Category Archives: Between Wood and Water

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

Dorothy loses her rubrail

Dorothy stern end no rubrail-Tony GroveLast week, shipwright Tony Grove began cutting off Dorothy‘s rubrail, which was rotting and posing a danger to the integrity of her hull. There’s a bit of a debate right now as to whether Dorothy was originally designed with a rubrail, but there’s no question that the rubrail she currently has (had) was put on fairly recently, in the last half of the century.

This rubrail had been made of red oak, which is a hardwood, but one that doesn’t hold up well in the marine environment. It was literally rotting away – deeply in some places – affecting the planks immediately beneath it. It’s fitted along Dorothy‘s sheerline, where the deck meets the hull. and sticks out about 1 inch to prevent the vessel from being damaged if something were to rub up against her hull. Rubrails can also be used to cover the overlap of the decking material.

Some argue Dorothy looks better – cleaner , more shapely – without it. What do you think?

Images below are pulled from footage shot October 2013, by Tobi Elliott © Arise Enterprises. (Some images will look a bit jagged because they are pulled off a preview version of the video footage. If you’re viewing this on in your email, the full gallery of images will appear much better on the original blog post at dorothysails.com)

The gallery below shows how Tony painstakingly cuts out around each fastening using a Fein reciprocating cutter, then chips away the wood to unscrew or, in some cases, unhappily snap the bad fastenings off that have rusted or rotten into the wood, which enables him to pry off the rubrail.

NOTE: We have extended our fundraiser for the documentary about Dorothy, which you can find here at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary We have some amazing new “thank you gifts” available, among them jewellery pendants made from original copper fastenings removed from Dorothy, and turned into works of art by noted silversmith and jeweller Lindsay Stocking Godfrey, for $100. Check out the site, we are accepting donations for 2 more weeks!

Below: after taking off the rubrail, Tony uncovered this upper starboard side plank that appeared so rotten he just had to pry it off to see how extensively the rot had spread beneath. Thankfully once he got a look inside he could see the rot hadn’t spread far. All images © Arise Enterprises.

Removing rotten stern plank Ripping off rotten stern plank Looking into stern rotten plank hole

The campaign of a lifetime

I just looked at the stats for our Indiegogo campaign fundraiser for the Dorothy documentary. In 25 days, since Sept 13, there have been 36 separate contributions, for a total of $2,785 – and… this is the best part… ONLY 5 days when NO ONE donated.

Isn’t that incredible?! Each of the 20 days, someone out there sat down and thought, “I want to support this project and help get this film made,” and then picked a perk and gave out of their hard-earned money.

Campaign update week 4

To me, that’s a miracle. Maybe from where you’re sitting, you look at this campaign and think, “They are so far from their goal! What are they thinking? Almost $7,000 to go and only 3 weeks left? What can she be happy about?”

But let me tell you, from where I sit, this is an amazing thing that’s happening, and I am deeply thankful for each and every person who has stepped forward to give.

Because it’s not about how much is raised. Really.

Truly.

Although my credit card company will tell you differently – that it’s very MUCH about how much we raise – I can’t this of this project in terms of dollar amounts.

I think of it in terms of how many people have been moved by Dorothy‘s story. Because that’s why I got on board. Not because this was going to be a great commercial enterprise. Not because I wanted to make a film that would bring in tons of money (otherwise I would have made it a reality series, with Tony Grove throwing mallets around the shop or something, and not an actual, quality documentary, which promises to make no money whatsoever.) Not because I knew a lot about boats or I was a die-hard sailor or I just love sawdust or boat shops or whatever.

Nope. I did it simply because Dorothy captured my heart, with her quiet elegance, her sublime design, and her pedigreed planks. She is simply beautiful, she is a living piece of history and she deserves centre stage. 

So for me, success would be that more and more people get interested and invested in this story every day, and want to see this film made. Raising funds is elementary. Raising community is much more exciting.

We will get there, no question.

Will you be aboard with us?

In faith and lots of gratitude, this (Canadian) Thanksgiving, Tobi

PS. I just found out via Facebook that an update on Dorothy‘s restoration is going to be featured in the “Currents” Section of Wooden Boat Magazine’s upcoming Nov/Dec Issue. Now, talk about exciting community!

Picking the (story) seams

Work is again progressing on Dorothy, even as we run this campaign to fund the documentary.

This week, Tony has picked up chisel and mallet (and all those other tools specific to boatbuilding that I can’t name here) to begin picking out the seams in earnest. He’s glad to get back to work on Dorothy again – and I must say, that after all the different skill sets I’ve had to pick up to run this kind of funding campaign, it’s frankly nice to pick up the camera again. I am, after all, a storyteller more than a campaigner!

Yesterday, Tony got to remove a big patch on Dorothy‘s starboard side to see what lay below. It was above the waterline and such an obvious repair that it stuck out like a sore thumb in every shoot we did. It was interesting to see what happened to the cotton and oakum caulking under that patch, relative to the still-intact caulking in the rest of her planks. Imagine – a twisted line of oakum and cotton with linseed oil pounded into these seams… lasting 116 years! It’s remarkable.

But we can’t tell you here, you’ll have to wait for the documentary!

Our fundraising campaign to be able to keep shooting this documentary is still on. We have raised $2,115 so far – yay! – but it’s only 20% of our goal and we have 27 days to go! We need AT LEAST $10,000 to be able to continue into this winter and next summer, when Dorothy is re-launched in Victoria in summer 2014 to sail again. Please help us spread the word about this important historical documentary – and the story of the most beautiful boat on the west coast!

Also don’t forget tomorrow is VIDEO FRIDAY, when we reveal a short clip from featuring either Tobi Elliott with a campaign update, or some footage from the film. Tune into this channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/telliottjournalist) to watch previous videos and to find out what’s on.

So please pass the word around, share on your Facebook and blogs about the campaign. It’s really easy to donate at the site: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary/ and it will help us hugely! Thank you!

 For now. I’ll let some of the images from yesterday’s shoot take it away:

And… additional bonus, can anyone tell us the name of this traditional tool (or technique) used exclusively by boatbuilders? Email dorothysails [at] gmail [dot] com and your name will be entered in a draw for a prize at the end of the campaign!

Mystery thing pounded into rubrail holes-Sshot Oct 2-2013

 

 

Dorothy Documentary fundraiser is live!

The homepage for our fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 for production

The homepage for our fundraising campaign to raise $10,000 for production

We are just 5 days in to our online crowdfunding campaign for the documentary about Dorothy, and already we have 5 lovely donors! Thank you to all who have donated or spread the word – we couldn’t do this without you.

If you haven’t heard about the campaign yet, check it out here: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary/ and watch the video. (and watch Tobi + Dorothy as never seen before…)

We have done all we can to film up until now out of our own pockets and time. But a documentary of this depth – with archival images, the retelling of sailing stories from long-ago owners, and some real beauty shots to show the love of sailing on this coast – requires a serious treatment. And this is where YOU come in.

Crowdfunding means many people (a “crowd”) from around the world each chip in a little to help meet a big goal. We don’t need a lot from each person, but we do need you to spread the word so a lot of people get on board. And then we can easily meet our goal!

You can help us out with 4 really simple steps: 1. Watch the video; 2. Pick a perk (gift) at the level you want to donate, 3. “Contribute” and off you go! (You need only a credit card or Paypal account.) and then 5. SPREAD THE WORD.

All funds go directly to production, making sure we don’t miss a beat in shooting this amazing story of Dorothy’s restoration, happening now on Gabriola Island.

Thanks for your help.

Love, love, Tobi and Team

Tobi, as excited now as on the first day of shooting, almost 1 year ago! Photo credit: Klint Burton

Tobi, as excited now as on the first day of shooting, almost 1 year ago! Photo credit: Klint Burton

Off to see the Boats… the beautiful, beautiful boats!

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So we’re on our way!! (Left: Kate Bradford, our director of photography, in a rare moment in front of the camera)

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We’re off to the Classic boat festival this long weekend with a truck full of gear (see right- the exposed blimp and box of tee-shirts? this is how movies are made…) to capture some magical boat shots and interviews with people CRAZY about wooden boats. This is the first shoot that isn’t totally Dorothy-focussed, and I think it’ll be nice to get some light touches and atmospheric colour for the film. Not everything has to be about Dorothy – does it?

If this afternoon’s brief time with Angus and Sandy Matthews is any indication, we’re in for a fantastic shoot. They were marvelous! I was so captivated by the conversation that I didn’t even remember to pull out my camera for a photo, so we’ll have to get them another time (they are very photogenic, by the way… )

Owners of Dorothy in the 70s until 1984, they actively sailed her as a young family and did much to keep her alive. Angus confessed a secret about what he did for Dorothy while she was under his care – which Tony Grove said did much to keep her in good condition – which we have sworn not to reveal. But something we can tell you… It was Angus who provided Dorothy with the gift of a full suit of Fogh sails, which are waiting for her return to the water even now (thanks to his brother, an Olympic sailor who worked for Fogh.) We learned during our time with them this afternoon that it was apparently the first suit of gaff-rigged sails Fogue had ever done!

Then, the photos came out. Oh my, there are some beautiful shots of Dorothy under sail like I’ve never seen before! They will for sure make the film. Can’t put them up yet as we left in such haste for the ferry that they will have to wait until after Victoria and Port Townsend boat shows.

I’m personally so stoked to meet the many people who have written us or talked about hearing the Dorothy and are looking forward to the film. And we have some amazing volunteers who stepped forward to help us sell T-shirts (which fly out of the box whenever they come out) and enlist people in our doc film community – thank you especially to Harry Martin, a volunteer for the MMBC who has come over to see Dorothy a number of times and already has done so much for us in organizing help and volunteers. Thank you Harry!

Thank you everyone who has stepped forward to help, or even give encouragement that they are eager to see the film. THIS is how films are made… as a team, for a community, with passion and diligence and no small amount of sweat and persistence. So thank you again. We can’t do this without you.

And now, if you want a moment of levity, go to the Dorothy Documentary Indiegogo Kickoff party event on Facebook and look up the ridiculous video I posted yesterday to reveal the party location! It’s going to be an amazing event, full of artists who are donating beautiful work for the fundraiser, tapas by some incredible local chefs, music and dancing and oysters and Dark n’ Stormys, oh my! Please join, even if you can’t come personally, join virtually! Sign in and you can see my new video pitch for the film, get some photos of the action and download the dance mix curated by Bryan. It’s going to be a blast, so come if you can!

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More to come from the amazing festival grounds, for now, off to the Sticky Wicket to meet our team and plan out the weekend…

Much love, Tobi

So what’s a Dorothy Doc Indiegogo, anyway?

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Producer Tobi Elliott and the amazing Allana Thorne of Thorne Crate Co. (www.thornecrateco.ca) at the Gabriola Street Arts and Fair last Sunday, promoting the Dorothy documentary and Tee-shirts, AND the best lil’ gift crates you’ve ever seen!

Dear Dorothy Documentary Supporter and Fan,

You may be new to the Dorothy team, or you’ve recently seen the project in the media, or you might have been with us since we started shooting the restoration process in December 2012 at Tony Grove‘s shop — or you are so excited about Dorothy you jumped on board and bought a T-shirt at the fair last weekend!

Wherever you come from… WELCOME to the adventure, THANK YOU for joining the team, and KUDOS for being one of the rockstars helping create this documentary.

I have to admit, I’m a little nervous right now… because on Sept 12 I am launching the biggest campaign of my life on Indiegogo.com, an online social fundraising platform.

Indiegogo – which is like Kickstarter but more global and less U.S.-based – allows anyone around the world to support a project and boost it from idea to reality. This campaign is to be able to fund some of the production costs for the documentary about the restoration of Dorothy, the oldest sailboat in Canada, happening right now on Gabriola.

Together with my awesome co-producer Kate Bradford, we developed a solid storyline for the doc (that wowed broadcasters and many filmmakers I look up to) captured some great interviews with previous owners, and have the Maritime Museum of B.C.’s total support in accessing the rich library of Dorothy archives. So lots of good news. The hard part is that we’ve had to personally finance the project, because broadcasters across Canada aren’t into supporting this kind of film (*another story! later date*)

Although we are totally committed to and passionate about this documentary, the financial load is a lot to carry, so we’re opening up the project to ask for community support. So, what IS this campaign about, and where are we headed?

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Here’s how it works:

1. SEPT 12 VIRTUAL AND ACTUAL LAUNCH PARTY at a yet-to-be-disclosed location, featuring the film trailer and a new video clip of Tobi getting embarassingly real and honest with her fundraising pitch. And of course there will be dancing and good tunes curated by some amazing friends of mine. You can even come if you’re in Montreal or the Azores, just log in to Indiegogo and give us some love.

2. SPREAD THE WORD: Through our website and Facebook page, I let people know the campaign has begun, and where the ‘Dorothy Documentary’ site is. The more people who are aware of the campaign and are getting our newsletters, the better chance we have of getting off to a good start – so please encourage people to enter their email in the “FOLLOW DOROTHY” box on our front page!

3. DONATE: People around the world can log in and donate any amount they want toward the production, or donate anonymously.

4. GET AWESOME SWAG IN RETURN: Donors get a perk at the level they donate after the campaign is over, such as a Tony Grove print, a crate of handcrafted goodies from Gabriola Island, a lovely package of natural facial care products, a work of art (the list of donor artists is growing by the day!), a Dorothy T-shirt, or a Hi-res download of Dorothy under sail from a period of your choice. Donors in the US can claim a charitable tax receipt because I’m working with a fiscal sponsor in the U.S., From the Heart Productions.

5. BE PROUD AND SING IT LOUD: You tell people that you just gave to the Dorothy documentary, and encourage them to do the same.

6. SUCCESS! We reach our goal of $20,000 to keep filming through this fall and winter without too much stress, and celebrate with YOU and a great party on October 30th! Yay!

Indiegogo homepage

To know more about Indiegogo, I encourage you to browse the site and read some active campaigns. As the world’s largest democratic global fundraising platform, they help 1000s of innovative projects – from unbreakable sunglasses to better socks, from the newest smartphone technology to in-vitro fertilization for an struggling couple to have a baby – get off the ground.

Final note: this campaign is not about money, it’s about community.

It’s true – I don’t actually have all the resources to pay what it takes to make this the beautiful film Dorothy deserves. But it’s not financial need that’s driving this campaign. It’s the thrill of not doing it alone.

As a filmmaker, I stumble around the world trying to understand things through the lens of a camera and audio recorder. Most of the time, when I come across a story I see a glimpse of something great, and then labour in quiet agony for years trying to capture the essence of that story for the world to see. (See “The Trapper of Peace River”) It’s a lonely and often heartbreaking process. And, I found out, it doesn’t really work.

You can’t make a film in a vacuum. Filmmaking takes a community. And documentaries, because they pick up on on social and cultural threads that touch all of us, are even more so. And frankly it’s not fun to bang your head against the wall in some kind of gloomy misunderstood-artist funk, and do it alone.

So I abandoned that idea, enlisted the help of some able friends, and wow, then things started to really get cooking! So many great things have happened since we began opening this up to the global community of Gabriolans and boat lovers and documentary fans that I know we are on the right track. People want to get involved, want to help, want to cross-promote and assist.

People are basically lovely, giving, generous human beings. I love people.

So thanks *all you wonderful people* for coming on this journey. It’s just so darned exciting to do things together.

Let’s make a movie.

Love, Tobi

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Pick up a copy of the Times Colonist today

20130816-170635.jpgOver here at Dorothy restoration headquarters, we were pretty happy to read the lovely article on Dorothy’s restoration written up by Victoria’s Times Colonist today: “Old boat gets new love”, by Richard Watts.

It’s a great read on its own merits, but also very interesting for me (Tobi) personally to see what another journalist sees in this story. I love that Watts puts Dorothy into context with other vessels, neither puffing up her importance or putting her down. For instance, he quotes Tony saying, “She hasn’t been around the world or done anything dramatic. She has just kept going along. She is just a well-built little boat. Now her claim to fame is she is the oldest functioning sailboat in Canada, which is pretty substantial.”

And he highlights the archaeological investigation into Dorothy‘s physical history, citing Tony’s surprise about the small construction details that differ from today’s methods. And… he quotes me saying something actually articulate nice about the “legacy of care” that has kept Dorothy alive all these years.

So… nice read, and thanks Richard!

If you have the opportunity, pick the paper up today. The article also lives online at
Times Colonist.com/old-boat-gets-new-love

– Much love, Tobi

Global TV News story on Dorothy link is LIVE!

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Just one month until our Indiegogo production funding campaign begins! More on that in next week’s post… because right now there’s a lot of exciting news to share.

Last week saw a lot of press for Dorothy with both Global TV News and CBC Radio covering the restoration of this little gem of maritime history. In a stroke of terrible lack of foresight, neither Tony Grove – the wooden boat builder tasked by the Maritime Museum of BC with the restoration project – or I got to see the news piece but now it’s online.

So here’s the link: GLOBAL DOROTHY STORY. Please share around, put it on your Facebook pages, and tell your friends about it. Also please LIKE our Dorothy Documentary page as well!

(I clipped most of CBC-Radio’s On the Island’s morning show interview with me, so if you haven’t heard it, you can listen to a recording of it here on my personal website’s blog.)

Annnndd… more great news… Victoria’s Times Colonist is working on a major article about Dorothy right now, and I believe it will come out in tomorrow’s (Friday) paper. They said the article should have a prominent spot because there are lots of great photos (both Tony and Dorothy being rather pretty, as most will agree after watching the clip) so that is JUST AWESOME.

I’m heartened by all this great press and incredibly thankful for it, because it’s causing people to think about Dorothy as not just a relic of history, but as a contemporary story that can move hearts and minds. It’s bringing the global community of boat lovers and storytellers together — which is exactly what we need to make this documentary a reality.

We’re getting so much great feedback: So happy you’re doing the doc. It’s great to have this local story being shared”, “Love the up-dates… one kind of feels a part of something amazing this way,” and so many people writing to say they can’t wait for the documentary, they want a Dorothy t-shirt or to make a donation, that I know we are on the right track. If YOU believe in us and are helping us, we can make this important historical documentary an extraordinary story that will be seen around the world.

On Monday, I’ll write about how we’re going to use the power of community and the social fundraising website Indiegogo to help fund the production, and how you can help. Meantime, share the video around, and keep an eye out for that article in the Victoria Times Colonist.

And have a happy and safe almost-weekend – Love, Tobi

Indiegogo homepage

CBC-Radio and Global TV Coverage

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Happy Friday to all!

I don’t know how many in the Victoria area got a chance to hear this morning’s LIVE interview with CBC Radio’s “On the Island” Morning show with Kahlil Aktar about Dorothy and the documentary I’m producing. It’s been awhile since my live radio hits in Dawson Creek, BC, as an Astral-Media reporter and there was sooo much in my head to talk about, that I’ll have to listen again to actually hear what came out of my mouth!

Since the Dorothy story was featured in Pacific Yachting magazine and Western Mariner, there has been a bit more media interest in what I think should be a national story. (er… finally!)

Also, on Wednesday, a shooter for Global BC TV News showed up and the segment aired province-wide last night. Unfortunately, neither Tony Grove or I got to see it as neither of us has a TV hooked up to anything other than Netflix! So…. if anyone by incredible stroke of chance recorded the evening newscast, please let us know and we’ll get a courier to your doorstep ASAP! I’m eager to see what the videographer picked up as a storyline. The show producer might be able to send us the segment and I’ll post it here if that happens.

Meantime, I did manage to make a recording of my interview this morning with Kahlil. Sorry it cuts off at the end but the only way I could get it from my phone to computer was trimming and emailing – iTunes apparently having a bug when it comes to transferring voice memos.

Oh technology, how character-building it is when you fail us just when we need you….

Anyway, been nice chatting, meantime I have to get some work done – and so, probably, do you! Click here to listen to my CBC interview about ​Dorothy, the oldest sailboat in Canada, and my documentary Between Wood and Water on her restoration. 

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Have a great weekend everyone, Tobi