Tony Grove, an internationally known boatbuilder and artist residing on Gabriola Island, has been commissioned by the BC Maritime Museum to restore Dorothy to seaworthiness this year. In a compelling visual parallel, he will also create a new painting of her on canvas in the distinctive graphic style he is known for.
As a shipwright, woodworker, furniture maker and self-confessed “boat geek”, Tony travels the world in search of inspiration to feed his passion. Since 1980 when he was apprenticed as a shipwright, Tony gradually became drawn into the fascinating world of wooden boats, and now almost exclusively restores and works on them. He had in fact been repairing another famous wooden boat for the Museum, Trekka, when he heard a survey done on Dorothy’s condition that doomed her. There was so much wrong with her – bad repairs, dissimilar metals that broke down the wood, mysterious rot around her garboards – it was suggested she might as well be burned or left to die. But his 30 years experience building and restoring wooden boats led Tony to believe she wasn’t beyond repair.
Captivated by her history and design, Tony couldn’t see her consigned to being a dry docked relic, like the other two boats in the Museum’s fleet. Having an inkling of just how special this little boat was, Tony pitched the idea of restoring Dorothy for the Museum at a reduced rate to make it affordable for the non-profit institution. And so, after nine years in dry storage, Dorothy was trucked to Gabriola Island in March (see his website TonyGrove for some video and written press around the day she was moved to Gabriola.)
As of mid-December Tony will begin the work of deconstructing and reconstructing Dorothy, racing against time to get her ready for September 2013 – where, at the Victoria Classic Boat show, he will unveil a new painting of her and see her launched once again!