2016-01-14 / Around Town

Sail Newport Hopes to 'Lift All Boats'

By Joe Berkeley

Brad Read speaking at a recent rules seminar. (Photo by Joe Berkeley) Brad Read speaking at a recent rules seminar. (Photo by Joe Berkeley) It’s winter and there isn’t a single boat moored in Newport Harbor. But Brad Read can’t talk for a couple of hours. He’s too busy taking meetings and making plans for the future.

Even in the off season, the work of the executive director of Sail Newport is never done. He’s not as busy as he is in the summer, when he seldom has time to eat lunch. But there is plenty to do.

After the Volvo visited Sail Newport, a significant precedent was set. The event injected some $47.7 million into Rhode Island’s economy. The center point was Fort Adams, but the economic waves reverberated across the state.

According to a study commissioned by Sail Newport, the sectors which benefited the most were restaurants ($9 million), hotels and motels ($7.8 million), retail stores ($3.4 million), real estate ($2 million), catering ($1.9 million) and transit/ground passenger transportation ($1.7 million).

Joe Berkeley is an amateur sailor and a professional writer. His work is at joeberkeley.com. Joe Berkeley is an amateur sailor and a professional writer. His work is at joeberkeley.com. The Volvo will be back to Sail Newport in 2018, but Read has big plans for more regattas that will bring more visitors and more cash to Rhode Island. The World Match Racing Tour will be in town May 31– June 4, 2016. Other stops for the tour include Marstrand, Sweden; Fremantle, Australia; Long Beach, Calif.; and Copenhagen, Denmark. Read believes that the improved infrastructure at Sail Newport made it easy for the organization to choose Sail Newport.

The World Match Racing Tour, which features hopped-up catamarans that travel at a maximum speed of 30 knots, is just one of many events being planned. Read said, “In 2016 alone, we have the Melges 32 World Championships, and the World Match Racing Championship, the Flying Scott North Americans. We’re helping with the Newport to Bermuda Race, as well as local regattas and our Youth Racing Program.”

From regattas to rendezvous, Sail Newport can help with everything from dockage to locating caterers. And the majestic background of Fort Adams, which is a perfect stadium for sailing fans, is the ultimate home court advantage.

“The natural beauty of Fort Adams makes it a destination for many people who wouldn’t come here otherwise," Read said. Once again, we can market Rhode Island as the premiere tourist destination on the water.”

Sail Newport is growing and has recently brought a new Director of Philanthropy onboard, Carole Corriveau. Read said, “Carole’s done a great job of helping us think more strategically about fundraising, and a new focus for how philanthropy can help us achieve our charitable mission. She’s focused my ability to work with our sponsors.”

Despite the fact that there is plenty to do day to day, Read still makes time for his dream. He looks out the window of his office and visualizes every kid who grows up in Rhode Island having an on-the-water experience at Sail Newport. He’d also love to have a marine education program running year-round. He said, “Our on-the-water programs have no equal in the United States, we know that. Someday soon, I hope we can improve our land-side facilities. A lot of that hinges on philanthropy.”

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