Category Archives: Sailing

Port Townsend Boat Show Photo Round Up

Hi Dorothy fans,

Having just got back from the 41st Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, I can’t wait to show you some of the beauty. I have to say: a weekend is not enough time to see and absorb all the wooden boatiness that was to be seen! And the weather was truly PNW style: everything from wet and drizzly to dazzlingly sunny.

Here are some of my favourite shots:

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Friday night at rest in Point Hudson Harbour

Saturday was mostly a grey day, but no one in the PNW would shy away from getting on the water just because of a lack of sun!

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Slim bow of the 1926 Ted Geary-built “Pirate”. Mouthwatering. Follow Dorothy on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dorothysails1897/

Saturday night we had a spectacular full rainbow…
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and Sunday morning dawned perfectly bright and glorious…

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Sunday morning we witnessed the tradition of the bell ringing for those who crossed the bar in 2017. It hit all of of us particularly hard this year, as Johnny West was named and remembered. Carol Hasse did a beautiful job simply naming those who are missing among our nautical community. (I’ll post a video of the ceremony as soon as I get my new website, with lots of room for video, up and running.

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This email is overly long already, but before I close I wanted to post some hearty thanks:

  • to our friends Capt Bill and Brother Jim (his official title) who helped and hosted the Canadian (transient) population aboard Messenger III:

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  • to Hasse (can’t get a picture of her, she moves too quick!) aboard her ever-classy folkboat Lorraine:

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  • to Don and Janet who let many stay in their “Fish Holdtel” aboard Pacific and are always great fun to be with:

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  • to Michael aboard Stitch
  • and finally a massive shout out and many thanks for the good times to the Off Center Harbor crew, Steve Stone (pictured below left) and Eric Blake, who came out from Maine to spend their days collecting stories about our west coast fishboats, forestry boats and mission boats – which will come out soon in some spectacular video series on their website. If you haven’t signed up for their videos, you should definitely check it out because they do have the BEST boat video website going.

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And finally, if you aren’t following Dorothy’s Instagram account @dorothysails1897, you’re missing out on some action!

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A 1945 Norwegian Langesund sailing skiff called Havhesten, 19 ft of beauty. Oh so lovely! #sailing #skiff #porttownsend #pnwunplugged #pnwlife #woodenboat #woodenboatfestival #smallboats #classicboat #norwegian #dorothysails #dorothyatfest

I will follow up on news from Victoria’s Classic Boat Festival in the next few days, as well as info about how to order our new Anniversary Tees (1897-2017 = 120 years old!) and 2018 Calendars and Art Cards.

Til then, may fair winds keep you in good spirits and bright heart!

Tobi, Tony and Dorothy

Hooked on Wooden Boats Podcast

Hooked on Wooden boats

… is live! “Wooden Boat Dan” interviewed Tony and I at this year’s Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival, and he put together a great podcast featuring Dorothy‘s story.

Here it is: HookedOnWoodenBoats.com/148

If you ever wanted to hear a semi-complete (and rather meandering) history on Dorothy‘s previous owners and life on the west coast, this is your opportunity. And I must say, Tony did a great job describing Dorothy‘s current state and the boatbuilding techniques he’s employing to bring her back to life.

Thank you, Dan, for giving our Dorothy such a thoughtful treatment! It was a great experience to be interviewed by you and we really enjoyed your relaxed, “down-home” attitude.

Y’all should check out his website and catch up with his wealth of podcasts. Dan is doing great work.

Coming next week: an update with lots of photos showing the latest steps in her restoration. Tony has made significant changes in Dorothy’s bow section, and I’ll get him to describe how he used a “comealong” to pull together some big pieces that have separated over the years.

Have a wonderful Sunday, everyone.

Tobi and Tony

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

 

 

 

 

Hello Spring!

20140409-203418.jpgIf you’re privileged to live where Dorothy resides, somewhere along Canada’s beautiful, sandstone and rock-strewn northwest coast, you’re just experiencing the first rush of spring. While I won’t get all sappy about buds and flowers and newly turned earth here (ok maybe just a little), when the bright afternoons start outnumbering the grey, when water sheets along the ground instead of pouring from the sky, when the sharp smell of varnish permeates every shed and boaty barn, and when mere writers think themselves poets…

Oh yes, it’s spring.

And for boat lovers and their kind it means one thing above all else: getting a boat ready for the water.

Before I get to plans for Dorothy‘s preparation this spring, let me digress a bit to expose my own ignorance of the practice of caring for a boat. While I did once spend 5 months on a sailboat called Afterblue in an adventure in the Bahamas/Cuba/US-Canada (peruse the blog here, which contains a somewhat hilarious account of our slow chase by drug runners and then the U.S. Coast Guard), I am less versed in this art of looking after a boat than I should be.

Until Dorothy came into my life, I thought boats pretty much consisted of GPS systems, depth sounders, a Coleman stove and an anchor, my territory aboard the Afterblue. The condition of a boat’s hull, the soundness of her planks and care of rigging never entered into the equation.

But Dorothy has taken me on quite a different tack. Since this whole adventure began I have been longing for a boat. Interviewing her past owners is borderline torture. Hearing over and over how delightful she was to sail, how you could feel her just “dig in” on a broad reach and power forward… How “right” she felt in the water and how close you could be to heaven if you were the one at the tiller….

Why it’s enough to drive a land-bound girl mad!

20140409-210624.jpgSo, the cure for madness being more madness, I bought a boat. Well, it’s almost mine. I’ll pick her up this weekend. (Thank you to her previous owner, you know who you are, a lovely man who knows the value and beauty of a sound wooden boat). She’s a 15-foot wood centreboard sloop with canvas sails, built on nearby Galliano island in 1975. Very soon I’ll be joining the ranks of the varnish-obsessed, those who are privileged enough to moan about how much they must spend to keep their little yacht in sparkle and polish, and those who know the delights of a well-built boat and how it moves on the water. I cannot wait.

Photo by Tony Grove

Photo by Tony Grove

As for the inspiration herself, Dorothy, she stands in Tony’s shop, agelessly patient. Her caulking and chainplates are fully removed, she stands nakedly bare, patiently waiting for us to get on with her care. She reminds us of our duties with her very presence: every time Tony walks into the shop and raps his head on her fantail or her bow,  he says (out loud, on occasion) “Don’t worry Dorothy, I haven’t forgotten you darlin'”.

Tony is still healing from his car accident in December, but is taking on other projects while he picks away at Dorothy. Earlier this month he consulted with Ted Knowles, who is renowned for his caulking skills, who has agreed to come over and help re-caulk Dorothy. In the next few days Tony is going to take apart some of the interior up forward to be able to get to the floor timbers and lap joint. Bit at a time, her mysteries will yield.

So tell me your stories. What are you doing to get ready for the water, or are you already out there? Races, regattas coming up? Big changes in the life of your boat?

Please email us stories and photos at dorothysails [at] gmail.com

Oh! and here’s a neat story about the rescue and excavation of what is believed to be the world’s oldest yacht, Peggy, from a cellar on the Isle of Man. Built in 1789, a full 100 years earlier than Dorothy! Video here: http://www.bbc.com/news/26653991http://www.bbc.com/news/26653991

Looking forward to happy days ahead out on the water! Yours truly, Tobi Elliott

More gold!

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For those of you not on Facebook – and I know there are more than a few – I’m adding some of the images I took recently from my time at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. I was so delighted to discover that one of the club’s archivists had carefully searched every reference to “yachting” in the Victoria Times Colonist, and printed them out from microfiche records… Right back to the inception of the club in the 1890s! So it wasn’t too difficult to read through the 1896-1900 years and find references to WH Langley, Dorothy’s first owner, and his dealings with the Club. He was Club Commodore in 1904-06. He also served as the lawyer for the plaintiff when the Club sued the builder of its first clubhouse after it sank! And I got to read of the tragedy that befell the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in Victoria when a train carrying merrymakers to the waterfront so they could watch the yacht races and mock battles, crashed into the water, killing some 50 souls. The news accounts are so compelling I must admit I got sidetracked a bit from my Dorothy research.

Fascinating stuff. But what’s more, there was a whole binder full of Dorothy material that I hadn’t seen before: letters from Langley to Linton Hope in England, Dorothy’s designer, lists of Langley’s expenditures on his new boat, bills of sale on everything from the anchor to ropes and lead for her keel! This man was meticulous, and somehow these precious records have been preserved for over a century. The copies I saw were photocopies to be true, but it must mean that the originals aren’t far.

Thank you to Ken Reksten and Gord Nickells for letting me in and giving me so much time with these precious documents. More gold!

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Keep in mind the campaign to support the documentary about Dorothy’s life “Between Wood and Water” is online for only one more week! Donate now and get a choice of some amazing perks and gifts (in time for Christmas!) Share with your friends and family and be part of making this doc an important film in the canon of BC maritime history. Campaign ends Nov 15. Thank you!

Love, Tobi

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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

A Grecian Wooden Boat

Speaking of wooden boats here…

We were sent some amazing photos of a wooden boat under construction in… wait for it… Corfu, Greece! Here are some of Spiros Cheimarios‘ photos of a traditional wooden boat he is building. He says he’s passionate about wooden boats (we know a bit about that infectious disease, don’t we Tony?) and likes to learn everything he can about their construction. Us too!

Can any of our readers guess the type of wood being used, the vessel type and what kind of rigging it has? Answers in a post next week!

And if anyone else has a project they’re working on – especially a restoration project or you’re building a type of boat with a unique history – send them to dorothysails [at] gmail [dot] com and we’ll post them here.

Happy Thursday!

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

 

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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?

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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