El Horriya (Ex-Al Mahroussa)
LENGTH: 478ft. (145.7m)
SHIPYARD: Samuda Brothers, England
Samuda Brothers built Al Mahroussa (The Protected) on the banks of the Thames for the Viceroy of Egypt, Isma’il Pasha, in 1865. The world’s oldest surviving yacht is said to have inaugurated the Suez Canal in 1869. This long life gave ample opportunities for refits and changes. An 1872 refit extended the hull by 40 feet and in 1905, when regular shafts replaced the original paddlewheels, the yacht grew by another 16 feet. Steam turbines were installed to provide power. It was Egypt’s royal yacht for years. However, as an Egyptian historian pointed out recently, history tends to repeat itself. The popular upheaval of 2010 showed the country’s leaders once more that Egypt is not an easy country to govern. In 1952, King Farouk found this out the hard way when the Egyptian people revolted against his regime. Choosing exile, he cruised out of Alexandria aboard the royal yacht Al Mahroussa carrying not only the royal family but most of their belongings, stuffed in 204 royal trunks (as noted in an August 4, 1952 Time article). The historic yacht later became the Egyptian presidential yacht and was renamed El Horriya (or Al Horreyya) for a time and then, later, served the Egyptian Navy. Many still refer to her as El Horriya, but when official delegations visit the vessel, they know this Grande Dame as ENY Mahroussa. Now she seldom leaves the dock, hosting official delegations and diplomats. Last time the yacht was seen outside Egypt was in 1976, when she took part in the United States bicentennial celebrations in New York.
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