Former Mount Desert Island High School sailor Will Welles (at helm) shown winning the 2014 J/24 National Championship. Welles won the 2019 North American championship regatta earlier this month. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Will Welles becomes J/24 North American Champ

ELLSWORTH — Time flies when you’re having fun, or even when you’re just thinking about it.

Though it’s hard to believe, 26 years have gone by since Will Welles was a star skipper for the Mount Desert Island High School sailing team, racing 420 dinghies against George Stevens Academy in Southwest Harbor or Castine.

Though time has flown by, Welles is still racing sailboats, if on a bigger stage, and still winning.

Last week, Welles took home the trophy at the 2019 J/24 North American Championship regatta held in Valle de Bravo, Mexico at the beginning of the month.

Unlike many championship regattas, this year’s North American’s weren’t sailed at sea, or even at sea level. Valle de Bravo is located on the shore of Lake Avándaro about 95 miles west of Mexico City at an altitude of some 6,000 feet.

With his victory in Mexico, Welles is now a two-time J/24 World Champion and a four-time J/24 North American Champion. Earlier this year, he was one of three sailors nominated for the 2018 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award.

Welles and his late father, Adm. Ted Welles, were instrumental in starting the sailing team at MDIHS and what is now the Community Sailing School in Southwest Harbor. The annual Welles Cup Regatta, raced for 19 years by MDIHS and George Stevens Academy and last sailed in 2015, honored the senior Welles.

After graduating from MDIHS in 1993, Welles went on to sail for the University of New Hampshire team. He now lives in Newport, R.I. with his wife and daughter, sails frequently and works for North Sails One Design.

Stephen Rappaport

Stephen Rappaport

Waterfront Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Rappaport has lived in Maine for nearly 30 years. A lifelong sailor, he spends as much time as possible messing about in boats. [email protected]

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