Kolius, Fry to compete for top honors Butterworth, Pace meet in consolation

America's Cup veteran John Kolius and the Nippon America's Cup Challenge's Robert Fry emerged as semifinal winners after a fast and furious day of sailing in brisk winds on the Patapsco River yesterday, and the two will face off shortly after 11 a.m. today in the final round of the 1992 Cadillac Columbus Cup regatta series.

New Zealand's Brad Butterworth and France's Bertrand Pace, meanwhile, will meet in a petit final consolation round.


Yesterday morning, the 14-flight double round-robin qualifying series came to an end, leaving Kolius and Pace, who had already been assured of slots in the semifinal round by Thursday evening, in first and second places, respectively. Fry was in third and Butterworth in fourth, after each won his respective match in the morning flight.

In the first semifinal match, Butterworth had to restart after crossing the line early, giving Kolius an early and substantial lead. But by the final windward mark of the six-legged course, Butterworth was even with Kolius and went on to pass him on the final downwind leg to the finish, only to lose to Kolius when he had to do a penalty turn before finishing.


In the other pairing, Fry obtained an early lead and stretched it out over the course to win by a comfortable margin over Pace.

A premature start for Kolius in the second flight of the semifinal gave an early lead to Butterworth,which closed as the race went on in winds gusting up into the 20-knot range. Butterworth won the match despite problems with a nearly disastrous broach during a heavy-air jibing duel to the finish.

In their second pairing, Fry passed Pace on the first run, but the competition stayed very close as they, too, went through an action-packed jibing duel. Pace was narrowly ahead as the pair approached the finish line, but was assured of winning when Fry had to make a penalty turn.

With scores even at the end of the second match, and winds increased into the low 20s -- enough that the Race Committee mandated using reefed mains -- racing was extremely aggressive between Butterworth and Kolius through the match, with the lead changing several times before Kolius eked out victory as Butterworth did a penalty turn near the finish line.

In the other pairing, Fry had a narrow lead at the top mark, but Pace was able to pass him downwind before Fry worked inside at the leeward mark and regained the lead while drawing a penalty flag. Competition continued furiously until Pace's spinnaker blew out on the second run, while Fry did the penalty turn assessed him for the earlier mark rounding. But Pace had to continue the race without a chute while Fry walked away from him down the final leg under spinnaker power.

Like the semifinal round, the final and petit final rounds are best-of-three series.

The winner of the final round will earn the Columbus Cup, while the loser will be scored second overall.

Similarly, the petit final round will determine third and fourth places overall.