Brad Read, along with his brother Ken, was recently presented the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association’s inaugural Anchor Award. The award recognizes those who make a significant contribution to Rhode Island and its marine trades. Read is executive director of Sail Newport, a public-access sailing center that creates affordable sailing opportunities and draws regattas to Newport. Read, who was chair of the America’s Cup World Series Host Committee, was a central player in drawing this summer’s America’s Cup event back to Rhode Island waters.
PBN: What’s your current take on the state of Rhode Island’s marine industry?
READ: I think the service side of our industry is doing well. Are we at capacity? No. Are there opportunities for growth? To be sure. Rhode Island’s marine economy has growth potential and with proper leadership, advocacy and promotion, our service industry can be stronger. Our political leadership has a renewed focus on our marine industry as a viable economic sector and we must work with them to reduce the regulatory burdens on our small and large marine businesses. The boat-building aspect of our industry is still struggling, but we see success stories still emerging.
PBN: You and your brother, Ken, an internationally recognized sailor, were both able to turn your passion for sailing into successful careers. How does it feel to contribute to an industry you love?
READ: It feels natural to give back to this sport. I feel incredibly proud of our bay and our state on so many levels: Our history of seafaring, racing, boat-building, and especially as a destination for so many boaters from around the world. To showcase that through our public-access sailing center at Sail Newport gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
PBN: Any favorite sailing spots?
READ: Narragansett Bay is obviously No. 1, and the beauty of our bay and its proximity to the other incredible cruising grounds of the Elizabeth Islands, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and Cape Cod makes Rhode Island the place to provision, store, refit and outfit your boat. My favorite harbor, bar none, is a small, cozy indentation in the island of Naushon called Hadley’s Harbor. Located on the far eastern end of the Elizabeth Island’s chain, Hadley’s has a mystique to it as a safe haven from the strong winds of Buzzards Bay on one side and the incredible tidal rips of Vineyard Sound and Wood’s Hole on the other. •