The Kalizma: Luxury in the Briny Deep

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What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘luxury’? To some, it is as simple as watching a sunset while waves lap gently at their feet. Others prefer the weight of a finely crafted watch perched upon their wrists. Hard to define, isn’t it? On top of this, objects and experiences once purchased or consumed can lose their lustre. So what then, is true and enduring luxury? Our advice in matters such as these – look to The Kalizma.

The Kalizma is a yacht that exudes an old-world sensibility. Her design is without the ostentatiousness that modern yachts betray. She isn’t out to grab eyeballs; in fact, she couldn’t care less about who is looking.

Over one hundred and ten seafaring years, she has witnessed coronations, abdications, and the fall of empires. The Kalizma has served in not one, but both world wars. She has hosted dignitaries, magnates and movie stars. Her bulkheads have been graced by the works of Degas, Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh. She is legacy itself, on the high seas.

This vessel’s life begins in 1906, the brainchild of celebrated designer G.L Watson, and built by Ramage and Ferguson, shipbuilders of some repute in Leith. The Kalizma was registered in Southampton, and soon set sail on her maiden voyage. Even then, The Kalizma was a class apart, being one of the first steam-powered yachts to have electric lighting. A few years later, she was conscripted by the Royal Navy to serve as Auxiliary Patrol Yacht during WW1 The years between the First and Second World Wars were spent competing in yacht races in the U.K and the U.S.A, for which she received a fair few accolades. In the Second World War, she and her sailors were responsible for saving the lives of crewmen from over 1100 vessels that were downed in conflict. She was discharged of her duties in 1946, and her sale to a Greek citizen was even discussed in a session of British Parliament.

Amongst her most famous owners were Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. The name was derived from the names of their children Kate, Liza and Maria. The Kalizma was a gift from Burton to Taylor after she earned an Academy Award for her performance in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’, and provided them with a refuge from the media and a world that gave them very little privacy. It was on The Kalizma that Burton presented Taylor with a 69-carat diamond that was subsequently named the Taylor-Burton Diamond.

Throughout her life, The Kalizma has seen a number of renovations, the most recent(and challenging) one having been conducted in 2006. This renovation restored The Kalizma to her original Edwardian aesthetic while upgrading other components to modern standards. Today, she has been retrofitted with all the bells and whistles. Jet skis, diving equipment and an on-deck Jacuzzi are available to her guests. None of this detracts from her classic lines, and watching her sail is a thing of beauty.

When Richard Burton first bought The Kalizma he said, “I can’t stop touching it and staring at it, as if it were a beautiful baby or a puppy-dog: something you can’t believe is your very own.” But, in this writer’s opinion, The Kalizma can change hands and owners, but she can never truly have a master – only custodians of her history. She has seen too much in her years to belong to a single person. She is neither a commodity nor simply an experience. Rather, she gives you allows you to participate in the stories that unfold upon her decks. You are provided with both freedom and comfort. This is what makes The Kalizma a true luxury.

© 2020. Gut and Flow Media Pvt. Ltd.

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