Tag Archives: traditional wooden boat

Move ‘er on out!

Anyone know what to do with 100+ year-old caulking? It's got to go somewhere...

Anyone know what to do with 100+ year-old caulking? It’s got to go somewhere… Maybe in this box for now.

Big things afoot – or rather – atrailer, this week. Dorothy is getting ready to be moved out of Tony’s shop and into the yard for two reasons: a) the boatbuilder needs his shop back for a course beginning this Saturday, and b) the boat needs to get re-hydrated in preparation for re-caulking.

(Side note about “the yard”: there is an unwritten rule that a boatbuilder’s yard is to have no less than 3 inactive vessels at any one time. At this moment, Tony’s tiny acre is bristling with a 26-ft Folkboat, a 32-ft replanked but uncaulked West coast fishboat, 15-ft wooden sailboat, a ’65 Dodge van, a silver Avion “toaster” under repair, 2 working Subarus, and several hulls of varying condition and degradation. It’s not a mess, really, but a comfortable raft of boaty sculptures that Dorothy will be joining.)

Tony and Dorothy with the little 8-foot plywood pram Families will be building next week.

Tony and Dorothy with the little 8-foot plywood pram that 4 families will be building next week.

The first reason Dorothy has to move from her cozy and dry berth is that Tony’s shop will be full due to a Family Boatbuilding course, when 4 teams will each make an 8-foot Sabot pram in 4 days (sounds like a reality show!) Who knew you could build a boat in 4 days? We’re on Day 881 of restoring Dorothy (not even the entire restoration – that is just the time Tony has had her) and that’s the sum total of my (Tobi’s) experience building boats. So now we’ll see the reverse and how fast it can go!

As for the reason b) for getting her out of the shop, the basic premise is this: a wooden boat that hasn’t touched water for 10 years is likely to have wood with drastically lower-than-ideal moisture levels. In Dorothy’s case, her wood moisture content is around 8%, when it should ideally be about 16-20%. If she were to be re-caulked (cotton stuffed between her planks) with her wood so dry, and then put in the water, that thirsty wood will soak up so much water her seams would clamp shut much tighter than you would wish. 

So Tony’s challenge is to figure out how to wet her down in his yard and re-hydrate her to the point that she can be gently re-caulked, before returning to the sea to soak up more salt water (which, if you remember your Grade 10 chemistry, is a preservative for wood and one of the reasons for the name for this documentary “Between Wood and Water”).

How he’s going to hydrate her? Well I’ll have to save some details for the documentary…

Til next time,
Tobi and Tony, Dorothy and various wee boats

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.

IMG_1545IMG_1541-1
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

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

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!