Sailing: Peponnet cruises to victory


France's Thierry Peponnet squashed the unexpected challenge of Britain's Eddie Warden Owen yesterday to claim the prize that had looked likely to be his all week - the Lymington Cup, writes Stuart Alexander.

After an encouraging performance Owen should now qualify for the Omega Match Racing World Championship in Perth in September. Unfortunately his best form came early on as he put paid to the other French semi-finalist Marc Bouet. In two straight races he wiped out Bouet, revelling in the 20-knot southwesterly wind.

Peponnet, the leader throughout the qualifying double round robin, took three races to dispose of Denmark's Jesper Bank. He won the first and lost the second but then led in the decider when Bank became tangled with the bottom turning mark. Bank recovered to win the sudden death play-offs for third place against Bouet, winner of the Lymington Cup in both 1990 and 1991.

Peponnet, meanwhile, made easy work of his first race against Warden Owen, whose early shine seemed to have faded. Peponnet was helped by being on the inside of some adverse tide to establish a 35-second lead at the first mark, only to hit the buoy and have to do a penalty turn. He still had the legs to carry him home and then was able to live just above Warden Owen in a long drag race out to the turn for the first mark in the second encounter.

Warden Owen cut the 25-second lead first time round the weather mark to 13 by the second time round but Peponnet sailed home to take the cup.