Cpt. Karl Reed looks out from the cockpit. The sea is misty and Karl is wrapped up in a fleece and hat

Captain of the Month: Karl Reed

In 2021 we are starting a monthly series highlighting some of the incredible captains that work for us around the world.

Coming to the end of January, we would like to introduce you to Cpt. Karl Reed. Karl is one of our youngest skippers, but perhaps one of the most ambitious and hardworking. Not only does he have over 56,000 nautical miles under his belt, but he is also Reliance’s representative on the US East Coast and in the Caribbean. When Karl is not out on delivery himself, he is our eyes on the ground, sourcing skippers and organizing crew for delivery. With his local knowledge and extensive networks, Karl is able to provide Reliance with an unparalleled service: helping us to connect our clients with trusted, experienced captains that best serve each delivery’s unique requirements.

We asked Karl a couple of questions about how he began a career in sailing, his career highlights and any advice he might have for other prospective yacht captains:

How did you get into sailing and what has led you to continue with it as a career?

As a kid I spent my formative years going to sailing camps along the Potomac River, near Washington, DC, and eventually teaching at them as a summer job. Somewhat naturally extending to sailing in nearby Annapolis, MD, one of the premier US sailing destinations, and going on occasional trips back to the Caribbean (Haiti) where I was born. I grew to love sailing. When I was 18, I moved to Cape Town for a year to get my yachting license under legendary Offshore Sailor & Clipper Skipper, David Immelman.  That led me into sailing and eventually running an Expedition Yacht in the Indian Ocean & Northern Madagascar. From there I gravitated back to the US East Coast & Caribbean, along with trans-Atlantic trips to Northern Europe. Now at 23, I have over this time garnered a great group of friends and resources in the industry who have helped me continue to be able to sail and mange vessels around the world.

What has been your career/sailing highlight so far?

Cpt. Karl Reed on the far left with two other sailors on a yacht under sail.
Cpt. Karl Reed (far left)

While not so much a sailing highlight, I had the ability to be a part of a team to help the St. Luke Foundation In Haiti commission and build a sailboat in a coastal port near Port Au Prince, Haiti. I spent time in country managing the build and commissioning, then training the local crew to run the boat. With the boat, St. Luke can now provide much needed medical supplies, personnel, and goods to some of the most remote communities in Haiti.  For me, that has been by far the most rewarding highlight of my career.

What is the job’s greatest challenge?

I think this job’s greatest challenge is being able to manage a wide range of things on at one time. In the delivery industry, especially, you may not need be perfect in every aspect of sailing and managing a vessel, but you are expected to be highly proficient in a large variety of aspects. From the technical and sailing aspect, to understanding the laws, formalities, to being able to move a vessel to that remote island in the Caribbean the Client found on a map, to being able to manage a team through bad weather or breakdowns. Add to that, the new COVID complexities and all these things can be some of the job’s greatest challenges.  But, on the positive side, I find it is what keeps you aware of the fact that in finding the solutions, you will reap the many rewards of this industry.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

In the future I hope I am still working within the industry, leading a larger team of likeminded individuals who are aimed at providing the same high level of customer service Reliance expects. I believe I will be in the industry for a while and hopefully continue to assist Reliance in its endeavors.

Do you have any advice for those looking to become a delivery captain?

While RYA Courses and Qualifications are ideal, learning and gaining real world experience in a large range of aspects (for both the sailing and the delivery industry) will help you immensely. There is no one trick pony here – you need to be flexible and knowledgeable in many different arenas.

What is your favorite knot?

I have to go with the classic and timeless bowline, I believe simplicity is key here, while there may be a time and a place for more complex knots, I find myself time and again in the real-world making bowlines. Everyone has their way, as long as the end result is the same, you are good to go!


Captain Karl Reed’s profile

Neel 47 delivery

Want to work with Karl? Contact us

Cpt. Karl Reed (left) with other Reliance captain, Cpt. Dylan La Roux on the deck of a yacht in the Caribbean
Cpt. Karl Reed (left) with other Reliance captain, Cpt. Dylan La Roux (right)





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