August 3, 2009: It required some trimming of the price, but a buyer has finally been found for the largest and most expensive private sailing vessel built.
Tom Perkins, the American venture capitalist, is close to completing the sale of his clipper-style superyacht the Maltese Falcon.
The 289ft boat — an elegant “hybrid” that can run on giant sails or engines — is believed to have fetched about £60m after being on the market for more than a year. The yacht, named after the Dashiell Hammett crime novel and its Humphrey Bogart film version, has three carbon-fibre masts carrying 15 sails. Its appearance is based on a traditional, square-rigged sailing ship.
No deckhands are needed to clamber up the rigging and unfurl the sails, however. Instead, the Maltese Falcon’s DynaRig system can be sailed by one man from a computerised control console on the bridge that moves the yards and sails according to the wind and current. Perkins wrote some of the software himself. The sails billow out from storage positions inside the masts up to a height of 20 storeys. They can unfurl in six minutes into a total area of 25,791 sq ft, equivalent to half the pitch at Wembley.
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Tom Perkins 'Maltese Falcon' - photo credit www.symaltesefalcon.com