US Sailing and the Sperry Local Ambassador Program – Brad Read

Meet Brad Read from Newport, R.I.

US Sailing and Sperry have partnered to recognize local sailors for contributions made to their respective sailing communities. Sperry Local Ambassadors have a passion for sailing and they share that passion with others to get out on the water and support the growth of our sport.

Brad Read, Executive Director of Sail Newport, has been at the forefront of influence and impact for years when it comes to sailing on Narragansett Bay and in the Newport, Rhode Island area. The former College Sailor of the Year, All-American, and National Champion at Boston University, has found a home in the sailing industry at one of the most renowned community sailing centers in the country.

Brad was nominated to be a Sperry Local Ambassador for his leadership in local sailing, contributions to college sailing, and support from Sail Newport for the 2019 Sperry ICSA College Sailing National Championships on May 21-31 in Newport, RI.

A Q&A with Brad Read

What is special about your local sailing community and the water that surrounds it?

“History. We have such an incredible history of marine activity in Narragansett Bay. From explorers and settlers from Europe, to bootleggers, pirates and the origins of the U.S. Navy, Newport Rhode Island has been a central port in the history of the American Colonies and the beginnings of our nation. Add to that the incredible recreational boating and competitive sailing history of Newport and you easily come to the conclusion that Newport and Rhode Island are key hubs of sailing activity worldwide!”

What/who inspired your love for the water?

“Mom, dad and brother. We grew up around the water, cruising on our 30’ overnighter towing a Sunfish and a rowing dinghy. Bob Read (dad) and Peggy Read (mom) were super supportive of our sailing through our cruising throughout Southern New England. We started racing on the cruising boat and learned big boat sailing first and applied that to sailing and racing dinghies. The dinghy racing circuit in Narragansett Bay got us to meet some great new friends and although ice hockey was also a big thing in our lives, we became forever sailors! College sailing was THE thing that really allowed me to get better at this sport. The simplicity, the camaraderie, the network of friends that I still have to this day. College sailing was a blast and I cherished every minute of the four years that I competed for BU.”

If there is one thing the sailing community could do to become more sustainable, what would that be?

“Many know how hard Sail Newport works at the environmental sustainability, but I am going to answer this in another way. Continuing to do what we do at Sail Newport to break down economic and logistical barriers to entry into this sport is crucial to the sustainability of the sport! Expand our networks to attract young athletes in our maritime communities to try sailing. Do NOT wait for people to find sailing!  FIND people to try sailing and create programs that keep young people in our sport. Make it an ongoing program and not just a one and done introduction. Put the time and effort in to link the classrooms to the harbor with local school systems. Supply competitive offerings for those wishing to start racing.  MAKE SURE that those new sailors that don’t have the competitive drive have an off ramp to daysailing, coastal cruising and other opportunities on the water (kiting, fishing, daysailing, etc.). We need to take young sailors and offer them opportunities that will help them choose to be lifelong sailors. High school and college sailing are HUGE parts of this equation!”