Will Welles’ Cougar Crowned J/24 Pape Chevrolet North American Champion

Will Welles’ Cougar survived a black flag penalty in Sunday’s opening race to become the 2015 J/24 Pape Chevrolet North American Champion. Heading into the final day of competition at Portland Yacht Club in Maine, Welles held an 11-point advantage, but a BFD in race 8 made for an exciting end to the nine-race series. Cougar nabbed a fourth in the final contest to end with 33 points, five ahead of Travis Odenbach’s Honey Badger. Odenbach kept moving up throughout the four-day event, but settled for second place with 38 points. John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen took the bronze position with 47 points. Based out of Newport, RI, 2014 J/24 World Champion Welles has spent some time sailing in and around Maine, but noted that the conditions this week were not typical. “It was pretty tricky, but having a solid team is the key,” said Welles, whose crew was Chris Morgan, Jeff Linton, Erik Rexford and Monica Morgan. He thanked the local J/24 Fleet 43 and their volunteer base for taking good care of the competitors. Both Welles and Odenbach just returned to the USA from the J/24 World Championship in Germany the weekend prior to this event, where Welles crewed on the second-place team, and Odenbach helmed his crew to third.
The top five:
1) Will Welles, Cougar, 10, 1, 9, 1, 4, 3, 1, (50.0 BFD), 4 (33 points)
2) Travis Odenbach, Honey Badger, (28), 6, 3, 6, 3, 1, 12, 2, 5 (38 points)
3) John Mollicone, Helly Hansen, (18), 12, 1, 5, 1, 16, 2, 4, 6 (47 points)
4) Tony Parker, Bangor Packet, 5, 2, 7, 7, 2, 12, (14), 5, 11 (51 points)
5) Christopher Stone, Velocidad, 1, 11, 11, 2, 10, 5, 4, 8, (14) (52 points)
In Sunday’s two races, Ed Rowe’s Flying Chicken and Evan Petley-Jones’ Lifted were the race winners in winds of 8-10 knots. Competitors from Argentina, Canada, Mexico and the USA competed in the 49-boat fleet. Complete results may be found at http://www.2015j24nas.org/, and photos are available on the J/24 Class Facebook page.

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