Isabelle Joschke retains Mini Transat lead as fleet approaches Cape Finesterre 20/9/07

Isabelle Joschke – one of the race favourites – continues to lead the the first leg of the 16th Transat 6.50 (Mini Transat) after 48 hours at sea.

Joschke who’s racingDegrémont-Synergy, a brand-new Finot design, is now seven miles ahead of Peter Laureyssens on the Ecover, while just 10 miles astern is Sam Manuard on the newest boat in the fleetSitting Bull- his own Manuard design.

But one to watch out for over the next 24 hours however, is Yves le Blevec on his proven prototypeActual. Le Blevec, who was still on the on the waiting list just three days before the official race start, but who was allowed to race when the organisers granted permission for the five remaining entries on the waiting list to take part, is pulling back up the fleet in the tricky conditions. On the approach to Cape Finesterre he is making 8kts of boat speed in the moderate north-easterly breeze while the other leading boats are struggling to top 5kts.

British sailor Wood Andrew onDomosofa.comis starting to lose out in the lighter airs and having been up to 25th position in the early hours this morning is now lying in 35th place. British team mate David Rawlinson has also lost out, and although is still over 10 miles ahead lying in 31st position, he too was up in 20th earlier today.

The first Series boat is currently in a creditable 13th position. Stephane le Diraison sailingCultisol – institut curiehas made significant gains from 31st on day one and now looks set to really challenge the Protos as they head down the Portuguese coast towards Funchal, Maderia – the first leg finish.