Richard Watkins Biography - Unauthorized
Richard grew up on Long Island in Port Jefferson New York.† He leaned to sail when he was 10 on a friendís boat.
Richard worked in the 1960ís at Grumman Aerospace in Port Jefferson New York.† There he learned fiberglass reinforced plastic manufacturing (FRP) techniques.† The Aerospace industry was using FRP for many components for aircraft and space craft.† After a stint in the US Army he moved St. Petersburg, Florida, and got a job working for Ted Irwin in FRP manufacturing area.† There he met many people who would become movers and shakers in the FRP boat building industry.† People like Rob Johnson future owner of Island Packet, and Walter Scott who would design the Watkins 27.
After developing molds for a 23 foot sailboat, Richard along with three of his other brothers rented a building and founded Watkins Yacht and Marine Company in 1973.† The W23 model began to sell reasonably well thanks to his brother Gary who did a great job of setting up dealers.† Eventually Watkins would have over 20 dealerís nation wide with the heaviest concentration being in the North East.† Note: Watkins sold direct from the factory to individuals in the state of Florida.
In August of 1979 the Watkins brothers sold the Watkins Yacht and Marine Co and went their separate ways.† Richard was the only brother to remain in the boat building and repair business for life.
In 1984 Richard with partner Kevin Pastor founded Captiva Yachts Inc., the original address was 4501 Ulmerton Rd. Clearwater, Fl 33520 moving to 725 Stevens Ave, Oldsmar, Florida before closing in 1988.† This company marketed and possibly finished hulls molded by Ft. Myers Ship and Yacht Builders.† Two models of boats were sold, the Captiva 24 and the Sanibel 17.† In 1987 the Sanibel 17 design was upgraded with a new deck and several other changes and renamed the Sanibel 18.
Trivia:† The Sanibel 18 went on to be made by several companies and currently is made by International Marine, the makers of the West Wight Potter (15 & 19).† Richard Watkins procured the Sanibel 17 tooling as derelict molds from the defunct company Southern Sails Inc of Clearwater, Fl.† Southern Sails was founded and owned by Jere Austin, a fellow employee with Al Larson @ Lancer Yachts.† Jere Austin knew Dennis Robbins from his association with Endeavour Yachts and mentions Dennis as part of his history of Endeavour.† Southern Sails was in business from 1977 until early 1983.
If you have not figured it out by now, the FRP boat building industry in the Clearwater/St. Pete area was very inbred in the 1970ís and 1980ís.
Later Richard became the Sale/Service manager for NOA Marine in St. Petersburg, Florida where he continued to worked as of April 2008.