Phuket had a beautiful new visitor this season. And she’s over a hundred years old. Docked at the yacht haven in the North of Phuket and queening the marina through July and August was the charismatic 165 foot Edwardian Motor yacht “Kalizma”.
She carries with her a glamourous past and present. One of the oldest yachts afloat, Kalizma was used by the Royal Navy in both World Wars, and was once owned by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Richard Burton romanced Elizabeth Taylor on Kalizma, bought by the hollywood couple in 1967, and named the yacht after Burton’s children, Kate, Liza and Maria.
Since her 2006 restoration, Kalizma now sails proudly as one of the finest Classic Motor yachts still in regular use.
The present owner, vijay Mallya, India’s flamboyant liquor tycoon, of United Breweries and Kingfisher airlines fame, and ranked 664 in the Forbes list of billionaires in 2007, purchased Kalizma 11 years ago for his personal use. The yacht has since been lovingly restored, under the direction of her captain, Avnish dhall.
The yacht was restored at the docks in Bombay, now Mumbai...a gargantuan task that involved major changes, including the engines being pulled out completely, and replaced.“I almost killed myself restoring her,” chuckles Avnish, as we are seated in the now exquisitely refurbished living area. “ I almost killed a lot of people! There are people who won’t talk to me anymore!
“I certainly turned myself into an alcoholic.” The Kalizma has since sailed extensively for its owner in the Mediterranean, The Gulf, Indian waters and the Far East.
It’s a plush, beautifully restored boat, with 1 ensuite state room, 4 ensuite cabins (2 twin , 2 double) a dining room and saloon, and a modern galley.
Kalizma is not a charter yacht. She’s guarded jealously by her proud owner and only sails for her crew, her owner or his friends and associates.
After being in Phuket a few weeks, she’s now heading to langkawi, then Europe, and will probably be in Goa, India for the end of the year, where vijay Mallya holds his spectacular, high-profile the New year.