About Reeds Nautical
'There are some things I would not go to sea without - Reeds is one of them'
Sir Chay Blyth
'The big, bold, extravagantly comprehensive king of Almanacs'
'The bible of almanacs'
History and Heritage
In 2007 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the first publication in 1932 of Reeds Nautical Almanac, now universally known as plain Reeds.
The first compiler, editor and the moving light behind this venture was Captain O M Watts, one of the youngest Merchant Navy officers ever to hold a Master's certificate, aged 23. Oswald M Watts (Ossie to his friends) left the sea in 1927 and for a time delivered yachts and taught navigation. The publisher, Harold Brunton-Reed, and editor shook hands - as Watts described it, 'the only agreement we ever made'. The first edition was published on 1 January 1932 and cost 2/6 (two shillings and six pence, or 12.5 pence in today's money).
A policy of continuous improvement prevailed and has been maintained to this day. An unusual addition was the section on childbirth at sea, which was reproduced in the 2007 edition at the end of the First Aid chapter, as a unique souvenir.
Reeds' finest hour came in 1944, when the government ordered 3,000 extra copies of the Almanac for use in vessels involved in the D-Day Normandy landings. After the war, O M Watts continued to edit Reeds until his retirement in 1981, and thereafter as consultant editor until his death in 1985.
In the late 1980s Reeds was sold by the Brunton-Reed family to a new publisher, Thomas Reed Publications, with a new editorial team.
Coincidentally in 1981 Macmillan Publishers launched the first edition of the then Macmillan & Silk Cut Nautical Almanac. Within 10 years this new Almanac had overhauled Reeds, which in 1993 foundered over a copyright infringement and ceased publication in 1994.
In 1999 Nautical Data Ltd acquired the Almanac from Macmillan and re-named it Reeds Nautical Almanac. The well-liked Macmillan style and clear-cut layout was retained and still forms the basis of all subsequent editions.
Since December 2003 Reeds has been owned by Adlard Coles Nautical (now part of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc), under whose famous name the Almanac has gone from strength to strength. In January 2011 Reeds Digital Almanac was launched, revolutionising the way the Almanac can be used, bringing together its respected and trusted navigational information with all the benefits of going digital, and continuing to keep Reeds at the forefront of passage planning.