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The Maltese Falcon

A Technological Marvel Soaring Across the Seas

The majestic Maltese Falcon isn’t just a yacht; it’s a testament to the visionary design and a pioneering spirit. At its launch in 2006, it reigned supreme as the world’s largest sailing yacht, stretching nearly the length of a football field with a formidable 42-foot beam. While newer vessels like the Black Pearl and Jeff Bezos’ Koru have surpassed its size record, the Maltese Falcon remains iconic on the water and a coveted charter through Burgess.

Innovation and Luxury:

This marvel of the seas was commissioned by the late Tom Perkins, a pioneer of Silicon Valley’s venture capital scene. Built by Perini Navi and designed by the renowned Ken Freivokh, the Maltese Falcon has garnered a staggering 18 design awards since its debut. In 2023, it underwent a meticulous refit at the Lusben shipyard, resulting in a series of aesthetic and functional enhancements. The hull now boasts a sleek Perini Blue finish, and a new extendable passerelle allows guests a graceful descent to the water. Teak decks have been replaced, and the interiors have been revitalized with lighter woods, cream panels, and exquisite new tapestries.

Beyond the Breathtaking Silhouette:

Here are just a few of the secrets that lie beneath its elegant exterior:

    • The FalconRig: A Masterpiece of Engineering
      The yacht’s true claim to fame lies in its revolutionary FalconRig system. Inspired by the 1960s DynaRig concept, this marvel features three freestanding masts constructed from “weapons-grade” carbon fiber. At the touch of a button, these masts can deploy a staggering 24,756 square feet of sail in a mere six seconds – faster than it takes to tie your shoelaces! This massive sail area is distributed across 15 individual sails, significantly reducing load while enabling a potential top speed of 25 knots. The Maltese Falcon carries a total of 25 sails, offering exceptional redundancy. Despite its success, the FalconRig technology remains relatively uncommon, with the Black Pearl’s DynaRig system being its closest counterpart.

    • Where Magic Happens: Technology at the Helm
      The FalconRig’s brilliance isn’t solely mechanical. Specialized sensors embedded within the sails meticulously measure loads, wind speeds, and tidal currents. This data is then processed in real-time by specialized software, co-developed by Perkins himself, and fed into a centralized control center that automates much of the sailing process. Perkins’ vision was to create a powerful yet incredibly user-friendly sailing experience. He famously boasted, “I can teach any sailor how to handle the yacht in five minutes.”

    • A Cinematic Experience Under the Stars
      One of the most captivating features of the Maltese Falcon is its one-of-a-kind outdoor cinema. Imagine lounging on the sundeck or flybridge, mesmerized by a movie projected onto the expansive canvas of the lower sail. For those seeking a more intimate setting, a newly added indoor cinema offers a Zen-like atmosphere with plush sofas and wood paneling.

    • A Monumental Atrium
      Under Perkins’ ownership, the Maltese Falcon housed an impressive collection of modern art that served as inspiration for Freivokh’s “luxury machine” interior. This design philosophy combined industrial chic with cutting-edge technology, resulting in a stunning interplay of leather, glass, wood, and steel. While the art collection may no longer be present and the interiors have been refreshed, the three-deck atrium remains a showstopping feature, with a majestic staircase winding around the central mast.

    • A Six-Year Journey to Completion
      The hull of the Maltese Falcon was actually built on speculation in 1989 by Perini Navi and remained dormant for a decade, awaiting the perfect owner. When Perkins, who had meticulously planned the vessel for a decade, finally gave the green light, construction took a staggering six years (2000-2006) – twice the typical timeline for a custom superyacht of this complexity. Perkins was a seasoned yachtsman, having owned a diverse fleet for over 25 years, which included the Perini Navi Andromeda la Dea, a pair of ketches named Andromeda, and the classic Herreshoff Mariette. However, the Maltese Falcon was his magnum opus, a high-tech marvel designed for effortless sailing.

    • A Tribute to Film Noir
      The name “Maltese Falcon” is a homage to the classic 1941 film noir of the same name, starring Humphrey Bogart. The iconic blackbird, a symbol of immense wealth, is also a recurring motif throughout the yacht, appearing on the sails, linens, and even as a bronze sculpture positioned by the indoor cinema.

    • Accommodating Luxury
      Officially, the Maltese Falcon boasts one full-beam master suite with a spacious walk-in wardrobe, adjoining gym, and his-and-hers bathrooms. However, there’s also a private full-beam VIP suite that rivals the master in terms of luxury. Additionally, four well-appointed double cabins with en suite facilities offer comfortable accommodation for guests.

    • A Treasure Trove of Toys
      As a yacht known for its cutting-edge technology, the Maltese Falcon is well-equipped with a plethora of water toys and entertainment options. The onboard gym features a state-of-the-art MS Sculpt electric muscle stimulator, while the water toys collection includes eFoils, paddleboards, and jetsurfers. While the original Pascoe tenders remain, the DeepFlight Super Falcon submersible, once the world’s first “winged submersible,” is no longer onboard. Perkins took it with him upon selling the yacht in 2009 and used it to explore the Pacific Islands aboard his motor yacht, Dr No.

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