The Dorothy Project - West Wind Hardwood


“Not only is she beautiful as boats go with her fine lines, but she is also a fine sailing boat, fast for her size, gentle to handle, and extremely seaworthy. And she is a lucky boat, too, in that her owners have always, somehow, managed to maintain her, repair her, and restore her in such a way that she is now fully restored, still sailing, and still looking beautiful.”

– H.C. Charlesworth (Former Owner), Dorothy I, A Sailor’s Legacy.

Dorothy experienced 11 owners in her life before her donation to the Maritime Museum of B.C. in 1995.  Under the auspices of the MMBC, she sailed proudly until February 2003 when she was taken out of the water in February 2003 and put into storage.

For nine years she stayed dry-docked at the SALTS tallship society. Hard decisions had to be made about her care. The Museum was rapidly being drained of the legacy fund to storage fees, but a full restoration was extremely expensive and they were unlikely to find someone to do it for what they could afford. Dorothy waited.


There was so much wrong with her – bad repairs, dissimilar metals that broke down the wood, mysterious rot around her keel – it was suggested to the Museum she might as well be burned or left to die. Shipwright Tony Grove heard this assessment of doom. And based on his thirty years of experience in building and restoring wooden boats, just couldn’t believe she was beyond repair and decided to take a look. The ‘Friends of Dorothy’ rallied.

Today, Dorothy has somehow survived to be Canada’s oldest functioning sailboat, and is about to be restored to glory – to race again in 2014!  And so, after 9 years in dry storage, Dorothy was trucked to Gabriola Island where the rest of Dorothy’s story will be written.


How can you become part of a community that cares about our maritime history; enjoy bragging rights as valued contributor to the restoration of this 166 year old vessel; take pleasure in privileged access to behind-the-scenes footages, images, stories?

Contact Tobi Elliott @ dorothysails@gmail.comor call 604-832-7034.

Visit to sign up for “Dorothy in the Grove”. This subscription service gives you behind-the-scenes access to the rebuilding of Dorothy; includes videos, how-to’s, audio podcasts and photos unique to Dorothy supporters.

Contact Tobi Elliott @ dorothysails@gmail.comor call 604-832-7034.

SUBMIT YOUR DOROTHY PHOTOS!  Archival photos of ‘Dorothy’ through the century; let us know if you can help out!

Contact Tobi Elliott @ or call 604-832-7034.

Did you get the message yet?!  Give Toby a shout now!!


Thanks to Tony, Tobi and the crew at Dorothy Sails for use of their images.



  1. Hi Shelley and all the excellent people at West Wind! Thanks so much for the great article on Dorothy and the work being done to restore her. She is a West Coast treasure and we are so proud to be a small part of her story in keeping her legacy alive.

    Small note, Dorothy is actually not 166 years old, but 117 years old this year (2014) as she was built in 1897. One of your sharp-eyed readers caught this before I did so kudos to them.

    Thanks again Shelley, looking forward to seeing more of West Wind’s blog. It’s great!


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