Type: Auxiliary Schooner
LOA: 160’7″ / 49.00m
LOD: 136’0″ / 41.60m
LWL: 97’5″ / 29.72m
Beam: 25’8″ / 7.88m
Draft: 14’2″ / 4.35m
Displacement: 214.14 tons
Sail Area: 9697 sq ft
Hull Number: 573
Hull material: Steel
Designer: Albert Stanton Chesebrough
Original Owner: Roy A. Rainey, Vice-Commodore, Larchmont Y.C
Built by: George Lawley & Son Corp.
Year Built: July 11, 1905 at 6.25 pm (high tide)
INVADER was designed by Albert Stanton Chesebrough, the grandson of Nathanael Herreshoff and Edward Burgess, who were considered to be the best designers of their era. The schooner was launched on 11 July 1905 and built by the famous George Lawely & Son – South Boston shipyards – and registered in New York.
Lawely & Son, together with Nat Herreshoff, were the best American shipyards of their era. They were renowned for their construction techniques and the material they used, which made them better than the British. The Lawley shipyards produced two yachts designed by E.Burgess, in 1895 and 1896, the PURITAN and the MAYFLOWER, which both went on to challenge and win the America’s Cup
The structure and planking were in nickel steel, the ballast was made of lead and the bridge in teak. The ship had a mobile keel which brought her draught to 7.610 metres, a feature which very few designers dared to adopt in ships of this size, given the difficulty in maintaining the axis as well as the ease of pivoting of the vessel on her beam-ends. The harmony of the lines of the yacht, which ran from prow to stern, uninterrupted by motor axes or propellers must have been a wonderful sight to see on the day of her launch. The ship’s hull had been created to move through the water without risk of anything harming her, powered by more than 1067 m2 of sail. The was launched and remained in this condition until 1914.
INVADER had been commissioned by Mr. ROY A. RAINER of Cleveland, a coal magnate (more than a quintal of coal was found during the rebuilding of the yacht – which seem to symbolize the source for the birth of INVADER). Mr. ROY was keen for INVADER to take part in the 1906 Spring Cup regattas, but the boat needed more preparation time and the crew (of 28 to 35 members) needed to train more. And without these things, there would be no hope of competing against the sacred monsters of the America’s Cup who that year frequented the waters around New York and Newport. The adversaries were the Vanderbilts, Morgans, Astors and Goulds, not to mention the ones from the Old Continent like Kaiser Wilhelm II or Sir Thomas Lipton, the richest men in the world who owned the fastest yachts in the world.
Now we’ve seen most of the history of INVADER and her regattas, the Transpac for example, her moments of glory, her adventures and also her decline, which began with the Second World War. But now, at nearly 100 years of age, INVADER is proud to be born again, to tell everyone about her past.
Voyage of the Invader – by Louise Omwake Eckerson
t was spring of 1941. WWII was only something that concerned Europe and Asia. And I? I was a psychology teacher in a small New Jersey College. I had spent five summers traveling on twelve-passenger freighters and had become addicted to unexpected adventure and was looking for further adventures. Then I found the Student International Travel Association (SITA).
Reading the SITA promises grabbed my attention, held me captive, and sold me on a July voyage “under sail to Hawaii.” For $450—covering all expenses including $50 for a single cabin—I would steer the schooner, work in the galley, visit four Hawaiian Islands, and savor the Pacific Ocean and Polynesian culture under sun, moon, and stars. The next day I mailed my check for $25 to reserve Cabin 1 for the July 10 sailing from California. The schooner would be my home for two months.
For the next three months I dreamed of sailing ships. I was to have an adventure to top all adventures. A schooner would be more beautiful and more exotic than a freighter. Finally in July, six of us, all strangers, met in New York on the Pacemaker and started our trek by rail across the continent. We arrived at the harbor in Newport Beach, California, ready to embark the next day. We met Jack, the owner, and the other 13 crewmen and saw our schooner, the Invader.
There she was, 136 feet of gleaming white schooner with new sails furled over her booms. Although her topmasts had been removed when her racing days ended at middle age, the Invader still retained the freshness of youth. Yet, even without her wings spread, the Invader was a streamlined beauty, a promise of adventurous days afloat, the excitement of wind and wave alternating with lazy relaxation.
Jack told us the Invader had a distinguished pedigree. Built in 1905, she was purchased in her prime by John Barrymore and subsequently owned by Hollywood’s Joseph Schenk. The Invader became a movie star when Douglas Fairbanks, in the role of Robinson Crusoe, dived off her stern and swam to one of the Hawaiian Islands. She had moved among the elite. However, my dreams aboard ship didn’t reveal how many illustrious persons had occupied my cabin. No glamorous ghosts returned.
The Wall of Fame – The Owners, Crew & Notable Guest of Invader
Owner. Roy A. Rainey, Larchmont Y.C.
Owner. Henri D.Whiton
Owner. John Barneson (1919-1924
Owner. J.Percival Jefferson (1921-1924)
Owner. Don Lee, San Francisco Yacht Club (1924-1929)
Owner American Film Studio Executive. Joseph Schenk (1929-1935)
Owner. Harry H. Hunnewell, Boston, Massachusetts (1935)
Owner. Glen Beymer
Owner. Carl Shilling (1941-1945)
Owner. Sita Tours Inc (1945-)
Owner. Paul Noyes
Capt. John Barneson 1920 – ?
Captain. L.E. Ted Geary
Captain. L.A. Davidson
Capt. John Haga 1932 ?
Capt. Ted Geary
Capt. Giuliano Mussone
Chartered. Douglas Fairbanks (San Francisco-Tahiti)
Writer. Tom Gerahty
Director. E. Sutherland
Actor. Charles Chaplin
Actor. Franklyn Ardell
Actor. Earle Browne
Actor. Chuck Lewis
Actor. John Barrymore
Actor. A. Edward Sutherland
Actor. Buster Keaton
Actor. Clark Gable
Actress. Maria Alba
Actress. Paulette Goddard
Actress. Greta Garbo
Actress. Gloria Swanson
Actress. Mary Pickford
Actress. Norma Shearer
First Mate. Robert J Decker 1933-1935
Architect. A.S. Chesebrough
Crew. Major J.C.Waller
Crew. Lloyd Johnson
Crew. Pierpond Davis
Crew. Ray Cooke
Dr. C.B. Combille
Crew. Robert Decker
Passager/Crew. Louise Omwake Eckerson
Engineer. O. Schonsted