The steam yacht Vanessa had been built at Leith by Ramage & Ferguson in 1899 as the Golden Eagle, but when sold to Mr Arthur Bowley of Harlow she was renamed Vanessa. She measured 356 gross register tons and 455 Thames Measurement.
She was loaned to the government for war work 15th October 1914 and was fitted out at Portsmouth with iron plating. The whole of her crew volunteered to sail with her. As an auxiliary patrol yacht, she mounted two 6 pounder guns. In February 1917 she became Vanessa II so that her name could be given to a new destroyer. She was returned to her owner in March 1919 and served again in the Second World War as Carina.