Category Archives: BC Maritime Museum

Victoria Classic Boat Festival Memories

TEAL stern

It’s been a month since boat show season ended in the Pacific Northwest. Some of you are hopefully still on the water, while others are buttoning down for the winter.

Wait, did I say winter? It can’t be! Forget that – it’s still glorious fall in the PNW! You still time to get out on the water if, like me, your boat is waiting for you but you only put the sails up … once… and haven’t actually gone sailing yet. (My excuses are pitiful. Believe me, I know I do a disservice to anyone who lives in the prairies when I let a whole summer go by without sailing. If there’s one thing DOROTHY has taught me, it’s that experiencing life with a boat is better than without!)

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So let’s think of kinder, warmer things, like boat shows! We had a fantastic time at this year’s Victoria Classic Boat Festival, the 40th annual. While nothing could make up for the absence of John West, a key founder and integral, energetic part of the festival over its four decades, the sun shone bright on the docks full of beautiful boats and interested visitors.

It was the first year the Maritime Museum of B.C. took the helm and led the organization and programming, and they did an admirable job running the show. Congratulations!

DOROTHY was on hand in spirit, if not in physical form. As it was her 120th anniversary, we celebrated with cake in the hall of the MMBC, and a hearty Happy Birthday.

To make sure she was present “on the docks”, we hosted a table Saturday and Sunday with promotional materials, photographs and new 2018 calendars and anniversary T-shirts for sale. I was delighted that former owner Angus Matthews was able to join me on Sunday to chat with people on the docks.

It was interesting to hear the response when we asked people whether they had heard of “Canada’s oldest sailboat”. Most said, no, but were intrigued. Then we’d ask where they were from and roughly half the time, they were from Victoria! I realized there are two distinct groups in this small but passionate boat community: those who have been following the Dorothy adventure closely, and those who don’t know anything about her story at all.

I feel we have a lot of work to do in getting the Dorothy story out there. If you want to help with our mission of keeping her memory alive while the committee continues to raise funds for the rest of the restoration, you can help! We still have 2018 Anniversary Calendars for sale, with images ranging from the MMBC archives, her sailing in the 1920s-40s and 1980s, contemporary photos in Tony Grove’s shop, and even an exclusive shot of her from the Langley family that has never before been released to the public.

Or, get our NEW T-shirt (Maroon and Heather Grey) with her anniversary dates 1897-2017. Send one to your friends, family members, or enemies, and tell them the story of DOROTHY. Or get an art card for Christmas mailouts, we have 6 different beautiful art cards. Email me at dorothysails@gmail.com for prices and orders. Christmas is just around the corner!

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After costs, proceeds are split between the restoration fund and the documentary, Between Wood and Water.

For our Victoria boat show round up, the best thing from my perspective was the raft of forestry boats and workboats, most from British Columbia but a few from down south. I love their stories.

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I was intrigued to find out that restored B.C. forestry boats outnumber U.S. boats about three to one. One notable exception is the 90-year old TEAL (image up top) which has a rich history patrolling the Alaskan coast and is now docked at Friday Harbor, WA. She won Best Conversion.

It seemed like there were less sailboats than usual – perhaps because ORIOLE and MARTHA were missing (and perhaps it’s my biased eyes that want to see sailboats everywhere!) – but there were an amazing representation of all kinds of classic boats to grace the docks.

Here were some of the awards handed out:

  • Best Restored Power: the 1963 FLYING EAGLE, a Maine Lobsterboat that travelled to the west coast and was authentically restored by Rick Strollo;
  • Best Restored Sailboat: ISOBAR, with TEAKBIRD getting Honorable Mention (restored by our friends at Abernathy and Gaudin);
  • Oldest Powerboat: 1917 OCEAN BELLE;
  • Oldest Sailboat: 1922 LOON (which was also built by J.J. Robinson, DOROTHY’s builder);
  • Best Overall Powerboat: DEERLEAP;
  • Best Overall Sailboat: PACIFIC GRACE.

The second best thing about the festival was hanging out with our friends Eric and Steve from OFFCENTERHARBOR.com. They were doing double duty as boat oglers and storytellers, getting some juicy bits on their favourite boats in the PNW. We love OCH videos, and if you haven’t checked them out yet, you should definitely subscribe because they feature not only the hottest boats, but the best stories on people making and restoring them.

Look for them to feature PACIFIC, MESSENGER III and STITCH – all workboats of some kind – in the coming weeks.

So that’s it for our boat show season – how was yours? Did you participate? Drop us a line or write a comment if you have a story to tell. Because after all, next to an insane desire to drop 1000s of dollars on our beloved vessels, the stories we get to tell about them is the next best reason to own them, right?

If you have friends, neighbours or family members that don’t know about Canada’s oldest functioning, Canadian-made sailboat, consider giving them a Dorothy-related gift this year and helping us spread the word.

Thank you Friends! And happy sailing!

Tobi

 

Remembering John West: yachtsman, historian, boat encyclopaedia

John West interview in memoriam

On May 17, 2017, the Victoria community, the yachting community and his loving friends and family lost a great friend, John West.

He was a beloved husband to Bonnie, step-father to Sean and a friend to so very many, including Dorothy, a boat that will be forever in his debt.

A tireless source of maritime history and classic boats, John was a champion of British Columbia heritage and culture. He had given much of his time and energy to BC Heritage Society, the Victoria Heritage Foundation, the St. Barnabas Anglican Church and not least, the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. He was one of the main founders of the Victoria Classic Boat Festival in 1977, serving as chair from 1998 until 2005 and later as judging coordinator, imparting his deep knowledge of classic vessels.

John and Eric

We got to interview John several times between 2013 to 2016, as he was one of the champions who spearheaded the drive to get Dorothy out of storage and back into the public eye. He knew almost every detail about her design and history, and would recount stories culled from the logs of her previous owners as if he was there. More than that though, we hoped to be able to capture a portion of his passion for history and the tales that classic boats, in general, can tell about our culture and our collective history.

John West and Eric Waal, trustees for the MMBC - photo by Tony GroveJan2-13-Kate cam inside Dot-Emily GroveMMBC Trustees examine Dorothy with Tony G- photo by Emily Grove

You can read his obituary here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/timescolonist/obituary.aspx?n=john-west&pid=185467234 The memorial will be held tomorrow, Saturday, June 3, 2017 at 1:00 PM. A reception will follow at the Inn at Laurel Point, 680 Montreal St., at 4:00 PM. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the BC Cancer Agency and/or The Maritime Museum of B.C. (634 Humbolt St., Victoria, BC V8W 1A4) in the name of John West.

You were one of the great ones, Johnny, and you, and your Cowichan sweater and your wizard brain about boats, will be forever missed.

Classic Boat Festival 2016

We made it! It’s that time of year again, and we couldn’t be happier. And after a pounding rain all night, the weather saw fit to cooperate with some glorious sun in time for the opening of the 39th Classic Boat Festival in Victoria. 

It’s such an honour to be here and to be mingling with people who are passionate about boats and, in many cases, have done so much to preserve and promote their own gorgeous vessels. I know from documenting Dorothy’s story that keeping a classic boat alive – especially a wooden boat – often calls for a sacrifice of time, energy and resources that people can only give if they’re in it for the love of their vessel. 

I’ll be here all weekend with materials and T-shirts promoting the documentary and Dorothy‘s restoration status. Tony Grove is judging boats in the festival, and everyone else is just enjoying walking the docks in the sunshine. 

Happy Labour Day weekend, everyone!

Ps I had to sneak in a shot of my second all-time favourite boat, Martha. She is looking just (sigh) as gorgeous as ever. I am holding on to hope that one day soon she and Dorothy will sail side by side. 

– Tobi 

    
 

Our gal is 119 years, and counting

First, some background:

In about one month, it will be 119 years since Dorothy was launched into Victoria’s harbour waters for the first time, July 26, 1897. The news made the papers, of course:

July 26 1897 Dot launched

Imagine the scene: with one month to go, her owner, barrister William H. Langley, was doubtless doing what every owner would be doing right before a beloved boat is about to launch – frantically buying everything needed to outfit his little yacht. How do we know this? Because Langley saved every receipt for every single purchase he made for Dorothy, perhaps knowing his boat was something special. (Or maybe because he had O.C.D.)

Example of a receipt Langley

June 25 1897 Violas placingAs meticulous Langley was in preparing his boat for the water, he was still obsessed with sailing, and was racing his first yacht, Viola. Viola wasn’t fast enough for Langley though – he wanted a winning yacht. So he bought a design from Linton Hope, himself a successful Olympic yachtsman and the owner of the Thames Yacht Company in England. Langley intended to name his next racing yacht “Viola II”, but when he acquired the plans from Hope, they were named “Dorothy”, so he stuck with that.

Evidently, she was fast. The stories of her successful races and regattas up and down the Northwest coast, I’ll save for another post. Below is a picture from Dorothy‘s 100th birthday celebration, in 1997.

Dorothy birthday cake 100th

And now, the hard news…

You may remember that our last post over a year ago lamented the tragic situation of the Maritime Museum of British Columbia. News broke in the community that the government had condemned the historic building that the Museum had occupied for 49 years, and they were forced to find a new home. The hope was that they could get a lease for the CPR Steamship Terminal building, unoccupied and in a central, waterfront location, but it was not to be.

(A full backgrounder of the MMBC tenancy timeline is here for anyone interested in the history: http://mmbc.bc.ca/flymetothemoon/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/MMBC-Tenancy-Time-Line-and-Backgrounder-FINAL.pdf)

Packing up, moving everything into storage, and archiving the four floors of displays was painful. The staff was whittled down to three, then two, plus volunteers. Locations had to be secured for the large artefacts, of which there were many, including two entire boats, the Tilikum and Trekka. Over 40,000 items had to be cleaned, examined, meticulously catalogued, wrapped and packed away. The task was enormous, but the staff and volunteers heroically went at it for 6 months straight. I’ll just share some photos of the time, which say more than I can put into words:

It was devastating for many of the countless volunteers, maritime experts and lovers of historical research to see practically all of the collections packed up and stored away. The unknown loomed: where would they be housed? How could they organize and store such a huge collection? Would anything be available to the public again? Was maritime history doomed to be relegated to a back alley storefront, a shelf in a library?

And now, the happy news:

Thankfully, the history of an entire province’s coastline is bigger than any single location, and, true to form, maritime history seems to have survived. Incredible as it seems, the forced move seems to have breathed new life into the organization, which had long struggled with the aging building and other issues.

A new board, staff, website and vision have been birthed from the ashes, and in May 2016, they opened the doors to the Society’s modest location in Nootka Court, with a selection of the collection’s very best on display, featuring an interactive journey into the Franklin Discovery, the Captains Cook and Vancouver Journals, as well as many original works by marine artist John Horton featuring the “HMS Discovery”. Check out their featured exhibits here: http://mmbc.bc.ca/exhibits/featured-exhibits-2 We salute you in your new start!

Also, because of the move, we finally found Dorothy‘s suit of sails! They were made in the 80s by Fogh sails, commissioned by her owner at the time, Angus Matthews. Here’s Tony Grove hanging on tight to the valuable find:IMG_2136_2

Onward ho!

MMBC & Dorothy‘s Future

Dorothy‘s fate has always been tied to the people who care for her. She has survived longer than any other yacht in Canadian history because she was loved, appreciated and restored again and again.

And now it appears that those at the Museum who have so enthusiastically revived the institution itself are embracing the chance to influence Dorothy‘s future as well. Tony Grove (who is charged with Dorothy‘s restoration for the MMBC) and I have been talking with new leaders and shapers at the MMBC, and we are extremely heartened by their avid interest and desire to make this little yacht’s story central to the province’s maritime future.

There will huge news forthcoming as talks deepen and as we prepare for Dorothy’s 120th anniversary next year! Look for another significant update in one month’s time.

There is so much to look forward to, and we thank you for joining us on this exciting journey.

All the best, now get out there and get sailing! Tobi & Tony

MMBC squeezed out of Bastion Square historic building- must leave before Sept 30

Two weeks ago, the provincial government shut down negotiations between the B.C. Maritime Museum (the custodian of the Dorothy) and other parties to secure a new space for the Museum, leaving the venerable institution essentially homeless as of Sept 30th this year. The news release from the government is terse and only hints at the larger story: 

“Nine months of negotiation between Shared Services BC and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority (GVHA) to secure a lease for the Maritime Museum of BC in Victoria’s old steamship terminal are at an impasse. As a result, Shared Services BC has informed both the museum and the GVHA today that it is not able to provide any ongoing financial support or fund capital improvements at the steamship terminal. The ministry has also asked the museum to vacate 28 Bastion Square by Sept. 30, 2015, to avoid risk to staff and to assess the state of the building, which is in disrepair.” Read the full release here.

Today, the Museum trustees are calling the B.C. government’s bluff. They say that when the City of Victoria signed over the historic Bastion Square location to house the MMBC in 1977, “That agreement came with ‘the obligation to house the museum in perpetuity — either in the courthouse or another mutually agreeable location,’ trustees said in a statement. The agreement was signed by then Victoria mayor Mike Young and provincial secretary Grace McCarthy, according to stories published in the Victoria Daily Times. – See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/b-c-should-honour-1977-maritime-museum-promise-trustees-1.1973910#sthash.PyproUEp.dpuf

Museum trustees will hold a news conference at some point today, “to lay out why they say the province has an obligation to find a mutually agreeable home for the museum as well as maintain 28 Bastion Square in public hands.”

Courtesy of MMBC.CA

The end of more than nine months of negotiations “essentially scuppers all of our additional fundraising efforts based around obtaining a successful long-term lease,” said museum board chairman Clay Evans.

Last year, the B.C. Maritime Museum – the custodian and owner of the Dorothy – was asked by its landlord (the provincial government) to leave its home on Bastion Square, a beautiful heritage building that had served since 1889 as Victoria’s first permanent courthouse, with its famous birdcage elevator, installed in 1899, still the oldest working lift of its kind in North America. The government claimed it was unsafe for the public and would be too costly to repair to make it earthquake-safe, but some suspect the forced move also had something to do with freeing up the space for higher-paying commercial tenants. Others, like Victoria Councillor Pam Madoff, say that moving the MMBC out of the historic building endangers the future of the building itself, since any business would have to go through costly renovations and a rezoning process:

Madoff said her biggest concern is the fate of the old building, which is owned by the provincial government. So far, a provincial official has said only that the building requires significant upgrades and a business case will have to be developed for any new use. – See more at: http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/maritime-museum-s-move-leaves-hole-in-bastion-square-1.1432273#sthash.wuuybMsX.dpuf

The Museum board had, in the process of negotiations, been led to believe that the government would be working with them to secure a new waterfront space. After shutting their doors to the public (and losing much-needed revenue) over the last 9 months, they worked in good faith to come to terms with the provincial government, Harbour authority and Shared Services to be able to move into a new space in the old CP Railway terminal, which would have been a perfect fit for a maritime institution: close to a tourist terminus, and including waterfront access, a very important consideration for our Dorothy. Here’s what plans for the new space looked like:

Part of CPR terminal concept rendering (Merrick Architecture/ Project Belleville). Courtesy of CBC-Radio On the Island

But, instead of investment and support, what they got was delays and dodging. Finally, after negotiations “reached an impasse” in bureaucrat-speak, we heard that the province had no such intentions of support or investment. Hear the response from the province’s minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services CBC On the island interview with Amrick Virk. The government claims it was simply asking too much to supply the $1 million to refurbish the new space.

Evans said the move, in the timeframe the government has determined, is impossible given the size of the collection. “It’s actually British Columbia’s collection, and the Society looks after it for the public.”

Museum consultant Tim Willis spoke out very strongly about the loss of a visible, high-profile location for B.C.’s Maritime Museum, saying that cities all over the world are doing the opposite of B.C.: investing in maritime museums, because they tell “a crucial part of our story, and they’re wonderful economic generators as well.” Willis says he is angered at the position the Museum has been placed in, and is very worried about the larger implications for Victoria and the province if it loses this space. Hear the full interview: https://soundcloud.com/cbcvictoria/museum-consultant-tim-willis-on-the-bc-maritime-museum

Like Willis, this is more than a passing concern for me. The provincial government’s failure to support a viable, prominent location for the more than 10,000 artifacts of maritime heritage on this coast makes me very angry. At present, the massive collection is being catalogued and moved for storage in another government-owned archival facility. (Note the use of the word “storage”, not “display”.) This move means more than the loss of a public storefront for visitors. It also means wasting hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars because dismantling this museum and rehousing it in a much smaller facility is akin to taking apart a boat or a complicated engine: it takes no time to take apart, but about 1,000 times longer to put it back together again.

Also, there is the loss of community and shared knowledge: without a common location that gathers together the archival materials, research libraries, physical artifacts AND a display place for visitors to come learn about our history, you risk losing the dozens of volunteers who currently come to contribute their shared knowledge that makes up a rich body of cultural understanding. Without a place to come to, to research, to cross-link stories and artifacts, you will lose not only the past, but the present remembered collection, as well.

And third, we are losing focus and vision as a province. If the MMBC is forced to come up with its own funds to get a small storefront space, with the majority of its collection “out of sight, out of mind”, what does that say about the priorities of this province? Does B.C. even recognize that we are a maritime province, built by boats and waterways, and that this maritime heritage is a valuable economic and cultural resource that should be invested in, rather than hidden away?

Personally, I’m appalled at how this entire process has devolved. I’m even more discouraged than ever at our government’s lack of foresight, vision, and its misguided priorities. And professionally, as a documentary filmmaker, I’m going to keep a close eye on whether this government will continue to shutter our province’s maritime and cultural assets, rather than promoting them to the world, and what that means for the future of our Dorothy.

Sailing out of boat show season

Boat show season is finally – and sadly – over for us on the West Coast. With the trio of shows in Vancouver, Victoria and then Port Townsend lining up classic boats like wooden ducks in a row, it’s hard to get back to regular life.

AJA at Vancouver WB fest 2014At the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival, Tony Grove got to show his newly acquired Atkins schooner, AJA (above). The following weekend in Victoria (Dorothy‘s home port), the Maritime Museum of BC hosted the opening of their Classic Boat Fest. In all likelihood, that was the last time they will host festivalgoers at their Bastion Square location as the Museum just announced plans to move to the former CPR Steamship building – which is on the waterfront, hurrah!

And finally, Port Townsend and the Northwest Maritime Center hosted their 38th gosh-darned wonderful Wooden Boat Show, a chance for us Canadians to immerse ourselves in the rich maritime heritage pride that is so honoured by our friends to the south. It was just… so good! (Big shout out to the ever-ebullient Carol Hasse for hosting the Great Canadian Sleepover!)

To cap it off, Tony and I made fast friends with some fellow video- and boat-lovers, Steve Stone, Eric Blake and Erik Sayce of the wunder-video site Off-Center Harbor (based in Brooklin, Maine.) If you haven’t already signed up for their wildly popular wealth of videos, you should – because they are the fastest growing video site out there, featuring beautiful boats, tricks of the trade, restoration stories and just plain good storytelling. Thanks for featuring our story on your “Flotsam” section, guys!

I (Tobi) even got to do some filming for/with them, and just to give you a taste of some stories that might be coming down the pipe from OCH, here’s some screenshots from my footage (Schooner Race, ADVENTURESS, SPARKLE, TEAL):

My favourite so far is this shot of Harbourmaster Daniel Evans scrubbing down his ship’s hull while ADVENTURESS was underway in the schooner race so she’d look nice and purdy for the shot! Daniel, who also co-captains the education schooner ADVENTURESS, does a fantastic job year after year fitting all the beautiful boats into Port Townsend harbour, kindly zipped me around in his festival boat so I could get my shots. Have you ever met a better group than the Port Townsend festival organizers? They are sweethearts, all of them!

Cap'n Dan scrubbing ADVENTURESSIf anyone has any great photos from the trio of boat shows, we’d love to see them! We’ll post some of ours on our Facebook page in the coming days, so LIKE us to see what caught our eyes, and and free to share any of yours there. What were your favourite boats in the shows?

In other news…

IMG_1542We’ve been delighted to welcome some visitors to Tony Grove’s shop the last few days – well, visitors to Dorothy, to be more precise. Yesterday a group from Colorado (Mary Ann and Bernie), and New Hampshire (Barbara and Tom Bolko) dropped in. They had made their way from Victoria all the way to wee Gabriola island just to get a look at Dorothy and meet Tony. It was wonderful! Such fun to recount some of Dorothy‘s history, and talk a bit about where our old gal is at now with the restoration.

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Barbara (2nd from right, above) also happens to be an academic coordinator at The Landing School of Wooden Boat Building and Yacht design in Arundel, Maine. She’s pictured below with Cy Hamelin, a legend in the field of yacht design.

So please, please do come visit! We love taking the time to talk a bit about Dorothy and her history and restoration. It sure fires me up again when I’m tempted to get tired of the (s)logging process, which I’m in the middle of now. (Logging: watching and taking notations on every shot so we can begin assembling a script, which is the most arduous process of filmmaking.) So much footage! Hours of restoration,  interviews, and the shooting we did last year at the Victoria Classic Boat Festival (where Dorothy will hopefully relaunch next summer, fingers crossed)…

But it’s all good. The more I watch the more I’m convinced this is going to be one amazing, beautiful wooden loveboat story, so stay tuned.

Logging Dorothy footageCheers, Tobi Elliott

 

 

 

 

Heritage Afloat – a week celebrating BC’s maritime heritage

HBC Newsletter header Feb 2014

February 17-23 is Heritage Week in British Columbia, and this year’s theme is wonderfully titled “Heritage Afloat”.

A not-for-profit, charitable organization supporting heritage conservation across British Columbia, Heritage BC writes this about choosing the theme for 2014: it “recognizes how our lakes, rivers and ocean coastline created a complete transportation network for a resource economy. From First Nations settlement and culture, to the first European exploration, to historic shipwrecks and lighthouses, to fish canneries and floating logging camps, water is an important key to our history.”

I love how everything in BC comes back to water – indeed Dorothy could not have survived so long without it! You can download BC Heritage’s Winter Quarterly newsletter here, which includes our story, DOROTHY: A living legend sets sail again.

I wrote the article’s intro almost absently, thinking of how many wooden boats must have perished, and how miraculous it is that Dorothy, of thousands of boats on this coast, would have survived. I would love to know your thoughts on this:

“The care of a classic wooden boat can be a delicate, uncertain thing. The fact that Dorothy has survived not only intact, but as a fast and sea-kindly little yacht for more than a century is owed in equal parts to her luck, her beauty and her solid Pacific northwest timbers.”

Happily going along with the theme that fits their mandate so well, the BC Maritime Museum asked Tony Grove, the shipwright currently working on Dorothy for her return to the water this fall, and I to give a talk at the Museum this week about Dorothy‘s restoration and some of the intriguing facts we’ve turned up in the course of researching her life. All are invited to come!

1 p.m. Wednesday Feb 19
28 Bastion Square, Victoria, BC

And… If you happen to tune in to CBC’s morning radio show On the Island with Gregor Craigie on a regular basis, you may drop in on a delightful conversation about our own lovely Dorothy tomorrow morning. Gregor recently spoke with Tony Grove and Angus Matthews, one of Dorothy‘s previous owners still very much involved in her life, to get the latest on the vessel’s restoration drama. The segment will air either Tuesday or Wednesday, and we wanted to give you the heads up so you can listen in. If you’re not on the island, you may be able to catch the live stream online here.

Remember: All manner of wonderful things float on water… but loveliest of all is the wooden boat.

Hope to see you Wednesday!

– te

New season, new start, new shoot!

Tony Grove sanding Dorothy with Festool RO 125sander

Welcome back, Dorothy fans!

We are long overdue for an update and I do apologize for having left you so long. I hope your holidays were merry, restful and gave you time to set your sights on the exciting times coming ahead.

There was actually a lot of downtime here at Dorothy HQ over the holidays. Some was planned, some was not…

The unplanned downtime was due to Tony Grove (our amazing shipwright), getting in a rather nasty car accident just before Christmas on Gabriola’s SINGLE night of snow – as vintage ’65 Dodge vans apparently aren’t known for skilled snow negotiation– resulting in 1 broken van, 1 broken shoulder and 7 broken ribs. Ouch!

Poor Tony! But fear not, he’s come through amazingly, and with no apparent lasting damage. Apart from lots of pain in the first few weeks (anyone who made him laugh was promptly banned from the house!) and having to spend far more hours propped up on the couch than he was used to, he’s weathered it just fine. I’m happy to report that Tony is back on his feet and able to do more each day. It might be a few weeks yet until work can begin again on Dorothy, but he’s managed to stay busy in the meantime.

And there’s lots in the pipeline for the coming few weeks, so we are actually glad for a nice rest. Here’s a look at what’s coming:

– Tony finished his painting of Dorothy (yay!) just before his accident, and he’s very happy with the results. I must say her fantail has never been so beautifully highlighted! He’s framing it today for shipping soon. It was a commission for the Vancouver Law Society. We shot still frames as the painting developed, which have turned out GREAT and will an amazing tool for the documentary. [Photo to come – just have to wait til the client sees it first]

– AND we look forward to making a canvas reproduction of the Dorothy painting to give away to the biggest donor in our fall Indiegogo fundraiser. So nice to give gifts! That’s been one of my favourite parts of fundraising.

the German yacht magazine, YACHT, is sending a team to photograph and write a feature on Dorothy‘s restoration in mid-February

Tony Grove sanding Dorothy with Festool sander

Festool (a German manufacturer of premium equipment) has asked Tony to participate in their “Sand, Finish, Pass” promotion, in which they give out a Rotex RO 125 Multi-Mode Sander to woodworking specialists around the continent to test in the unique conditions of their own workplace. Tony is the only boatbuilder participating in the promotion, and we think they’re pretty lucky to get their sander tested on our precious Dorothy! Check out their Facebook page for some recent photos (actually screengrabs from the video Tobi is shooting for the contest)

– Tony and I (Tobi) will be speaking about Dorothy‘s restoration on Gabriola, in an event put together by the Gabriola Historical and Museum SocietyThursday, January 30 | Phoenix Auditorium at The Haven Doors open at 6:30, presentation at 7:00 | Admission by donation.

– Tony Grove will be speaking again in Victoria at the Maritime Museum of B.C. during Maritime Heritage week, Feb 17-23. Check out the MMBC’s snazzy new website in the meantime for details.

– this month, Heritage BC is featuring an article on Dorothy in their quarterly magazine to celebrate their theme “Heritage Afloat”

– we are looking forward to an interview with Sheryl MacKay of CBC’s NXNW morning show, probably at the end of this month. We’ll post details on when it goes to air.

and… finally… some real work. Tobi gets to pick up the camera again tomorrow to meet a very special person in Dorothy‘s life. This amazing person learned to sail on Dorothy, as the lovely boat belonged to their family about 5 decades ago. We are very much looking forward to this and have waited a loonnng time for this piece of the Dorothy history to fall into place. More on that this weekend, with some photos for sure.

Dorothy under garboards- seams reefed-T.Elliott

Dorothy is still patiently waiting for visitors to come see her in this incredibly beautiful state: wood sanded down to the grain, planks exposed, her “stuffing” taken out. So if you have a hankering to see this beautiful little ship, send Tony or I a note and arrange a visit. Once Tony gets back to work she won’t be like this for long! This shipwright moves fast, so get here while you can!

And finally, I believe I have sent out most, if not all, the gifts and thank yous for the donations that came in. IF you’re missing yours and I overlooked you somehow, please PLEASE send an email to tobi [at] tobielliott [dot] com and gently remind me! It wasn’t on purpose. There’s just a lot of things to keep tabs on. Doin’ my best…

Thanks for all your support. Keep sharing your stories and telling us what you are up to!

Tobi & Tony

Digging down to gold

Date: 1910 "Dorothy wins international race." Courtesy MMBC archives

Date: 1910 “Dorothy wins international race.” Courtesy MMBC archives

When I first learned that Tony Grove would be restoring Dorothy for the Maritime Museum of B.C., my immediate thought was, “Someone must document this!” But when I actually visited the MMBC and scanned through the treasure chest of supporting material chronicling her life on this coast – the photos, the wealth of logbook entries and letters of correspondence between her first owner, W.H. Langley, and her designer, Linton Hope – I realized this story could be much more than a documentary about the restoration process, it could be a wonderfully rich and substantial love story about sailing on this coast. 

Now, to those of you who love watching how-to videos of wooden boat restorations, (forgive me if I’m wrong here) but if we only focused on the restoration drama that’s happening in Tony Grove’s shop, the rest of the world would quickly bored. There’s only so much sanding, scraping and plank replacing that one can watch! Although a “restoration documentary” would have its own narrative arc, we need to see why people are going to such lengths to save this boat. What is so compelling about Dorothy? Why has she survived this long? 

Truth is, a wooden boat doesn’t survive for over a century, with 80-90% of her original planking intact, by chance. She had to have had an extraordinary level of care throughout her life. Someone, at every point of her life, was either sailing her, saving her, restoring her or searching for a better steward for her care than they could presently give. That is what I love about the Dorothy story: the drama lies in those who sacrificed over the years to keep her alive and sailing. 

Even if you don’t have a sailboat, have never sailed, or don’t like boats or the water, you likely have something in your life that gives it added meaning and depth. Not only can we grow in character from learning attention and care, responsibility and stewardship from loving humans, but beautiful objects, too, can make us grow. We all need something to love.

And the more you care for your lovely thing, whether it be a home, a guitar, a bike, or a VW Doc Bus! as my friend Mandy Leith can attest to, the more you learn how to keep your lovely thing in the best possibly condition, and the more your heart expands.

By focussing on the romance and relationship between a beautiful, functional object (or being) that brings you joy, and you, as the human stewarding its care, I hope to make this story universally appealing.

Here are some photos I recently discovered on my recent “dig” through the Museum’s archives:

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Dorothy Archives

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Campaign is still on for another 11 days! http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary/x/1371948

Don’t delay, if you have thought about contributing to the documentary but haven’t yet, we could use your help now! We are at $5,560 and need to raise $10,000 for vital shoots this summer and fall.

Please spread the word and help make this campaign a success. Thank you!

Love, Tobi