Conditions were not at all as had been expected when the fresh N-NW winds did not materialise for the start.
Conditions could not have been more mixed on the water: brilliant sunshine, sudden squalls with rain showers and a light breeze boxing the compass.
The 50 coloured spinnakers set against the dramatic coastline of the south coast could not have made for a more visually scenic start.
Michel Desjoyeaux on Foncia rounded the Cork Buoy, renamed the Radio France Mark for the race, in the lead and headed due south to the Fastnet Rock, the final mark before crossing the Celtic Sea.
Gildas Mahé, Le Comptoir Immobilier, Bertrand de Broc, Les Mousquetaires and Gildas Morvan, Cercle Vert, followed Foncia at the mark for the conclusion of the eight-mile inshore course.
The boats starting on the committee boat end of the line, closer to shore, encountered slightly more pressure, giving them an advantage to make some early gains.
Among these were the three top leaders followed by Espoir Credit Agricole skippered by Christopher Pratt and Gerald Veniard’s Scutum who, having opted for the pin end of the line, lost out on that move.
The boats are now accompanied on the journey by the French naval vessel Flamant and expect to reach Brest within two days of leaving Crosshaven.