PRINCE OTMAN, launched as MAUNA LOA, was a luxury steam yacht commissioned by textile magnate Henry Calvert and designed by William Stoba of Camper and Nicholson of Southampton. She was built in 1907 by J. Armour and Sons of Fleetwood, and named after the Hawaiian volcano which erupted in that year. She was fitted out to the highest specification using pitch pine on oak, with teak for the superstructure and Honduras mahogany for the accommodation. Her twin screw engines were provided by local engineer, James Robertson & Sons and her hull was lined with copper.
From launch MAUNA LOA was skippered by Captain Robert Rawlinson. At the start of the First World War Calvert offered her for service. His offer was accepted; she was chartered by the Navy for the sum of £2 7s 0d. per day, and alterations were made. She was fitted with a strong belting, and she was loaded deeper into the water so that she could tow barges. This she did, up and down the River Mersey. Captain Rawlinson managed to stay in charge of her during the war by enlisting as a Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
MAUNA LOA did other work for the Navy in the same area, but later she was used as a minesweeper in the English Channel and around the Irish Sea. On her return from service she was in a bad way, with a broken mast, and she had been painted battleship grey. Henry Calvert, the owner, had her fully restored to her former glory.
Upon Henry Calvert’s death in 1922, Robert Rawlinson purchased MAUNA LOA himself. But in 1924 she was sold again, this time to Charles Henry Alexander, 6th Marquis of Anglesey, and was based for many years in Beaumaris. In 1931 she had a major refit at Southampton, which included replacing her steam engines for petrol. At the beginning of the Second World War she was converted into an ‘armed yacht’ with a machine gun mounted on the foredeck.
She had two further refits at Southampton, in 1947, when she was converted to diesel engines, and again in 1955. By the 1970s, she was operating in Gibraltar and Alicante, before moving to Palma. She gradually deteriorated under several owners, until she was sold in 1984 to Raymond Wells. Two years into a major refit she was badly damaged by a hurricane. Mr Wells continued her restoration over some years, and eventually sold her in 1994.
In 2001, after extensive modernisations she changed her name to ILONA OK KYLESKU under the ownership of the Duke of Westminster, and in 2012 changed again to her present name.
Where is she now?
PRINCE OTMAN, is privately owned and based in the western Mediterranean.
Mauna Loa (1989) Mediterranean Motor Boat.
Mauna Loa (1992) Boat International.
Sharp, N. (2004) ‘Back in the line of duty’, Classic Boat, 38-42.