The annual King’s Cup yacht regatta will take place in early December off the south end of Phuket. It attracts the very best yachts and sailors from all corners of Asia, but one salty sailor who has more than half a million sea miles under his belt, says there is a place for the classic yacht. Managing Editor Roger Foley talks to Christopher Edwards about his life time at sea with some of the world’s great sailors, and why he donated the Xiphias Trophy.

Chris has always loved classic yachts. His first yacht was designed by the famous American designer Thomas Gilmer. The yacht Chris is better known for in the Andaman Sea area, however, is “Xiphias”, a Lyle Hess designed better known for in the Andaman Sea area, however, is “Xiphias”, a Lyle Hess designed Bristol Channel Cutter. Chris bought her in Singapore and lived on her and raced and explored our local waters for 12 years.

It was on Xiphias that Chris first went to the Mergui Archipelago in 1992 with an anthropologist to study the Moken sea gypsy maritime tribe and then later to Surin in northern Thailand. At the time, Chris believes he was the first yacht to have visited the sprawling archipelago which lies off the Burma coast with the Burmese Government approval.

“You still need a permit to get into the area, but now it has become a destination for expensive charter boats.”

The trip fuelled Chris’s interest in the maritime tribes of the region, and he got Indian Government permission to visit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The latter are still closed to general yachting traffic. Chris says the trip was fascinating as the Nicobar’s are home to one of the most ancient tribal people. “Genetically, these people are some of the purist tribal groupings in the world, but they face extinction. Going there was like the gold chest at the end of the rainbow. And on one occasion, we did see a group of the Shompen forest dwellers. It was a wonderful experience.”

Reference : Phuketmagazine | Read more : file.pdf

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