Tag Archives: documentary

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

What got her out of the shed and into the light: the story of two tenacious trustees

There is a story within Dorothy’s story that I’ve been waiting a very long time to tell, but you’re going to have to wait just a wee bit longer to get the whole shebang because… well, there’s a documentary in the works.

But I’ll give you a preview: it involves one of those critical points in Dorothy’s history – and there were many – when her future hung on the fine point of a balance that could have tipped either way.

At every juncture there was a person who had to decide either to continue investing in this boat, or to let the inevitable decline that was ever nipping at the heels of a wooden boat take over. We wouldn’t be having this conversation, and we probably wouldn’t even have any remnants of Dorothy today, if just one of those critical junctures had tipped with someone walking away from her. Dorothy would not exist today if it weren’t for the courageous men and women who stood between her and decay.

That’s what my documentary is about, after all. The men and women who stood between wood and water.

The most recent of those junctures happened in 2011. (And we’re at another juncture at this very moment, but I’ll get to that in the next edition.) And the particular heroes at this point of her story were John West and Eric Waal, who became trustees for the Maritime Museum of B.C. for the sole purpose of looking after Dorothy and the two other boats in their fleet, Trekka and Tilikum.

But as Kermit would say, it ain’t easy being green. And it’s even harder being a trustee for a very underfunded institution that was on the cusp of the fight for its life. However, as it always turns out in the story of Dorthy, luck was with her and it turned out that these two heroes had some things going for them.

Eric has the tenacity of a bulldog. And when he saw the Dorothy’s legacy fund being drained for storage and insurance fees instead of being put toward her repair, he wouldn’t let of the idea that the waste had to stop, and that Dorothy either had to be fixed and get back in the water, or be turned into a land-based display. His tenacity was the first domino that led to Dorothy being trucked to Tony Grove’s shop on Gabriola island.

Dorothy lucked out again when John came aboard, with his encyclopaedic knowledge of historical and classic boats, and copious amounts of charm and bonhomie. Beloved and well known in the boating community, John was one of the key founders of Victoria’s Classic Boat Festival, now entering its 40th year. Once he dug through the archives and logbooks and read the extensive documentation on Dorothy, he knew that this was a maritime treasure that had to be preserved for future generations.

And that’s why we’re having this discussion at all. When an elegant, beautiful example of turn-of-the-century craftsmanship was mouldering in a shed, these two men stuck their necks out and said that something had to be done. That she needed – no, deserved to be invested in, and they became her most recent champions and an indelible part of her story.

The men who appreciate ancient planks of cedar and fir and oak, and who understand the relationship of ships, wood, salt and water, are few and hard to find. So the fact that two of them found Dorothy when she needed them, well, that’s just another testament to the luck and loveliness of this little boat.

Here’s a quick snippet of discussion I cut from back in 2013 (when we were fundraising for production funds) of John and Eric discussing what tack should be taken in restoring Dorothy, with Tony Grove: Three Men and a Dorothy Baby.

John Eric Tony kneeling before Dot

Dorothy – and we – thank you, John and Eric.

 

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

Replacing the first of Dorothy’s floors

From outside Dorothy

Dorothy has been patiently waiting for attention in Tony Grove’s magical woodshop for some time. At last, other work being cleared away, the boatbuilder could begin on her stem/keel and floors, cutting away the 117 year old wood and fastenings, and measuring new timbers and frames.

Filming this process was a bit difficult – or I’m frankly out of practice – because Tony works super fast (even with me slowing him down!) He moves from bow to bandsaw to sander to steambox to clamp station and back again while I’m still setting up my shot! Wonderfully challenging. So if you wonder why there’s a series of similar looking shots from the bow, it’s because I finally found a perch where he would keep coming back and I could observe him without getting in the way.

Dorothy's floor timbers from above

View from small hatch of the stem with keel bolt taken out. Her garboards were actually removed back in October 2012, a process we filmed on our first shoot for “Between Wood and Water”.

Here’s a series of images that hopefully will give you the “1000 words” behind the story. If anyone has any technical questions, Tony will do his best to answer, but as he’s still in the middle of researching, some answers will take a bit longer to get to. But please do write and comment! This is a great time to ask questions because it will inform us a bit on what you want to see in the documentary…

Total shock at how little is holding Dorothy together

Tony expresses his shock at how little is holding Dorothy together….. OK, not really. He was mostly trying to scare me, saying the bow would crack under my weight as he took out these frames! Yikes!

Tobi shooting from the bow

There is barely room for two of us in that bow – Dorothy is very narrow up forward, and this wide-angle lens makes her look beamier than her actual 10 feet.

 

Removing old epoxy from mast step

Tony has just ripped off the mast step, which was covered in epoxy, which made it suspect, but it was actually ok. At least it’s clean now.

Now we can see how the floor timbers fit together

Now we can see how the floor timbers fit together

This old bolt just popped out (which is not supposed to happen). Tony thinks it’s galvanized steel and is original to the boat. It’s been eaten away pretty badly as you can tell, it should be about twice as long.

This old bolt came off super easy, in fact the head broke off. Tony thinks it's a mixture of iron and galvenized steel and is original to the boat.

This is where the bolt was…

Unscrewing keel bolt

This bronze keel bolt is actually in pretty good shape, still has thread but the wood timber its supposed to be holding in place is completely gone.

This was the wood around the keel bolt, now obviously broken down due to electrochemical decay. Here with the new oak timber that will replace it.

This was the wood around the keel bolt, now obviously broken down due to electrochemical decay. Here with the new oak timber that will replace it.

So this is where it’s complicated – or can be. Building new frames and floors for Dorothy requires taking so many angles into consideration, Tony was scribing, measuring, considering, sawing, sanding for a good half hour for each. It was fascinating to watch/film, because he would spend all this time simply looking, analyzing, running the shape through his artistic/boatbuilder brain, and then fly into action and 20 minutes later… the pieces popped into place like they grew there – the first time! Amazing to watch him in action.

The old rotten frame coming out. There was almost nothing holding them to the stem/keel.

The old rotten frame coming out. There was almost nothing holding them to the stem/keel.

Here’s a measuring-to-bandsaw series:

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And then it’s necessary to keep testing them in place. This back and forth could take all day, but was relatively short this time around. Thankfully for the filmmaker and hungry boatbuilder!

Fitting in new floors

The piece on the right (port) will sister the frame going across the floor, which was steamed and bent yesterday.

The piece on the right (port) will sister the frame going across the floor, which was steamed and bent yesterday. These two sister/side pieces popped in for an exact fit – nice when that happens!

And then who doesn’t know how clamps work? Not much to say except they are pretty essential to any boatshop, as I’m learning. As I posted yesterday, Tony has about 50 in his shop, but could always use more. And someone on Facebook responded by saying “there are never enough clamps”. I guess it’s a universal thing…

Clamping new oak for Dorothy's floor

That about wraps our little inside look at the floor timber/frame restoration process. Lots still to come. Tony will be working on Dorothy throughout the summer, aiming to get her back in Victoria for re-rigging by Fall. So there will be frequent updates here, watch this space!

On the weekend I will post more about the Tony Grove special… a steambox that is portable and won’t break your bank!

Cheers, happy sailing (and restoring and refinishing and varnishing and polishing… )

Tobi and Tony and Dorothy

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:

20131104_MMBC archives-for web_0012

Dorothy Archives

20131104_MMBC archives-for web_0043

20131104_MMBC archives-for web_0058

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

Dorothy loses her rubrail

Dorothy stern end no rubrail-Tony GroveLast week, shipwright Tony Grove began cutting off Dorothy‘s rubrail, which was rotting and posing a danger to the integrity of her hull. There’s a bit of a debate right now as to whether Dorothy was originally designed with a rubrail, but there’s no question that the rubrail she currently has (had) was put on fairly recently, in the last half of the century.

This rubrail had been made of red oak, which is a hardwood, but one that doesn’t hold up well in the marine environment. It was literally rotting away – deeply in some places – affecting the planks immediately beneath it. It’s fitted along Dorothy‘s sheerline, where the deck meets the hull. and sticks out about 1 inch to prevent the vessel from being damaged if something were to rub up against her hull. Rubrails can also be used to cover the overlap of the decking material.

Some argue Dorothy looks better – cleaner , more shapely – without it. What do you think?

Images below are pulled from footage shot October 2013, by Tobi Elliott © Arise Enterprises. (Some images will look a bit jagged because they are pulled off a preview version of the video footage. If you’re viewing this on in your email, the full gallery of images will appear much better on the original blog post at dorothysails.com)

The gallery below shows how Tony painstakingly cuts out around each fastening using a Fein reciprocating cutter, then chips away the wood to unscrew or, in some cases, unhappily snap the bad fastenings off that have rusted or rotten into the wood, which enables him to pry off the rubrail.

NOTE: We have extended our fundraiser for the documentary about Dorothy, which you can find here at http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/dorothy-documentary We have some amazing new “thank you gifts” available, among them jewellery pendants made from original copper fastenings removed from Dorothy, and turned into works of art by noted silversmith and jeweller Lindsay Stocking Godfrey, for $100. Check out the site, we are accepting donations for 2 more weeks!

Below: after taking off the rubrail, Tony uncovered this upper starboard side plank that appeared so rotten he just had to pry it off to see how extensively the rot had spread beneath. Thankfully once he got a look inside he could see the rot hadn’t spread far. All images © Arise Enterprises.

Removing rotten stern plank Ripping off rotten stern plank Looking into stern rotten plank hole

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

 

 

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

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?

Dorothy T-shirts.jpg

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