The 89-strong Mini Transat fleet left La Rochelle today for the start of the 1,100 first leg 18/9/07

After a two-day postponement, the 30th edition of the Transat 6,50 Charante-Bahia Maritime (Mini Transat) started from La Rochelle at 1230 today.

The 89 strong fleet comprising 43 Series yachts (one-designs) and 46 Protos (development) crossed the Fort Boyard startline in 15kts of northerly wind, and with the wind forecast to increase over the next couple of days, competitors will no doubt be looking forward to an exciting sleigh-ride south to towards Madeira on the 1,100-mile first leg.

It took the fleet just under 25 minutes to reach the turning mark off La Rochelle and leading the fleet at this point was the young (23 year old) sailor Adrien Hardy sailing Brossard. Thomas Ruyant – another young sailor, sailing Faber, rounded in second, with Xavier Haize (Fidelia Assistance) and Matthieu Cassanas (Ville de Balaruc les Bains) following in quick succession.

This is not the first time Hardy has been seen at the top of the Mini fleet; in 2005 this former French 420 sailor finished fifth overall with a fifth on the first leg to Lanzarote and then completed the race with a creditable 4th into Salavdor, Brazil on the second leg when he was just 21-years-old.