The most likely reason for the sale of Rhouma was that his use of such a large vessel had declined and the maintenance costs were disproportionately large. He still had no intention of forsaking the steam yacht fraternity, though, and in 1913 he purchased the Triton which had come on the market following the death of the previous owner, the Paisley cotton magnate, James Coats, Junior. Built of steel by the Ailsa Ship Building Company in 1902 she was also a magnificent vessel with twin decks, the upper one in teak, but considerably smaller. Triton’s overall length was 147 feet (against Rhouma’s 221), her width 22 feet (28) and her gross weight 290 tons (670). With similar engine power she would have been slightly faster. Whilst not quite as graceful in proportion as her larger sister – and sister she became with a new name, Rhouma II – she was still an eye-catcher.
It was not a good time to be buying pleasure yachts. The Bulloughs had less than a year in which to enjoy her. Rhouma II was requisitioned by the navy in October 1914, working as a minesweeper under the modest defence of a single six-pound canon and the same size of anti-aircraft gun. She was returned to her owner in April 1919 and sold the same year. For such a sizeable investment he’d had no more than thirty months in which to enjoy her over seven years.
Her subsequent life is extraordinary. Sir George sold her to a Vincent Grech of London who had her lengthened by 9′ 2″. He sold her in 1924 and the new owner renamed her Osprey. She subsequently changed hands at least another eleven times and names five times: Rhouma (again), Hiniesta, President Roberts, Hiniesta and Madiz. Her owners have included Iranians, Greeks and, during WW2, His Majesty’s Government. Popular opinion reports that she was broken up for scrap in 1975, probably because she disappeared from Lloyd’s Register of Yachts around this time. In fact she survives to this day as the Madiz. For forty years she was owned by C. Keletchekis of Athens under various of his companies. An extensive refit began in 2004 and was completed in 2006. C. Keletchekis died in 2009 and her current registered owner is ‘Prince Trading Corp, Monrovia, Liberia’. At 110 years old (in 2012) she is the oldest surviving steel vessel still to be classed 100A1 at Lloyds. She has her own excellent website: www.madiz.com
Text by Alastair Scott