Tag Archives: Victoria Classic boat festival

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

 

40th Annual Classic Boat Festival: Here we go!

We (as in, Tobi Elliott in her ’67 classic red Volkswagen bug, and Tony Grove and Dorothy-in-spirit) are on our way down to Victoria from Gabriola to celebrate the 40th annual CLASSIC BOAT FESTIVAL!!! Can you tell I’m a wee bit excited??!

I have a host of beautiful new swag to share, among them a special anniversary t-shirt, and a 2018 Calendar because, as you know, the grand dame of classic boats, our own Dorothy, is 120 years old!

The calendar includes some photos that have never been seen before, including this image held by the Langley family (above). I am so happy to be able to share this precious legacy of 120 years of (almost) continuous sailing on the BC Coast!

In 2014, Kate Bradford and I had the opportunity to shoot on the docks of the Classic Boat Festival, and since only a fraction of that footage will be used in the upcoming film about Dorothy’s restoration, I decided to put together a special anniversary video featuring some of my favourite shots from the docks and the water.

It also honours our dear friend John West, who was a champion of all things heritage, maritime and water-related. As one of the founders of the Classic Boat Festival, his presence this year will be deeply missed. You can view the video only on Facebook, so head over to the Dorothy Documentary page to watch it! And please like and share the ❤️

I’ll be posting to that page and to Instagram (follow Dorothysails1897 and tag me #dorothyatfest) as well throughout the Festival, so if you can’t physically make it down, you can participate vicariously and enjoy the sights and sounds along with me.

Hope to see you there!

Tobi, Rojo the bug and Dorothy-in-spirit

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.

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

 

 

 

 

Dorothy through your eyes

Photography by Byron Robb

Dorothy is not only a fast-sailing little yacht, she also happens to be very pretty boat with a striking design, both structurally and sculpturally beautiful. Many of you have said in interviews about Dorothy that they believe her beauty is part of the reason she has survived so long.

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photo: John Poirier

So Tony and I have not been entirely surprised by the number of photographers passing through these shop doors over the past year – both professional and amateur – eager to capture the essence of Dorothy. Most of them start by walking around her in slight awe, eyes alight as they slowly pull out their cameras and begin to frame some of the hundreds of images that have by now been taken of her.

Dorothy is the ultimate photography subject – both for boat aficionados, and for those who simply love beautiful shapes. Even though her insides are bared, and the light around her ranges from soft daylight from the upper windows of Tony’s shop, to harsh fluorescents to neutral spotlights, she takes it all in with grace.

The challenge of “shooting Dorothy” lies not so much in which angle to capture, but which image best expresses her. Is it her magnificent, 6-foot fan-tailed stern, as Calgary-based photographer Byron Robb captured in the image at the top of this post?

Or her slender bow with sanded cedar planks on display, as noted Gabriola photographer John Poirier captured below?

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Or is it the grain and wear of her old-growth Pacific forest timbers, which captivated David Andrews?

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Another Gabriolan photographer, Bill Pope, stunned us with his generous series of HDR photographs, which can be seen on his Flickr set “Dorothy restoration”. There are too many images to post here so I encourage you to take a look. Here are two of my favourites:

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Some of the very best photographs from our visiting artists will be on display at Victoria’s 37th Classic Boat Festival, which runs next weekend, August 29th through the 31st. A few images that were donated by the artist will be available for purchase at the silent auction on Friday night, proceeds from which go toward the Maritime Museum of B.C. (which is undertaking Dorothy’s restoration).

In other news, what has been holding up Dorothy‘s restoration? Well, as most of you likely know by now know, the MMBC had decided last spring not to re-launch Dorothy this year as originally planned. They are dedicated to doing the job right – which necessitates raising more money than they have right now, which is only enough to make her structurally sound – by having her topsides and cabin restored as well.

They are also coming up with a strategic plan as to what should be done with Dorothy once she’s back in the water. It will require more than simply moorage at a location where she can be seen and appreciated to advantage. She will also need a team of dedicated volunteers who know and understand the care required of wooden boats, and people who will take her out sailing!

So if you are interested in speaking to someone about the legacy fund for Dorothy’s continued care and restoration, or to be numbered on the team of volunteers as a “Friend of Dorothy”, please contact either John West (director and trustee for the MMBC) at john <at> johnwest <dot> ca or Angus Matthews (former owner) at angus <at> angusmatthews <dot> com.

Tony Grove has not been idle when not working on Dorothy. He recently completed a lovely 15-foot Passagemaker “take-apart” sailing dinghy for a client, from Chesapeake Light Craft plans. He left just yesterday for the Vancouver Wooden Boat Festival in Aja, his newly acquired strip-plank 34-foot Atkins schooner, towing the brand new little sailboat. They made it safely across, and both Aja and the Passagemaker will be in the festival.

So, here’s to festivals and photographers, beautiful wooden boats, and to all with eyes for lovely lines and beautiful shapes!

We look forward to seeing you at the Festival next weekend.

Cheers, Tobi and Tony

Whirlwind Victoria Classic

Over at Dorothy HQ, we are all about classic boats: wooden boats… mainly sailboats, with some love for beautifully designed powerboats too. Appropriately enough, after our adventures at the Classic Boat festival in Victoria, B.C. last weekend, this post is being written aboard a classic boat tucked away in Friday Harbour: the Messenger III, a medical missionary boat built in 1946. It is fantastic.

Just want to interject a hearty Welcome! to all the new friends and Dorothy fans who have joined us since this adventure began. And just in time too, because we have some wonderful images from the festival to share.

It was such a pleasure to meet you, to hear your interest in the Dorothy story, and see you walk away with a smile and occasionally, a t-shirt from our little stand. And a HUGE, big thank you to Harry Martin, Terese Ayre, Laura Simons, Fred Apstein, Misha Warbanski and Arlene Carson who helped man the stand, carry gear/hold the boom/get release forms signed, etc. Thank you so much. We can’t do this without helpers like you!

Before we head to our next adventure at the 2013 Wooden Boat Festival, where Tony Grove (shipwright) and I (Tobi, filmmaker) will be speaking about Dorothy‘s history and present-day restoration, let me introduce two other wonderful people that Dorothy has brought our way: Clay Evans, procurer of fine beverages and artisan cheese Canadian Coast Guard Search and Rescue, author of “Rescue at sea” and all-around stand up guy, and Bill Noon, war correspondent Canadian Coast Guard Commanding Officer, Captain of many ships and in particular, of Messenger III. Together, we make up a merry band that is slowly making its way down to Port Townsend.

Brief recap of the Victoria Classic: lots of filming went from sunrise to sunset, lots of T-shirts were sold (almost $1,000 raised! THANK YOU Pacific Northwest Boaters!) and we captured some great interviews, but time is short so I’ll let the images take it away. Unless otherwise noted, all photos are by Tony Grove. (Check out the ones he took from atop HMCS Oriole’s spreaders!)

Love, Tobi

All hands on deck for Victoria Classic boat festival next weekend!

Happy Sunday from Dorothy HQ!

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Do you love classic boats, want to spend all day in the sun on Labour Day weekend ogling them, or would simply be happy to help out the Dorothy Documentary and restoration crew?

If you answered yes to any of those questions are are willing to lend a hand, we definitely could use it! We need about 8 people to fill a couple of shifts at the Classic Boat festival grounds in the Inner Harbour Aug 30th, 31st and Sept 1.

The work is fairly simple, and will win you a Dorothy t-shirt, a pint or glass of wine (or two), and our eternal gratitude!

There are two locations we need to cover: at Ship’s Point we will be set up under a tent selling Dorothysails T-shirts, handing out postcards (see top of page), and collecting emails to draw for a print of Tony Grove’s (see image below).

Second position is at liberty, you would be walking around the festival, chatting with people about the Dorothy doc, handing out postcards and collecting emails.

Sid Skiff, by Tony Grove

If you live in Victoria or the area it would be ideal, but I can also provide transport down on Thursday, providing you can get a place to stay. I may be able to help with that as well. We will meet at a pub Thursday evening to hammer out details.

As our crew (Kate and Tobi) are doing a number of interviews and wanting to capture the excitement of Wooden boat culture, we can’t be everywhere at once, so would love to have your help!

This is, after all, a documentary made by community. Thank you!

Love, Tobi