Tag Archives: Dorothysails

Dive into Dorothy Documents at the Nautical Nights event April 26

In the final evening of the 2017-2018 Nautical Nights Speaker Series, documentary filmmaker Tobi Elliott will introduce the story of the 120-year old vessel Dorothy, and her life and rich history sailing the West Coast.

Tobi will present excerpts from the upcoming documentary “Between Wood and Water”, and cover some of the milestones from Dorothy’s “lucky” life on this coast: surviving both World Wars, witnessing the first documented sighting of the ‘Cadborosaurus’, the founding of the Victoria Yacht Club, a near-extinction from fire and being shown at Expo ’86.


Doors open at 6:30pm, talk starts at 7:00pm.
Drinks and appies are available.

Tickets here:
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/nautical-nights-speaker-series-tickets-38550770392

Member price: $8 / General price: $10
Please note, seating is limited.

To become a member visit here: http://mmbc.bc.ca/get-involved/become-a-member/
Contact the MMBC: 250-385-4222 ext. 103 / info@mmbc.bc.ca


An incredible amount of early correspondence has been saved from the late-1890s when Dorothy was designed, built and sailed. In fact, it’s doubtful there is another boat on the west coast with such intense documentation! We will look at some early letters rarely seen by the public, and uncover some salacious correspondence between Dorothy’s first owner, W.H. Langley and the boat’s designer, Linton Hope, which give a glimpse into what life was like in the trades in England in 1897!


W.H. Langley was prominent member of the British Colony of Victoria. In 1896, the barrister and Clerk of the Legislature decided he wanted a fast boat to race his contemporaries in the newly formed Victoria Yacht Club. His small Class 2 yawl “Viola” just wasn’t winning races, and so he commissioned a build from a European style design by Linton Hope, which happened to be named “Dorothy”.

And Tobi will be sharing a few excerpts from Mrs. Langley’s diaries, which have never before been open to the public. The traditional Mrs. Langley wrote faithfully every single day in diaries that go back to 1914! The beauty of her very ordinary, everyday notes is that they provide an accompanying storyline to the very male-dominated accounts of Langley’s logs.

We hope you can join us for this event Thursday, April 26 at 6:30 pm at the Maritime Museum of BC (634 Humbolt Street, Victoria, BC). If you’re not in the Victoria area, perhaps we can make a storytelling night happen in your community! Get in touch with Tobi at dorothysails@gmail.com

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

Steamboxes, oak bending and baked potatoes

The Grove Woodworking School, located on lovely Gabriola Island off the east coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., is a marvel of order and efficiency. Tony Grove’s shop is beautifully organized – partly because that’s how he works, and partly because he needs every bit of space available, especially with a 30 foot sloop taking up most of the room in his shop, her bowsprit touching the bay doors, AND a painting studio up on the mezzanine.

Passagemaker below Dorothy-T.Grove

The man has worked in enough places (read: other company shops) over his 30 year career in boat building to learn what works and what doesn’t, and he knows exactly what he wants to see in his own shop. So, as I’ve learned over the past months of filming Dorothy’s restoration, when Tony works up a head of steam about efficiency, organization and putting everything in its place, I keep my mouth shut and just let it roll.

In terms of steamboxes, what apparently works for Tony is a humble design, built from recycled plywood, built as small as possible – pretty much the exact opposite of complicated and expensive. What doesn’t work is a clunky, permanent structure that takes up more precious room than it needs.

I had been so anticipating seeing this amazing steambox in action – picturing some long, elegant box that could fit a plank at least – that when he actually brought out his box to begin steaming some oak pieces to replace Dorothy’s forward straps, I have to admit to a little disappointment.

It looked just a little too humble.

Steambox set up outside Tony's shop

But really, I’ve learned, it’s about whatever works. (See previous post for more on the results from this box and photos of Dorothy’s new straps.)

Tony’s steamboxes are portable, so they can be taken apart easily and transported anywhere, and he makes them on the fly, to fit the piece of furniture or boat piece he’s working with. He makes them just large enough to fit the piece of wood he’s working with, so as to not waste a ton of energy heating up steam to fill a big box when it’s not needed.

And the heating agency is … shall we say … less than imposing. The box Tony set up outside his shop for this job uses a simple electric kettle recycled from the local depot, and a piece of rubber radiator hose.

Simple, efficient, economical, and it works.

Tony grove steambox special

And it makes lunch, too!

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At 1.5 hours per inch of wood thickness, (Tony was steaming and bending 1.5 inch oak straps) was just the right amount of time to cook some potatoes for lunch.

Potatoes steam box

What does your ideal steambox – or workspace – look like? Email us a photo at dorothysails@gmail.com and we could feature it in the next newsletter. Stay in touch.

Happy sailing!

Love from Dorothy HQ – Tobi and Tony

Off to the Post I go!

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It’s always so fun to send Dorothy swag in the mail, and I never get tired of writing to those who have supported us around the world.

Today we’re sending off 6 Dorothysails Tees, a package of Panacea Herbs organic goodness, and some lovely art cards from Gabriola. All part of the perks we get to give away to those who donated!

Giving back is fun. Almost as much fun as… say… Making documentaries! Almost.

Thanks again for supporting us everyone, we raised over $8,000 for the film, which is incredible!

More news to come. Love, Tobi

Land-Ho! Campaign countdown party this Friday night!

Land-Ho! Campaign countdown party this Friday night!

To celebrate the close to an amazing fundraiser for the documentary about Dorothy, join us this Friday at Artworks Gallery on Gabriola.

When: Friday Nov 15, 7-9 PM

Where: Artworks @ the Village, North Rd, Gabriola Island.

What: Watch some Dorothy videos, listen to music by local musician Tim Harrison, enjoy some snacks and countdown with us a successful fundraising campaign for the local production of the documentary “Between Wood and Water” about Dorothy, Canada’s oldest sailboat.

**Note: Some of the artwork by local artists and entrepreneurs that hasn’t been claimed during the campaign will be available for purchase by donation. Come and see what’s there, you might just find a perfect gift for Christmas, and can support this film at the same time.

Event on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/events/698653636811454/
You can still donate here, campaign is live until Friday Nov 15 at midnight PST: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary/x/1371948

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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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.

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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