Superyacht Maltese Falcon was seen cruising down the Sir Francis Drake Channel late yesterday afternoon. She’s seen here dwarfing a charter yacht heading to Road Town.
Maltese Falcon is a clipper sailing luxury yacht owned by American venture capitalist Tom Perkins. It is one of the largest privately-owned sailing yachts in the world at 88 m (290 ft), similar to Royal Huisman’s Athena and Lürssen’s Eos.
It was built after the Dynaship or Dyna-Rigg concept, a 1960 invention of the German engineer Wilhelm Prölss which was intended to operate commercial freight sailing ships with as few crew as possible. The ship has fifteen square sails (five per mast), stored inside the mast; they can fully unfurl into tracks along the yards in six minutes.
The three carbon fiber masts, which are free-standing and able to rotate, were manufactured and assembled by a company financed by Perkins at the Perini Navi Istanbul “Yildiz Gemi” (literally: Star Ship) yard in Tuzla, 50 mi (80 km) east of Istanbul, Turkey, under the supervision of the English company Insensys and Dutch company Gerard Dijkstra & Partners. Other design was provided by Ken Freivokh Design. The Falcon was the third yacht built by Perini for Perkins.
The yacht is easily controlled and has been seen to sail off her anchor and away from berths within harbors. The yacht’s sophisticated computer detects parameters such as wind speed automatically and displays key data. An operator must always activate the controls, yet it is possible for a single person to pilot the yacht. In a radio interview for the BBC World Service’s Global Business programme broadcast in December 2007, Perkins revealed that he personally wrote some of the yacht’s unique control software.
The Falcon has two 1,800 horse-power Deutz engines running at 1,800 rpm with a top speed of 20 kn (23 mph; 37 km/h) with minimal wave-making and virtually no vibration or noise and with a smooth and non-turbulent wake.
The yacht has a permanent crew of 18 to maintain the technical aspects including the rig and to operate the onboard “hotel”, which can accommodate twelve guests plus four guest staff. The boat also includes an onboard gourmet chef and stewards and stewardesses.
The Falcon was registered in Valletta, Malta in 2006. It completed its trial sail in the Sea of Marmara to the Bosphorus strait on 12 June 2006, and made its maiden voyage from Turkey to Italy via Malta in July 2006. Since that time, Perkins has been renting out The Falcon for between € 325,000 to 335,000 per week plus expenses.