The Maltese Falcon is considered as the largest, fastest and most expensive sailboat in the world. Commissioned by American businessman Thomas James Perkins, this clipper sailing luxury yacht was built by the Italian shipyard Perini Navi.
Measuring 289 ft (88 m), the Maltese Falcon is easily the world’s biggest privately-owned yacht. It has 15 square sails, 5 for each mast, which are stored into the mast and can be fully unfurled into tracks down the yards within 6 minutes. It is equipped with a couple of 1,800 horsepower Deutz engines which can run at a rate of 1,800 rpm (revolutions per minute) and achieve a maximum speed of 23 miles per hour (37 kilometers per hour), sailing smoothly with very little wave-making and practically no noise, vibrations or turbulence.
The design of the Maltese Falcon was modeled after German engineer Wilhelm Prolss’ dynaship concept, an idea which was originally intended for the operation of sailing freight ships utilizing as small a number of crewmembers as possible. As such, the Falcon is manned by a staff of 18 permanent crewmembers responsible for the maintenance of the ship’s technical operations. In addition to this, the crew also manages the yacht’s onboard “hotel,” which is capable of accommodating up to 12 guests, as well as 4 guest staff. To complement this, the ship also employs a gourmet chef, stewards and stewardesses onboard.
Registered in 2006 in Valletta, Malta, the Maltese Falcon sailed a trial voyage on June 12 of that year, spanning from the Sea of Marmara and to the Bosphorous strait. Following the trial’s success, its maiden voyage was then initiated on July of the same year, sailing from Turkey to Italy by way of Malta. Since then, the Maltese Falcon had been rented out by its owner Tom Perkins for an extravagant rental fee ranging from €325,000 to €335,000 (Euros) a week, which includes expenses.
As far as how much it had actually cost to build the Maltese Falcon, Perkins is somewhat coy about the exact figures. In a feature for the television news program 60 Minutes on November 4 2007, Perkins refused to divulge the yacht’s actual price tag, only hinting that it had cost him over $150,000,000, but not more than $300,000,000. In 2006, Yachtworld.com had listed that the Maltese Falcon was on sale for a €99,000,000 asking price. In July 2009, Perkins sold the most expensive sailboat in the world for a sum of £60,000,000.