Article republished from BOAT INTERNATIONAL : 22 JUNE 2021 BY ROGER LEAN-VERCOE
Tom Perkins created one of the most sensational three-masted sailing yachts of the past 100 years when he built the 88 metre Maltese Falcon with Perini Navi.
All images: SuperYachtsMonaco
Launched in 2006, the project took nearly six years to complete. With radical unstayed masts made of ‘weapons-grade’ carbon fibre, computerised sail and mast control system, Maltese Falcon, and in particular its FalconRig, was hailed as a triumph of design, development and engineering.
The great idea of the clipper rig is that a huge sail area, 2,415 metres square, in this case, can be spread over 15 sails, thus greatly reducing the loadings. On Maltese Falcon there are a total of 25 sails, giving her 10 spare.
One of the most exciting aspects of Maltese Falcon is the yacht’s upwind performance. “We sail as close to the wind as any yacht, of any design, that has more than one mast,” Perkins previously said. He went on to describe the mast and sail control system as ‘almost trivial’ in its simplicity. “I can teach any sailor how to handle the yacht in five minutes,” he said. “To the best of my knowledge, this is not the case with any other big boat with reel winches.”
The superyacht’s ‘luxury machine’ interior – a marriage of industrial chic and high tech – was designed by Ken Freivokh around Tom Perkins’ striking modern art collection, and features leather, glass, wood and steel. The layout includes a master suite and five further guest cabins, and the crew of 16 is accommodated in eight cabins.
Her long and relatively narrow hull was designed be very fast through the water, and her very long waterline 78 metres assures stability against heeling. The sails, made by Robbie Doyle, are stored on individual in-mast mandrels and set and furled using a complex but brilliant system that makes use of a large number of electric motors within the masts and on the yards.
In 2009, Perkins sold Maltese Falcon to hedge-fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou. The yacht is now available for charter with SuperYachtsMonaco from €460,000 a week.