this MT will be hard. Main reason there are many top sailors who spend ages in the Classe Mini.

So lets go through the list and I will let my thoughts go, keep in mind I am oftenwrong....

The sailors going for third time and placed well in the past.

Yves Le Blevec, Interem Actual.

after a 5th in 01 and a non finish but in the top 3 sailing in 05 when his mast broke, he is back in a new Lombard. He must be in for a nice revenge. And he did excellent in this yrs races (but a few favorites did not compete and played low).
The mini looks good, a modern chined, lightly build, not too complex.

Alex Pella, Open Sea

After a 3rd and 2d in03 and 05 the only logical conclusion can be, he wins this one. But logic is nothing on a mini. He ripped a spi in 05, and you could say that was the only thing that stopped him from winning. And others breaking masts :).
His Mini, a Lombard too, he sailed it in 05 too, so he knows it inside out.
Its a really simple boat, nothing complex.

Sam Manuard, Sitting Bull, no big sponsor I think.

After building designing his Tiptop and finishing 4th in 01, he did break his mast in03 while in command of the race.
His mini, its own design, a look a like of the Lombard.
Its simple again, while other Manuards designs in this race spot wingmasts, rotating masts etc, his own one is very simple...

If the Mini adagio is correct, one of those will win.
But this mini stuff is never normal. There are some two timers that have the same possibility.

Like Isa Joschke, Degremont Synergie,
 in a new Finot/Conq, not to simple as it has a canting rotatingmast, but the cant is actually pretty mild. The new Finot/Conq is different as it has no chine at all. So Finot is not going for the chine fashion... at least not on his minis. Isa did win as much as Yves Le Blevec, or at least they did both very well this yr.
So there is pressure for Isa at the moment. It could be the first woman to win. As anything new and sailing attracts attention to journalists she must have been overwhelmed. The delay could be the best for her..
Her last MT was ina slow design, and still she finished 14th, she is known for her hard work on the boat. All a result from having a slower boat in the past...

The Slovenia gang,
Kristian Hajnsek and Andraz Mihelin. Team Adria Mobil.

having setup a very good team, and having spend now 5 yrs in the mini, they are up there, very relaxed, professional and they are enjoying this whole circus. In the Acores race Andraz Mihelin was placed very well. And Kristian did well in an other race. So theyare up there, in their Manuards, they looked the best of all fleet in terms of cleanliness and preparation. They even had rudder condoms... how sweet :) THey were 15 abd 19 in their first MT, together with some other Manuards in experienced hands it shows, you need years to get a Manuard up to speed.

Then Adrian Hardy, Brossard, 5th in 05.
this guy rocks as all the above mentioned, winning the Acores race, having a well prepped boat, having spend a lot of money, being part ofteam Brossard (a Orma 60 tri, a figaro2, a Mini, and a Tornado in one team) must give you access to a lot of knowledge, and he shows it. His Magnen design already won the MT twice in the hands of Magnen (who is now a DJ in an Argentinean brothel if my information is correct). Its a tricked out boat like Isa has, but Adrian did it yrs ago, so ahead in knowledge. A rotating canting mast. But special is his keel, that if you cant it, it slide out a bit.
So when flat its 2 meters deep par the rule, when heeled its actually longer...

All minis above have canting keels and lifitng rudders...
Oh, and from all above (except Manuard) i think it it their last Minitransat, an extra motivation...

Ok, i think the winner will come from the list above, but as it it a minitransat you will never know.

So now the underdogs:
Peter Lauyressen on his excellent Finot.
He is too new, he spend only 4yrs in the mini scene, twoin a serie. Though he is really a force to reckon with.

Aloys Claquin, never seem to push through till the finish.
Andrea Caracci, though a very credible 10th in 05, he does not seem to me to have gained more.
Clay Burkhalter, though a very suprising list of results in this season, his experience is to minor to achieve a major win.
Xavier HAize, he could be a surprise, can not really say why, but had good tactics in the last MT till he rounded a mark wrong...

Ok, now the series.

Hugely favorite is Lobato, he just won to much. Being experienced dinghy sailor and having a good budget and lots of training hours he is the man to beat.

But wait, more guys are talented or doing well this yrs.
Like Gerard Marin, he makes it look so easy. 

Or Koen Van Esch, as coach of many sail teams by Heiner in Holland, so lots of contacts to help him.

Matthieu Sannie, he was 6th last time, I bet he will do very good. At least heknows the way :)

and from a source to be hidden;
 Thomas Bonnier, who did the Mini 12 years ago ;
 Vincent Barnaud, a former windsurfer,
and Stephane Le Diraison, all guys from the AOS gang, coached by Tanguy Leglatin.

Dubucq, Girolet, Quelen, Guillonneau can do very well offshore.

So this is it...
Cheerio LeoV