Category Archives: Restoration

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

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

 

 

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!

Global News Restoration Story Aug 12-image

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

20130806_GlobalTV shoot_1340

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. 

20130806_GlobalTV shoot_1304 20130806_GlobalTV shoot_1322

Have a great weekend everyone, Tobi

Off to mail some t-shirts, and back to watch some news coverage

20130806-124401.jpg
Heigh ho, heigh ho- it’s off to the ferry I go! I’m stepping off my beloved tiny island to the bigish town of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island to put some tees in the mail. They’re headed to New Westminster, Ottawa and Abbotsford. A big thank you to all the new supporters who asked for and bought a Dorothy Tee or three! Super happy to be able to send these off at last.

20130806-130245.jpg

It has been a busy week! Following a huge response to the Pacific Yachting story that came out last week, we (ok, I) spammed contacted conventional media outlets to see if any would be interested in covering the new developments in Dorothy‘s adventures, and indeed they are! Global TV News is sending a cameraman out of Victoria to interview Tony Grove this afternoon and get some shots of him working on the ol’ gal. So that’s nice! If I can just get him to shave now and stop using salty language…

And… drumroll please… I’ve set a date for our Indiegogo.com crowdsourcing production fundraiser to start!!! It begins in…

wait for it…

Less than a week! Aug 12 to be exact (my big sister’s birthday – <3 you Sis)

Yes, I'm going public with this story and need all the help I can get from Dorothy supporters worldwide. If you have an idea how you could help promote the campaign, do email me. And if you don’t know what crowd sourcing is, email me. Will write more about it in a few days and give you an idea of what you can do to help.

Check the blog later as I will post some pics of all the action this afternoon. Hope all goes well. Stay tuned!

– Tobi Elliott, Producer and Mail Queen

Dorothy makes the press – Pacific Yachting and Western Mariner

Red letter day for Dorothy! We are stoked to see Dorothy‘s story appear in two significant boating magazines, Pacific Yachting‘s August Wooden Boat Special, and Western Mariner (The Magazine of the Coast) in the “In the Boatshops” special section. Already people are writing to ask how they can support the documentary.

Pacific Yachting Aug 2013 wooden boat special issue

 

westernmariner-aug2013-cover.jpg

Western Mariner-Aug 2013 TOCPick up a copy at your nearby magazine stand, and write and tell us what you think!

– Happy sailing, Tobi

 

Unearthing the stories in Dorothy’s planks

20130727-131702.jpgI’m sitting on the edge of Pilot Bay, my home on Gabriola island, watching the high tide and choppy water push and play with two sailboats anchored out in front of me. I marvel at the interplay of boats and water (even if they are only “plastic boats”) and am thankful as always for the joy Dorothy has brought to my life, personally and as a documentary subject.

I could say I’ve always loved sailing, but it wouldn’t quite be true because until 2003, when I took time out for a serendipitous 5-month cruise aboard the Afterblue in the Bahamas and Cuba and back to Toronto, I’d never sailed at all. But as an avid reader from my childhood, I loved stories of boats, particularly Dove and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader in the Narnia series. There’s something about the unpredictability of adventure on the sea that makes every boat story a compelling one.

So I am thrilled every day that I get to work on the story of Dorothy, because every day is a true adventure with her. As Tony (the boatbuilder restoring Dorothy for the Maritime Museum of BC) was sanding down her port side hull last week, after tediously stripping the paint, we could see a potential story in every plank, and new questions arose about construction practices of the day: Her original planks are flat-sawn, not quarter-sawn like you would typically see today. Is that because of available wood at the time, or is there a technical reason for it? Those original planks were scarfed together – was that common practice rather than butting them end-to-end? There is a mix of materials used for paying the seams – lead putty, Portland cement, and even epoxy used for patches large and small – what’s the story here?

Tony likens this unearthing of stories hidden in Dorothy‘s planks to an archaeological dig, and I would add that it’s a dig motivated less by cold scientific investigation than by human curiosity and empathy. This is not some inert, long-deserted dinosaur bone site, but a cherished family boat restored over and over again through the years by men and women who loved her and sailed her. Some had the means to give her the best in boat-building craftsmanship and the finest materials available of the day. Some simply did what they could with the tools and understanding they had, incomplete though they might have been. But no matter what finesse has been applied, it’s largely because of the heart, diligence and sacrifice of every single one of her previous owners that loved and cared for her that Dorothy can stand in Tony’s shop today, 116 years old and still able to handle a refit that will put her back in the water.

Forgive my musings, I know you probably want more practical information on the restoration itself. But I promise you, I am capturing absolutely everything I can on film so you can see the wonderful process one day yourself!

Here are some images from the sanding and paint stripping process that Tony undertook last week on her port side. This week he ‘s stripping and sanding her starboard side but no photos as I am filming it in timelapse and don’t want to mess up the shots!!

Dorothy tees have arrived!

This beautifully designed, simple and elegant image of Dorothy has made its way onto T-shirts at last, and they are being snapped up by everyone who loves this beautiful boat. What do you think?

Dorothy T-shirts.jpg

I’m super excited and deeply grateful that so many people helped out with this first step in our campaign for production funding. Tony Grove, the restoration specialist working on Dorothy, is also a marine artist. He created an original illustration of Dorothy at sail that captures her gorgeous fantail (more of his distinctive artwork here: http://www.tonygrove.com/artwork/photo-gallery.php) Many thanks to Bryan McCrae of Filament Communications who rendered the image and added text, and Senini Graphics in Nanaimo who gave us a great rate and professionally silkscreened the tees.

Our new Tee-shirts have arrived! July 2013

Our new Tee-shirts have arrived! July 2013

There are about 20 women’s tees (soft, Gildan cotton V-necks), and 20 men’s (Gildan cotton crew necks) remaining, both in Navy. The suggested donation is $25, all of which goes directly to production costs for filming the documentary, Between Wood and Water, this summer and fall. For more info and shipping costs to a mailbox near you, email Tobi at dorothysails@gmail.com. We’ll be happy to send you one!

We are also pleased to announce that in mid-August we’ll be launching a brand-new, exciting campaign on Indiegogo – the world’s largest “crowd-sourcing” community for creative endeavours. Donations from ordinary people like you, in small and large amounts, will generate the support critical in the making of this documentary. Please encourage your friends, family, community, and everyone who loves boats and maritime history, to sign up on our website so we can update you on where the production is at: dorothysails.com

For the Indiegogo campaign, we are partnering with From the Heart Productions in California, a great company with an awesome track record of funding and supporting independent films, which gives us a fiscal sponsor in the U.S. That means donations from the U.S. get their donors a tax write-off. Bonus!

More than that, FTH President Carole Dean, who quite literally wrote the book on funding indie films, has been an invaluable mentor and asset in helping us reach our goal and get this documentary produced. More info on the campaign to follow, but for now, I encourage you to browse Indiegogo and check out the cool projects from around the world. There is so much creativity and heart out there!

Dorothy and her entourage are jumping aboard…

Love, Tobi

Sanding Dorothy and Screening Tees

Tony Grove boathull painting

We have some exciting news to report: a lovely breakthough for your favourite indie filmmakers:

Between Wood and Water – the documentary about the restoration of Dorothy, B.C.’s oldest and most beloved sloop – has attracted support from the National Film Board in the form of a filmmaker’s assistance grant!!! I heard that competition for the grant was particularly stiff this year, so the news is extremely heartening and we are well chuffed (English term) that a jury of Canada’s internationally esteemed film institution believes the Dorothy story is important. We thought so too!

The amount of money is not huge, (about 5% of what we need to complete production), but every little bit helps, and we are extremely grateful to the NFB for selecting this project.

(if you’ve never had the chance to check out the NFB’s unparalleled library of documentaries, animations and ground-breaking Canadian films, you really should, they are free online within in Canada. If you don’t know where to start, go to their curated playlists here.)

So as we prepare for our first major shoot of the restoration phase of this story in June, some things are going down:

1. Tony begins wooding Dorothy’s hull next week, stripping and sanding off the paint, to  reveal what’s going on and how extensive his work will be;

2. I am practicing my pitches for major networks congregating at the Banff media festival next weekend. One of them is of course the Dorothy documentary,  another is a maritime history and adventure series called Waterway Queens that was inspired by the research I did for Dorothy. The story of my opportunity at Banff can be read here, in an article in the Gabriola Sounder (this is what happens when you live on a small island: you make the local paper way more often.)

T-shirts-Dot-photo3. We are working on a fundraising campaign to raise needed production funds this summer. It MAY involve silkscreening “I love the Dorothy” T-shirts to sell (at right). Would you be interested in one? The graphic design is being done by one of the best designers I know, and Tony Grove himself drew Dorothy’s lines (see his artwork at top.)

Sanding Dorothy’s hull will be an arduous, dirty, dusty job, but the end, will result in the revelation of her beautiful wood, those ancient cedar planks that have stood the test of time. This very wood is what inspired me to pursue this story: the enduring relationship between wood and water.

Asking for money and running a fundraiser is not going to be particularly easy, either. But I know we have a great team to produce a great film, and so in the current climate of my industry, I have to be brave and find people and organizations to contribute. And this will result in relationships and connections to will last a lifetime, and I will be only one of many who can say “I produced a film” – because we ALL produced this film! It’s in this spirit of collectivity that many of the successful films are being made today.

The usual administrative hurdles remain to be overcome. As a production company, I may not actually be able to receive “gifts”, so one workaround might be simply to sell goods of varied pricing. (Coming soon: Dorothy T-shirts ranging from $25 – $200!) Hopefully I’ll have things worked out by next week, so those of you who have expressed interest in donating, thanks for your patience.

But when I think of the end result, I know it’s going to be worth it. We will have a film that speaks for those who love British Columbia’s maritime history. It will convey the passion of those who sacrifice so much for the vessels they love – wooden or otherwise. It will highlight the work of a wonderful contemporary artist – Tony Grove, and the art of boat restoration. It will promote the work of the B.C. Maritime Museum in Victoria, which is home to Canada’s largest library of nautical archives and has been keeping the maritime flame lit for over 40 years.

And it will speak to and inspire a new generation of men and women who, like the Teacher in Proverbs, find:

“There are three things that are too amazing for me,

four that I do not understand:

the way of an eagle in the sky,

the way of a snake on a rock,

the way of a ship on the high seas,

and the way of a man with a maiden.”

(Proverbs 30 18-19)

Victoria Classic boat fest poster2