In the last 24 hours, he took command of the fleet. Charles Caudrelier Benac (Bostik Findley), second last year into Gijon, held on well in the closing stages despite being deprived of wind.
He went on to take his first leg victory in the Single-handed Figaro. In his wake came Erwan Tabarly (Thales-Armor Lux), Vincent Riou (PRB) and Kito de Pavant (Malice) inparticular, who recomfirms his position at the top of the general rankings. Below some fine words from the four winners in the early hours of a Spanish morning.
Charles Caudrelier Benac (Bostik Findley) : arrived on 21 August at 0334 and 35 seconds " I was really frightened at the end on the approach to the line. When I saw that the wind was dropping off, I thought things were going to turn pretty hellish and that Thales would catch the air. I imagined the worst, especially as the whole group would be becalmed once more. It was really stressful before crossing the line, even though Gijon was visibly a success for me, brought me good luck. This victory is very important to me, I wanted it: to win a leg was one of the objectives I was fixed on. I really think I'm capable of taking victory soon in the Single-handed as well as a leg victory. It's the best way in which to learn to win. We have had a very interesting round and after a great deal of stress, there is a lot of happiness. "
Erwan Tabarly (Thales) : 7 minutes and 15 seconds behind the leader
" I'm very pleased with second place. Of course, I would have preferred to win, but I think it was the operation was carried out well in general. The last two miles were very difficult. We had to fight right up until the end. To make the remaining 0.8 miles to cross the line took a good 20 minutes, half an hour. "
Vincent Riou (PRB) : 15 minutes and 50 seconds from the first place
" Since the start of the race, I have always sailed with a good group without ever following it through to the end. This finish in third position feels like a pay back for all the effort I've put in. It's a leg that started out very, very badly and finished very, very well. Throughout the course, we've given it our all, really worked hard. At Belle Ile, I went into 19th position and if someone had told me that I would finish 3rd, I'd have never believed them. The wind almost went full circle during the descent of the Bay of Biscay, and I took it the right way. I was enormously concentrated on the speed of the boat. I don't think I slept at all. "
Kito de Pavant (Malice) : 26 minutes and 58 seconds from the frontrunner
" Ooh, it feels good when it all stops. This whole affair started off being a bit manic when I was playing catch-up in the Sables d'Olonne. But things sorted themselves out and I was able to concentrate again straightaway and applied myself to the speed of the boat. The first night, we scored a fine coup with Vicariot. We wisely stayed in the middle. This round was certainly a very fine operation. The last leg is going to be very interesting, with everyone still in the running. We're seeing that the youngsters push hard and sail very well. The entry in the bay of Gijon really scared me and I had the frustration of staying there the whole night. I'm shattered. The first night, I really applied myself to getting up with the leaders and then, as there were very light winds in this leg, you just don't sleep. "
Generally a fine operation by Kito and Charles
A quick examination of the provisional general rankings reveals that Kito de Pavant has reinforced his position at the head of the chain and that he has widened the gap with his closest pursuer. Philippe Vicariot was hot on his heels at the start from the Sables d'Olonne, and he must now watch out for Charles Caudrelier Benac. The great victor of the day at Gijon has in fact propelled himself from 9th to 2th place, just 13 minutes and 7 seconds from the leader. Gilles Chiorri (32 01 from Météo Consult) holds on to his 3rd place. Though at 16 minutes and 1 second behind Kito de Pavant, he has nevertheless dropped down by 6 minutes and 35 seconds since the Sables d'Olonne.
Top five finishing places, leg 3:
1. Charles Caudrelier, Bostik Findley (arrived at 0334H 21/8/02)
2. Erwan Tabarly, Thales-Armor Lux
3. Vincent Riou, PRB Produits de Revêtement du Bâtiment
4. Christophe De Pavant, Malice
5. Gilles Chiorri, 32 01 de Météo Consult
Top ten overall places after 3 legs:
1. Christophe De Pavant, Malice 235h3'44" total elapsed time
2. Charles Caudrelier, Bostik Findley +13'07"
3. Gilles Chiorri, 32 01 de Météo Consult +16'01"
4. Vincent Riou, PRB Produits de Revêtement +32'01"
5. Erwan Tabarly, Thales-Armor Lux +33'34"
6. Philippe Vicariot, Thales, +37'05"
7. Jérémie Beyou, Delta Dore +37'48"
8. Antoine Koch, Saunier Duval +37'49"
9. Eric Drouglazet, David Olivier, +1h04'50"
10. Yann Elies, Groupe Générali Assurances + 1h12'54''