It is Boxing Day and the start of the Sydney-Hobart race. The weather has lived up to the prediction and the big boats have hit the Southerly Buster. Once through it the winds lighten and the small boats may catch up.



The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association will present its first Anchor Award to Rhode Island sailing brothers Ken and Brad Read Saturday at the association’s Industry Partnership Breakfast & Member Meeting.



The meeting will be from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the Newport Yacht Club before the start that day of the Newport International Boat Show.

The Read brothers grew up sailing on Rhode Island waters and turned their passion for boating into careers in the world of competitive sailing. Through their activities, Ken and Brad Read draw worldwide attention to their home state as a sailing destination and a capital of the global marine industry.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., will join business and community leaders to honor the Reads and talk about the importance of the marine industry to the state’s economy. The Ocean State’s 400 miles of coastline and its deep maritime heritage have helped build an industry that accounts for $1.6 billion in sales and $260 million in income to Rhode Island workers.

“I’m honored to help present this award to Ken and Brad for their outstanding contributions to the marine trades industry, which supports so many people and businesses in Rhode Island,” Whitehouse said in a statement. “Our oceans and coasts are central to our economy and our culture, and I will continue working in the Senate to protect these resources and support this industry.”

Ken Read recently returned home to Rhode Island after racing around the world as skipper of Puma Ocean Racing in the Volvo Ocean Race. His team’s boat, Mar Mostro, was built in Rhode Island; its performance around the globe drew worldwide attention to the boat’s technology and build, as well as to the home-grown talents in the crew. Read was also Puma skipper in the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race, a former America’s Cup helmsman, two-time Rolex Yachtsman of the Year and the winner of 46 world, North American and national sailing championships.

Brad Read is executive director of Sail Newport, one of the country’s top public-access sailing centers. It creates affordable sailing opportunities for children and adults and draws world-class regattas to Newport. Under his leadership, Sail Newport has grown exponentially and has tripled the size of its fleet, creating more opportunity for all those who want to get out on the water. As chairman of the America’s Cup World Series Host Committee, he was a central player in drawing this summer’s America’s Cup event back to Rhode Island waters.

This is the first time Rhode Island Marine Trades Association is presenting its Anchor Award, which recognizes people who make a significant contribution to Rhode Island and its marine trades.

“We can think of no better recipients for this first-time award than Brad and Ken Read,” trade association president Wendy Mackie said in a statement. “They were once two young boys sailing in their home waters, and they have used their passion for sailing and their star power to draw more sailors and more attention back home to Rhode Island shores.”


I am have been troubled by this edition of the Volvo Ocean Race. It has become less of an Ocean race frankly; The Legs are short both in distance and time, as the boats are so quick. It has lost it’s luster.
Speaking of losing it’s luster, the America’s Cup, over these last few years has been a soap opera. Still, we are all waiting with anticipation the 72 foot solid wing catamarans.

By Rod Davis, Emirates Team NZ
(January 23, 2012) – The trick is to keep the eye on the ball …

It has been a bizarre time for the America’s Cup; the war of words and press releases has been nonstop for five years when Oracle questioned Alinghi’s Challenger of Record. Since then we have been fed a fatty diet of spin doctoring.

Some would say “situation normal for the America’s Cup”. Not in my experience and I have been in the game a long time. Take the headline “Ainslie launches America’s Cup campaign”. What?

Uncle Larry is underwriting Ben’s AC45 sailing and then he joins Oracle in the defence for the USA. Where is the Ben Ainslie America’s Cup campaign in that? Or the nine challengers listed in the America’s Cup web site, when, in reality only three have paid the money. The trick is to not allow the spin doctors to distract you from the real game.

When you blow away the smoke and see through the mirrors you find the America’s Cup as it is:

Here’s what you need to know:

1) The America’s Cup will be sailed in San Francisco in 2013 in 72ft winged cats.

2) Each team will have the most advanced and competitive boat that it can produce and then sail it the very best it can.

3) The challengers (Artemis, Luna Rosa, and Emirates Team New Zealand) will compete in a Louis Vuitton Cup challenger series to decide who goes to the America’s Cup.

4) Oracle goes directly to the finals (the America’s Cup match).

5) Each team is allowed to build two AC72 boats; the first cannot be launched before July this year.

Point No 2 is the most important and the one that must be done better than all the competition. Everything else is detail.

The best argument I’ve heard for Newport as host of the AC

While this is indeed the most compelling argument I have read for bringing the America’s Cup to Newport, there is a very big difference between One boat using Newport as a base and an America’s Cup event.  An America’s Cup event in Newport would disrupt life here in ways we cannot imagine. I much prefer to see boats being built and launched here.

Can Newport and the state of Rhode Island afford to spend the money to bring the Cup here? Do the numbers really make sense? Will it really increase employment in a meaningful way? Not just part time jobs.


Ken Read is a resident of Newport and is the CEO and Skipper of PUMA Ocean

Racing – a sailing team built to participate in the Volvo Ocean Race. He is

also the Vice President of North Sails Group LLC. Here he shares his

excitement on the possibility of the America’s Cup coming to his town:


Rhode Island needs the America’s Cup, and has the opportunity within its

grasp to do so. An amazing last minute organizational effort between many

different state and private organizations has made Rhode Island a front

runner in the race to be the venue for the 2013 America’s Cup.

At first glance it would appear that I am the most biased person in the

state to write an editorial in support of the America’s Cup coming to Rhode

Island. I grew up in this area, and have sailed on Narragansett Bay my whole

life. I moved to Newport in the infamous summer of 1983 and witnessed

firsthand the removal of the America’s Cup from our shores. Since then I

have had the good fortune to be a part of dozens of world class sailboat

racing teams including skippering Dennis Conner’s America’s Cup bids on two

separate occasions.

Over the past three years I have served as the CEO and Skipper of PUMA Ocean

Racing, the Volvo Ocean Race entry of the sports-lifestyle company PUMA. The

Volvo Ocean Race is considered as one of the big three sailing events in the

world, along with the Olympics and the America’s Cup.

I am proud to say that PUMA Ocean Racing is the second largest professional

sailboat racing team in the United States, second only in size and success

to BMW-Oracle Racing, the holder of the America’s Cup. Like all professional

teams we had a choice on where we wanted to organize, train and build our

program. We chose Rhode Island.

Why did we choose Rhode Island?

First of all, Rhode Island has a marine trade industry that helped us create

a racing program that can successfully compete against the best in the


Secondly, we can keep the construction, design and engineering of our

programs major components literally within driving distance of our

waterfront base, located at the Newport Shipyard since 2007.

And finally, we are a five-minute sail from some of the best sailing grounds

in the world that we use for training, testing and racing.

What does this all mean to the State of Rhode Island? Thanks to these three

major attributes PUMA Ocean Racing has spent over 20 million dollars in

Rhode Island in the past three years. This sum has covered the fundamental

components’ of a program our size such as design and engineering, boat and

mast construction, sails, rigging, housing, and food. Not to mention the

influx of cash that our employees and their families spend to live their

daily lives. And this is money that represents a few cents on the dollar

compared to what the America’s Cup would bring to the region.

My point takes a twist though, and I sincerely hope that our governmental

leaders and citizens understand a second crucial point. The decision to

spend money on infrastructure to lure the America’s Cup has very little to

do with the sport of sailing as a whole, and has everything to do with good

business. — Read on: