Tresco’s Harbourmaster Henry Retiring After 20 Years In The Role

henry birchAfter 20 years as Tresco’s Harbourmaster and boatman, Henry Birch retires today.

Henry says he was initially nervous when Robert Dorrien Smith offered him the role and he recalls being petrified when he first skippered Legend on his own.

But two decades on, he says he’s proud of what he’s done and pleased to have made friends from all around the world.

Henry says there’s “no handbook” for the Harbourmaster job, you just have to offer the best possible service to sailors. And for him, looking after the visiting yachtsmen is a big priority, because they’re more likely to come back in the future if they’ve had a good expereince.

Henry says some things have changed for the worse. He feels some water users are less courteous to other craft and less respectful to the surroundings than people were 20 years ago.

When he started out he had a punt with small one horsepower engine but nowadays, he says, youngsters are being let loose in boats with massive engines.

“They’re flying about everywhere,” says Henry, and he can’t see how they could be enjoying the scenery and peace that Scilly offers.

Henry says his favourite memory from his time in the role was the day the gig Emperor, which was built on St Mary’s by Peter Martin, was launched.

Henry said the whole place was decked out in flags and a camera crew was on board to capture the event. He said he’ll never forget the beautiful sight as she glided up onto the beach to be blessed by the vicar.

He has mixed emotions about retiring and says he’ll miss the routine, but he’s also looking forward to spending more time boating with his wife Pat.

Henry’s used ‘the bosses’ boat for 20 years and he says he now wants to buy his own, so he can visit the other islands.



15 Responses to Tresco’s Harbourmaster Henry Retiring After 20 Years In The Role