Tom Perkins, in addition to having a nose to invest in technology companies that later became giants of Silicon Valley, such as Google, Amazon, Hewlett Packard or Netscape, the American tycoon was one of the largest collectors of precious vessels. The classic sailboat Mariette (1915), several luxury boats, submarines, old motor yachts… However, the most famous of all is the clipper The Maltese Falcon, one of the great wonders of the seas nowadays.
The name of this 88-meter Perini Navi clipper says it all. The Maltese Falcon corresponds to that mystical figure after which the movie directed by John Huston was named. It was a valuable gift for Emperor Charles V, although he could never enjoy it since the galley that was carrying it was approached by the pirates. Centuries later, a detective (Humphrey Bogart) investigates the disappearance of a young woman and finds himself in a plot to possess that relic. At the end of the film, Bogart, being asked about the composition of the Maltese Falcon, replies – the stuff that dreams are made of.
The Ken Freivokh study was responsible for one of the most ambitious nautical projects ever made. It was the first time that a sailboat has three autorotative masts without rigging, thanks to the hydraulic motors installed in their bases. With an innovative electrical system, the 15 square and roller sails that the boat owns take just six minutes to hoist. And all this operation is completed with only one man working through controls. In fact, this massive vessel can be sailed with only two crew members, one that controls the rigging and the one that carries the rudder.
Shortly after deploying the 2,400 square meters of sails, the ship begins to acquire speed and its 1,200 tons of weight seem to be reduced as the foam that is leaving behind it forms.
The revolutionary rig also offers other innovative solutions. The height in which the spars of the masts are located allows a wide outer space, inconceivable in any sailboat. With several areas of armchairs, sofas, and tables, more than thirty passengers can observe from a privileged place the mobility of the boat. And there is still space to locate two boats in the bow and for the aft bar, where you can access the interior of the boat.
It is difficult to take your eyes off of the majestic masts, but it would be a mistake not to observe the rest of the work of the architect Gerard Dijkstra, helped by the designers of the Italian shipyard, they created an authentic work of art where the contrast of colors and materials reigns.
The brown hull, whose beam is 12.60 meters, ends in a sharp bow, giving it that cheeky character when sailing. The black color of the structure contrasts with the metal of the carbon rig, the bridge of the control and the details that are in each corner of the sailboat, as well as with the exclusive wood of the decks. The result is a unique design, as elegant as it is insightful, but without losing the expression of the Perini.
Following the futuristic line of the project, Freivokh loaded the interior with all kinds of details. Glass, metal, ebony wood, carpets, silk or marble are some of the materials used to configure a decoration where the curved lines stand out and where the Maltese Falcon statuette appears in many corners. The entrails of this Perini are reminiscent of the spacecraft of science fiction movies.
The shipowner’s cabin has a gym, two bathrooms and, if you wish, with the aft top deck as a private terrace. The other two main rooms can be converted into four, obtaining a total of seven cabins with a capacity for twelve people. Through a circular staircase, which connects all the rooms, you reach the common area where the largest and most important space is the living room, although it also highlights the office and the library.
Just three years after its launch, in the summer of 2009, Perkins decided to put the sailboat on sale. Elena Ambrosiadou, one of the richest businesswomen in the world, became the owner of The Maltese Falcon in exchange for some 70 million euros, almost half of what the tycoon spent to build it. But the shipowner sailed several more times in his floating dream, in his nautical legacy.
Technical and system specifications:
|Naval Architect:||Dykstra Naval Architects and Perini Navi|
|Exterior & Interior Styling:||Ken Freivokh Design|
|Length Overall:||88m / 289ft|
|Draft:||6m / 19.7ft|
|Air draft:||58.2m / 191ft|
|Sail area:||2,400 m² / 25,791 ft²|
|Engines:||2 x Deutz TBD 620|
|Fuel Storage:||81,300 liters|
|Speed at max power:||19.5kt|