Oldest yacht in Pacific Northwest being restored by Gabriolan

NANAIMO – Oldest yacht in Pacific Northwest being restored by Gabriolan shipwright Tony Grove.

John West

John West

Dorothy is rotten. Her insides are being eaten away.

For more than eight years she’s remained hidden from the public eye.

She could be suffering from iron sickness, but Gabriolan shipwright Tony Grove won’t know for certain until he takes a closer look inside the yacht’s hull.

Iron sickness occurs when different metals are used and react in high-moisture environments, which leads to rust and wood decay in the areas surrounding the metal.

Grove is restoring the yacht, which is more than a century old, for the Maritime Museum of B.C. in Victoria.

The 9.1-metre sloop is considered the oldest sailing vessel in the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re pretty sure she is the oldest registered yacht in Canada. She really represents the birth of yachting in British Columbia,” said John West, a Maritime Museum trustee. “Yachting is such a huge recreational sport in B.C. on the coast and we’ve got an example of what it was like when it first started.”

Dorothy was designed by Andy Linton, a pre-eminent Victoria naval architect, said West. She was assembled in John J. Robinson’s boatyard in James Bay in 1897.

Dorothy is a rare craft, constructed as a pleasure yacht, while most vessels created at the time were working boats used in the fishing industry or as cargo haulers.

She was commissioned by F. H. Langley a lawyer and member of the legislature, who sailed the ship for five decades. Subsequent owners maintained the craft over the years until she was acquired by the Maritime Museum.

Grove will begin work on Dorothy this fall. Previously, grove restored Trekka, a sailboat built in the 1950s by John Guzzwell, for the museum.

The museum hopes to have her repaired in time to sail in the Victoria Classic Boat Festival in 2013. Dorothy will be on permanent display in the Victoria harbour and be used in various boat shows to educate the public about the vessel’s history and the museum.

The museum raised $35,000 to restore the hull, but also wants to raise money to restore the cockpit and interior. West said the restoration was also made possible thanks to Grove working at a reduced rate.

“I’m just a step in the history of Dorothy’s life and I feel privileged to work on her,” said Grove.

Grove said he can’t wait to take apart the boards and uncover the treasure of knowledge left behind by shipbuilders more than a century ago.

Even though Grove has been a shipwright since the 1980s, he said he still learns something new when he takes vessels apart.

He also loves finding remnants left behind by previous builders such as an initial on a plank or tick mark. It helps him discover techniques that past boat builders used.

Boating is an important part of the province’s history but often the preservation of that history lies in the hands of individuals or organizations that fundraise to maintain it, said Grove.

“I don’t feel our maritime history is supported or looked after enough. The Victoria and Vancouver maritime museums are almost all self-funded so treasures like these are rare and are being maintained by the goodness of people’s hearts,” he said.

For more information on the Maritime Museum or to donate, please go to mmbc.bc.ca. For information on Grove’s restoration of Dorothy, please go to www.tonygrove.com.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Stuffed toys, many with donations pinned to them, are piled in the Lions Pavilion at Maffeo Sutton Park at a vigil May 31 honouring the 215 Indigenous children whose remains were discovered outside a residential school in Kamloops. (News Bulletin file photo)
Thousands donated to child and family service agency following Nanaimo vigil

Toys and money donated to Kw’umut Lelum child and family services

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Most Read