixth position behind David Sineau in third, Ronan Deshayes in fourth, and super-fast Kristian Hajnsek on Adria Mobil in fifth. Hajnsek finished 18th on the first leg from La Rochelle to Madeira and has managed to fight his way from 45 place this time last week, to fifth place – 95 miles off the leader.

Elsewhere in the fleet Sam Manuard, who had to head to Cape Verde Islands to carry out rig repairs, says he’ll be back racing again as soon as possible.

Manuard is one of seven Mini Transat competitors currently moored up in Mindelo carrying out repairs including another race favourite Isabelle Joschke. Joschke sailing her brand-new PrototypeDegremont-synergiewas forced to stop just three days into the second leg while lying in third position with a damaged spinnaker sprit/jockey pole which meant she was unable to fly a spinnaker. However, now fully repaired she rejoined the race again last night at 2200 and is already starting to make significant gains up the fleet.