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       Dimitri G. CAPAITZIS

The Royal Institution of Naval Architects

Historic Ships, International Conference, 25 – 26 November 2014, London

The Mahroussa (El Horriya) is the oldest motor yacht in operation and currently among the 10 largest in the world. Designed by Sir Oliver Lang, on the same lines as the Victoria and Albert II, she was built by Samuda, London in 1865 for Egypt’s Khedive Ismail. Powered originally by steam oscillating engines, paddle wheels, masts and sails, she was fitted with Parsons steam turbines and propellers in 1905, which were replaced by Ansaldo steam turbines in 1949. She was also lengthened twice to her present length of 478 feet. She was with the first ships to cross the Suez Canal on the 1869 inauguration and has since served the Egyptian Monarchs, Presidents and Navy.

The 2nd half of the 19th century saw some spectacular changes in steamships. Paddle wheels, followed by propellers, steam engines by turbines, wood by iron, then steel in warships, dry cargo ships and tankers, passenger ships, river boats, yachts and others. Equally the 20th century saw innumerable other changes in all areas and in two world wars, culminating in the Liberty and VLCCs.

Yachts hold their own special place in these areas. In their design, construction and ultimately their use, one finds elements of the fast warship, luxury passenger ship and even the multipurpose service boat. It has furthermore the aura of the personal touch as expressed elsewhere in private or racing cars. The 150 history of Mahroussa through these times shows how a good yacht has kept up with others and changing times.