Getting to know John Welch: An interview
Where were you born? Amersham, Bucks, U.K. A fair while ago now!
Where was school, and what did you like best? Schooled in Hudson, Quebec, Canada, then Bishop’s University in Lennoxville P. Q. I have degrees in Business Administration and Psychology. Sports were Skiing, Curling and the Georgian Tavern. College is mostly a winter experience in Canada.
When did you learn to sail? My parents settled in Hudson next to the Yacht Club on the Ottawa River which set the stage. I started sailing when I was 7 in cadets, then to the firefly and Y-flyers, and we owned a catboat. Pop signed me up for golf lessons, but that did not work so well….eh?
What next? I spent 4 years with a newsprint company in Montreal in Export Sales travelling through Central and South America. Shared a ski house in the Laurentians where I was a ski instructor on Saturdays and we created a Luge Run for Sunday fun. We morphed into the Canadian National Luge team and competed in the Grenoble Winter Olympics and World’s in Sweden. We had “survival” results but it was end of my selling newsprint days!
I joined Roger Hewson in the Marketing department of his start-up company “Sabre Yachts” and later I joined Hood sail-makers in Marblehead as a “sail designer” . It was fun time and I was often competing aboard top ocean racers as sail trimmer, sail seller and helmsman. Then on to Ranger Yachts (Gary Mull designs) based in New Jersey as East Coast Sales Manager, then to Costa Mesa Ca, as National Sales Manager. I’ve also been at C & C Yachts in Portsmouth RI, as Eastern SM, then as Western SM, based in Niagara -on -the – Lake, Ontario.
I was Course Director for Sailing Symposiums (Steve Colgate’s program) owned by Yacht Racing Magazine, located in Great Exuma.
Executive Producer of NYYC’s official America’s Cup film in ‘82/’83 for Reeves Communications (owned by Marvin Green “Nirvana”) and Silvermine Films.
I joined my wife Nancy in syndicating TV Programming. Shows included International Downhill Skiing, The Exciting World of Speed and Beauty, a wrestling sitcom, Lorne Greene’s New Wilderness. Etc.
I then became a Yacht Broker for The Moorings in Ft. Lauderdale in 1999 and moved to Tortola in 2004 before joining Horizon in 2010. I thoroughly enjoy being a yacht broker. I discuss a prospective owners objectives and then source qualifying yachts for their consideration. I try to make every sales transaction move forward with transparency and as seamlessly as possible. I build relationships based on trust and respect, old fashioned values in today’s modern world.
What about sailing? I’ve had a varied sailing history, I’ve won the North American Junior Sailing Championship (Sears Cup) and was a Sailing instructor for 5 summers plus a team coach at Cleveland Yachting Club.
I’ve sailed all types of one designs :Lasers, Y -Flyers ( Canadian Jr. champ) , Lightnings, Thistles, Fireballs, Flying Dutchman, Tempests ( Mallory Cup finals), Solings Sabre scows, e Class scows , R- Boats, Dragons ( Won the “English Speaking Union” series in Bermuda for Canada) Stars, Etchells 22, IOD’s, Sharks , J24’s & IC 24’s
Offshore races as sail trimmer, tactician and helmsman: 5 Bermuda races including Warren Brown’s 12 meter “War Baby” ex-” American Eagle”, and Marvin Green’s Maxi ‘NIRVANA” . We set course record in 1980. There were 5 Marblehead to Halifax, 4 Annapolis to Newports, 3 Chicago/ Port Huron Mackinac’s, 3 Newport to Ensenada (Mexico) , 5 SORC’s , a Swan World Cup in Sardinia, the triangle series on Swan 65 ketch “Nirvana” comprising of race weeks in St.Croix, St. Thomas & BVI. Med- maxi series in Las Palmas on the 81’ maxi also called “Nirvana”.
Charter skipper through the Windwards and Leewards on the Swan 65 and have competed in 3 BVI Spring Regatta’s
Total Sea Miles: A lot!
So how did you end up living in the Caribbean? The previous manager of The Moorings Yacht Brokerage office in Tortola retired so I grabbed the chance to move. That was back in 2004. I joined Horizon in 2010 and I’ve sold around 500 boats through my career and like to think that I’ve helped make a lot of people happy.
Just recently I have re-located to St. Pete Beach, Florida. Still not far from palm trees and sunshine! I continue to help people live their dreams and place yachts into our 3 charter bases. I work hand in hand with Giles Starkey who is now Horizons’ Brokerage Manager in Tortola.
Favorite rum drink: Got to be the Dark & Stormy, it’s a classic
Most interesting person you have met? Squeaky Street…he’s a wacky clown!
Pet hates: People being inconsiderate to others.
Bucket list: Would love to go Kite Boarding..don’t tell Nancy!
What are you most proud of? Not experiencing a major injury, but then again I haven’t been kiteboarding yet!
How long you been married to the lovely Nancy? 40 years and I’ve loved every single day.
Three words to sum up living in the Caribbean: Tradewinds, sailing, fun