French favourite Yves Le Blevec takes control of second leg of Transat 6,50 Charante-Maritime/Bahia 8/10/07

Yves Le Blevec on Actual is leading the second leg of the Transat 6,50 Charante-Maritime/Bahia (Mini Transat) after nearly 48 hours at sea.

The start from Funchal Madeira at midday on Saturday was a fairly light affair (after one general recall) with Andrea Caracci taking the initial race lead in the 3,100 miles race to Salvador de Bahia, Brazil. Le Blevec however, who was always there and about took the lead yesterday and is now starting to pull ahead. However, it’s still early days and the leaders are now heading down the coast towards the Canary Islands where they’ll be faced with their tactical dilemma of either weaving their way through the islands or passing outside. Isabelle Joschke who won the first leg is currently lying fourth – 14 miles astern of the leader.

One competitor – Swiss Jacques Valente sailing a Series boat Telekurs Twing – has had to pull out of the event because of health problems but other than that the rest of the fleet (88 in total) made it to the start line on Saturday. One of the Australian competitors Tom Braidwood has to head back to Funchal with pilot issues but with spares arriving today, Braidwood hopes to set off again tonight which will leave him about 240miles behind the front runners.

But the worst incident happened on the startline yesterday. Andra? Mihelin of team Adria Mobil (who was hit by a press boat on the first leg start) was involved with a collision with fellow competitor David Le Carrou. Unfortunately for Mihelin his boat was holed and had to return to Funchal for repairs.

The boat had a 25 cm hole on the junction of the hull and the deck so had to be towed back to the marina where repairs began immediately. A few hours of laminating later Mihelin was back on the racecourse and is now lying a creditable 58th.

Spanish competitor Alex Pella who finished second in the last edition discovered a crack at the foot of his mast just after the start. Fortunately he’s managed to effect repairs by putting on an aluminium sleeve and is also now racing again.

Elsewhere in the fleet British sailor David Rawlinson is in sixth place while fellow British sailor Andrew Wood is in 25th. Austrailian competitor Nick Brennan on Rafiki also remains at the head of the fleet but in the last four hours has dropped from eighth to 11th leaving Sam Manuard who was ninth, in fifth place.

The fleet is expected to complete the final leg by 25 October.