Richard Reid grew up in a
boatbuilding family. His grandfather, Willis J. Reid, with "Reid's Boat
Yard", started in the business in 1905. Prior to W.W.II the yard built
fine original yachts up to 96 feet long. Willis Reid had a reputation
as a good boat builder and had the respect of and a good working
relationship with many of the best yacht designers of the 20th century
such as: John Alden, Sam Crocker, L. Francis Herreshoff, Phillip Rhodes
and Eldridge McGinnis. Books about these designer's work often mention
Willis J. Reid as the builder of some of their designs. In his third
and final boat yard location he had as many as two hundred employees
during World War II and built many army and navy craft up to 130 ft.
long, for the government.
Willis J. Reid boats:
Willis Reid had three sons,
Robert, Willis Jr. and James, all of which were active workers in the
yard. After he sold the yard in 1946, the older sons moved and
established their own boat yards in New Hampshire and Maine. The other
son, Richard's father Jim joined the army in W.W.II but after the war
also worked as a boat builder near Boston Harbor.
Because of the extensive
influence of family involved so continuously in boatbuilding and
growing up on the water, Richard developed a respect and love for
sailing and the boatbuilding profession early in his life. After years
of ship models and dreaming and reading, Richard built his first boat
upstairs in his parents' home just one mile from his grandfather's
former boat yard during the few years when his uncle, Willis Reid Jr.
(the general manager of "Reid's Boat Yard") lived with them. His Uncle
Willis was particularly influential on Richard during these years.
After finishing school, Richard worked for several years on large tug
boats on Boston Harbor and then later on push tugs in North Carolina,
moving barges up and down the Intracoastal Waterway for a short time
before beginning boat building full time.
Richard moved to Wilmington in
late 1975. In 1976, Richard began employment by the Westsail
Corporation in Wilmington. In addition to the repetitious experience of
teak trim and mechanical installations Richard learned a considerable
amount of fiberglass and mold making during this time, building custom
21 ft and 38 ft fiberglass molds and sailboats on his own. From there,
he went on to work at various other boatbuilders and marine services in
the area until 1981, when he started Reid's Boat Repair and Boat
Building. His first contracts were for building three 30 ft sailing
trimarans. Since then his work has included many large and complex boat
building and repair jobs, finally moving to the current location in
July of 1998.