The Maltese Falcon (yacht)

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This article is about the yacht. For other uses, see The Maltese Falcon (disambiguation).
The Maltese Falcon moored in Monte-Carlo
The Maltese Falcon moored in Monte Carlo
Name: The Maltese Falcon
Namesake: The Maltese Falcon
Owner: Elena Ambrosiadou
Port of registry: Malta
Builder: Pleon Limited, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Launched: February 6, 2006
General characteristics [1]
Type: Luxury yacht
Displacement: 1,240 t (1,220 long tons; 1,367 short tons)
Length: 88 m (289 ft)
Beam: 12.6 m (41 ft)
Draught: 6 m (20 ft)
Propulsion: 2 × Deutz TBD 620
Sail plan:
Speed: 19.5 knots (36.1 km/h; 22.4 mph)
Capacity: 12 passengers
Crew: 18

The Maltese Falcon built by Perini Navi in Tuzla, Turkey is a ship-rigged sailing luxury yacht, commissioned and formerly owned by American venture capitalist Tom Perkins.[2] It is one of the largest privately owned sailing yachts in the world at 88 m (289 ft), similar to Royal Huisman's Athena and Lürssen's Eos. The yacht was sold in 2009 to Elena Ambrosiadou the founder of IKOS Ltd., the Cyprus-based hedge fund.[3]


It was built after the dynaship concept, a 1960s invention of the German hydraulics 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 Maltese 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 claimed that he personally wrote some of the yacht's unique control software.

The Maltese Falcon has two 1,800 horsepower (1,300 kW) 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 Maltese 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. The Maltese Falcon currently charters for between €400,000 = $548,240.00 to €420,000 = $575,652.00 per week, plus expenses.

On 4 November 2007, in a 60 Minutes profile, Perkins suggested the yacht cost more than $150 million, but less than $300 million, refusing to be more specific.[4]

Perkins and the yacht were the subject of a prize-winning biography, Mine's Bigger: Tom Perkins and the Making of the Greatest Sailing Machine Ever Built, by Newsweek's David A. Kaplan. The book in 2008 won the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award for best business book of the year.

The Maltese Falcon was listed for sale in 2006 on, with an asking price of €99 million with engine hours listed at 1,890 hours.[5] Perkins sold the yacht for £60 million in July 2009.[2]

There is now a new and improved Maltese Falcon sailing yacht design concept as unveiled by Perini Navi Italy, complete with the same type of rotating rig. The new 102-metre Falcon yacht design is larger, faster and better according to Perini.[6]


The Maltese Falcon masts

Damon Roberts of Insensys, Ltd. was responsible for designing and manufacturing the DynaRig sail system of The Maltese Falcon in the Tuzla shipyard, Turkey. The design, testing and manufacturing of the system was completed over a three-year period. All aspects of the system were incorporated and tested to ensure that the design and finite element analysis matched the actual loads whilst sailing.

Costing 80 million dollars, the DynaRig owes its origin to work done in the 1960s by Wilhelm Prölss; at the time he believed the system could provide additional propulsion for ships. The DynaRig is effectively a square rig, the mast is freestanding and the yards are connected rigidly to the mast. In this case each mast supports six yards. The yards, unlike a conventional square rigger, have built-in camber of 12%. The sails are set between the yards in such a way that when deployed there are no gaps to the sail plan, enabling each mast's sail plan to work as a single sail. The sails, when not deployed, furl into the mast. The sail is trimmed to the wind direction by rotating the mast. As there is no rigging, the yards have no restriction on rotation and this, taken together with the curved (shaped) yards, low windage and effective single-piece sail, combine to give the rig improved aerodynamic efficiency compared to a traditional square rigger.

The masts are approximately 58 m (190 ft) in height above the bottom bearing. The DynaRig concept calls for an elongated section (to reduce the drag) and this needs to be symmetrical. As the rig can be tacked to allow flow in both directions, the mast rotates about deck and keel bearings.

Insensys also incorporated their fiber optical strain monitoring system that monitors the loads on the rigs to ensure that the carbon fiber structures are never overloaded whilst the yacht is sailing. The fiber Bragg grating system was embedded within the rigs during fabrication of the carbon structure. The system monitors the strains in real time and transmits the loads to the bridge such that they are understood whilst sailing.

The Maltese Falcon moored at Pier 35 in San Francisco, October 24, 2008


The Maltese Falcon was involved in a collision on October 4, 2008, with a 40 ft (12 m) sloop while sailing on San Francisco Bay in support of the Leukemia Cup.[7]


Some of the awards The Maltese Falcon has won.[8]

  • 2011 Perini Navi Cup
  • 2009 Perini Navi Cup
  • 2007 International SuperYacht Society — best sailing yacht over 36m
  • 2007 Showboats international Award — highest technical achievement in a sailing yacht
  • 2007 Showboats international Award — best sailing yacht interior
  • 2007 Showboats international Award — best sailing yacht over 40m
  • 2007 Showboats international Award — most innovative sailing yachts
  • 2007 Boat International World SuperYacht Award — Sailing Yacht of the Year
  • 2007 Boat International World SuperYacht Award — Best Sailing Yacht 45m and above
  • 2007 Boat International World SuperYacht Award — Best Sailing Yacht Interior
  • 2006 Vela e Motore — Superyacht dell'anno 2006
  • 2006 Yacht Capital BMW Award


  1. ^ "Specifications : Maltese Falcon". 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Smith, Emma (2009-08-02). "£60m floats Tom Perkins' 289ft boat". London: -Sunday Times. Retrieved 2009-08-02. 
  3. ^ "Hedge-fund boss Elena Ambrosiadou buys superyacht Maltese Falcon". The Sunday Times. November 1, 2009. Archived from the original on 2011-05-29. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  4. ^ "Tom Perkins: The Captain Of Capitalism". 60 Minutes (CBS). 2007-11-04. 
  5. ^ 2006 Perini Navi Boat For Sale, Details,
  6. ^ The New & Improved Yacht Maltese Falcon, Details,
  7. ^ "Maltese Falcon, 10/4/08". Lyons Imaging. Retrieved 2009-04-14. 
  8. ^ 2006 Perini Navi Boat For Sale, Summary,

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