Doyle Engineers Sails for Maltese Falcon

Maltese Falcon

On June 7th, 2006 Maltese Falcon successfully completed her first sail trial. At 289 feet long, a displacement of 1,240 tons, and draft of 19.7 feet, the Ken Freivokh-designed Maltese Falcon is the largest private sailing yacht in the world. With her three 191-foot tall rotating masts and 25,791 square feet of sail area, the Maltese Falcon is a truly revolutionary yacht built by Perini Navi. Based on the DynaRig square rig concept, developed with Gerry Dijkstra & Partners of Holland, each mast carries five separate push button-controlled, internally furled square sails engineered by DOYLE Sailmakers.

To view more photos from the sail trials of the Maltese Falcon,click here.

“The Maltese Falcon has written a new page in the history of yachting, the DynaRig is no longer an experimental concept” is Tom Perkins’, the owner, first comment to this stunning success. “Everything worked as engineered and the yacht achieved some remarkable numbers: hard on wind in 15.8 knots true, at 38 degrees relative wind angle. we sailed with no fuss or strain at 10.5 knots. On a close reach at 60 degrees relative angle, the speed (still at knots 16 true wind) climbed to 14 knots. The balance is, essentially, perfect–with weather helm never exceeding 0.6 degrees on the wind, or 2.5 degrees on a fast reach. The angle of heel was around 15 degrees, but in a puff, once touched 20 degrees. The leeway angle was well under 5 degrees (without the dagger-board in place). Since it was our first day out, and we wanted to be careful, these results were achieved with the topgallants and the royals furled–so we expect even better numbers in further tests. The maximum loading on the masts never exceeded 50% of our (very, very conservative) limit, so we have plenty of room for some even better results.

“There were no untoward effects from the revolutionary rig. The automatic tacking worked smoothly in all wind strengths–tacking takes only 1.5 minutes, and curiously, she tacks quite readily in light winds, perhaps even easier than in heavier air, (because the wind force against the rigs, when backed, increases with the square of the wind velocity). Jibing is almost trivial and, to a passenger, virtually undetectable.”

To learn how the DOYLE Engineering Department optimized the sail shape for a boat 88 meters in overall length, with a mast height of 53 meters off the water and maximum yard length of 22 meters, read Tyler Doyle, DOYLE’s head engineer, coauthored paper, Optimization of Yard Sectional Shape and Configuration for a Modern Clipper Ship.

For more information on the Maltese Falcon, visit

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