Richard Birchall, Captain Pathfinder 1977-1983

Richard Birchall has a history with Tall Ships started back in 1967 in the UK … he first came to TBI as a Deep Sea Exchange in 1972, but then immigrated to Canada in 1977 and is still involved with TBI today. He is now charing the TBI 50th Anniversary committee!

Here is his Tall Ships career.

Richard started in Sea Cadets in the UK in 1967 in TS Benbow at Mitcham in London

Then went to TS Eastbourne in Sussex and was there until he immigrated to Canada in 1977. At TS Eastbourne he became a National Sailing Champion and master Coxwain and getting his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award. Richard described the presentation of the Duke of Edinburgh Award, which was presented by HRH Prince Philip and HM the Queen at Buckingham Palace – with his Dad as his guest as “a proud moment”.

In 1972, Richard was the UK side of the Deep sea exchange.  In 1973, Richard was asked to return, and he came back in 1974 and 1976.  Mike Leigh remembers Richard as “a 14 years old exchange trainee from Englad when he came aboard as a seaman/po when Mike was XO of the Pathfinder.

In 1976, Richard joined Pathfinder and was aboard for the Bicentennial fleet review and Tall ship gathering in NY City NY.  Click here to read about TBI at Op Sail 76.

The summer of 1976, Richard was at Waupoos Island and Capt of Trident II –  Facebook has a stream of memories about Waupoos Island where Richard was famous in the comments.

Richard became skipper of Pathfinder @ 21 years of age (to relieve Maurice Smith) giving command of Trident II to the then XO Of Pathfinder , Bruce Hunter.

Officer P-Boat “Pilot”, Pathfinder, Playfair, Trident II

Skipper Pathfinder 1977 – 1983.  Richard hosted an “open ship” for RCYC as one of the activities to start off his last season as Skipper of Pathfinder.

Executive Director 1983 Fall – June 1994

and then joined back up with TBI in 2002.

Richard is a treasure trove of Toronto Brigantine stories and we look forward to a great 50th Celebration! Thanks Richard for chairing the Celebration Committee. The kick off event for our 50th Annivesary has been scheduled for Nov 10, 2012. So HOLD THE DATE on your calendar and stay tuned for details.

3 responses

  1. Stalwarts like Richard is what TBI’s keel rests on.
    Need to celebrate one and each, every day.

  2. Good job mate – congrats on a nice article..

  3. Richard and I sailed together as kids at the Sea Cadets in the UK and at the local sailing club in Graduate and Fireball dinghies. Together we won the national title sailed in Portsmouth harbour UK winning three of the five races held over two days, we were “chuffed” to bits, a memory that has stayed with me to this day. Richard is a natural sailor and has always, and still has probably an inexhaustable supply of enthusiasm that seems to rub off on those around him.
    In 1976 at the Bi-centenneal in New York I was an Aircraft technician on board the County Class Destroyer H.M.S. London (D16) On my first evening ashore I walk down the gangplank to be greeted by a grinning
    Richard, all that way I bump into my old mate from Eastbourne.
    Good Luck with your 50th Celebration.

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