When Geary moved to S. California, his friendship with the Adamsons deepened. Mrs. Rhoda May (Rindge) Adamson was a keen sailor and enthusiastic racer. When she bought PIRATE in early 1934, she named Geary as sailing master and co-helmsman. Geary and Mrs. Adamson shared the helm and completed many successful seasons winning many races as well as the "Southern California Skiper of the Year" award.
She was later sold to Jim Cornelius in . Jim purchased Pirate II and renamed her Invictus.
At that time I had this scrofulated scalliwag of a friend who was a Sous Chef in downtown Seattle, he didn't have a girlfriend at the time (which was rare for him) and was getting sick of his job, so we took the leap. My friend found a job as a Head Chef on the second day and I became Assistant to the Head Beach Bum at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort. While he slaved in a hot kitchen, I spent my hours under a coconut tree or in the azure waters of a beach paradise. But I didn't relax my entire eight hour shift. Even though my duties were as meager as the pay, I did have them: like dropping bottles of booze out of a dingy for the daily Booze Hunt; or snorkeling around the beach looking for Sea Urchins; and (and this is the one of importance and the hard one) setting up the many Sun Fish's and teaching anyone who didn't know how to sail, how to. I actually had never sailed but they didn't care. The Head Beach Bum taught me on the first day and they let me sail for numerous hours for the first week or two until I was pretty confident. After I was trained and a pro at the job, the Head Beach Bum quit making me the defacto Head Beach Bum.
Fast forward and a year later....
I came back to Seattle and after a while was telling a screenwriting friend about how much I liked sailing and he told me he had a friend who had just purchased a Tanzer (7.5 meters) about 24.5 feet. So I called up this guys friend, we went sailing, and hit it off as friends. We did a lot of sailing in the San Juans, doing many one and two, and three week trips, some up to Canada. After a few years of this we did a one month trip up to Desolation Sound and north to Stuart Island, around it, around Sonora Island and back.
On many of these trips we would sit back and talk about how one of us should buy a bigger boat, how we could work on it, quit our jobs and sail it to the South Pacific. Years went by, it seemed like the dream would never happen. One day I had enough; I had to do it. I researched boats in my price range, saw great things about Cal 40's (most at that time were in the $50,000 and up range) and finally one popped up at $29,000. I asked my friend if he would help sail it up to Seattle and help me fix it up if I bought it. He said he would. I flew down to LA, had it surveyed, did a test sail, then bought it. My friend flew down. We worked on it for a few days, got provisions, then headed out. The winds were great, in the 15 to 18 knot range, but when we were just north of Santa Barbara Island the rudder fell off. After much fumbling, we were towed to Oxnard. My friend stayed a day, then flew home. Yes. He flew home.
I was a bit shocked. Had he bought the boat, I would have stayed and helped him fix it up. I had been under the impression that he wanted this adventure, was there to help make it happen no matter what. It turned out he just always wondered if he would like sailing on the ocean or be able to do it. He thought (and thinks) boatyards are full of toxicity. He doesn't want to be around the fiberglass fumes, the dust, etc. He then told me he didn't want to work on boats (for that reason). It was a bit of a turnaround from years of conversations previous, but off he went. (We're still friends if you are wondering.)
In Oxnard I was out of my element. This friend, who was a physics major at the UW and who worked as an engineer at Boeing for a number of years, is very mechanically inclined. The fixing up of the boat was hugely hinged on tapping his knowledge and judgment. I knew I needed a new rudder; that was easy. There was a little community of Cal owners where I had purchased the boat. I got ahold of them and found out about the new elliptical rudders, the two different kinds, and went with the solid epoxy rudder because of it's strength and durability as opposed to the foam core rudder. While I waited I worked on the bottom of the boat, grinding off the blisters, then I found out you had to dry it out for a couple of years or tent the bottom and put a dehumidifier on it for a few months. I also bought the new propeller tube at this time, pulled the old one, an inserted the new. (The guy who I bought the rudder and tube from told me how to do everything.)
Time passed as I tried to get my bearings. I really didn't know where to start on the boat or how to do it. The easy thing was just pulling stuff apart. But, as it turned out, you can only do that for so long. After awhile I started watching the pros in the boatyard do their jobs. I asked questions, started to get a good idea how the bottom should be done, then did some more grinding on the bottom to get the entire affected blister area out. However, the boat work wasn't something I was eager to do on my own. I was a bit overwhelmed. Any progress was made slowly. After a year or two, I got the idea to take some screenwriting classes at UCLA Extension (I had already taken a similar year of coursework at UW Extension, so that kept me there for another couple of years, taking classes and writing. At about this time my friend who didn't like working on boats, asked me if he bought a boat in Sitka Alaska would I help him sail it to LaConner. Always up for a sailing adventure I said sure. He bought a Swan (I think it was a 54). We worked on it for a week (in a slip), and proceeded on adventure with many harrowing turns -- we almost lost the boat about 5 times. I returned to my boat a bit more sober about pursuing my South Pacific adventure, but the dream was still holding on, down there somewhere. By this time I knew more about fiberglass work and did the bottom. I used mat and roving instead of filler, faired it, then rolled epoxy over the whole bottom, lightly sanded, then put on the various layers of barrier coat. I also sanded and coated much of the wood. Then eventually brought it up here (to La Conner, WA).
The name Invictus comes from the following poem of the same name:
Invictus Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
by William Ernest Henley
Such are my dreams. I took a beating but still stand "unbowed".