Tom Perkins created one of the most sensational three-masted sailing yachts of the past 100 years when he built the 88 metre Maltese Falcon with Perini Navi. Launched in 2006, the project took nearly six years to complete. With her radical unstayed masts made of 'weapons-grade' carbon fibre, computerised sail and mast control system and fast hull, Maltese Falcon, and in particular her FalconRig, was hailed as a triumph of design, development and engineering.
Her long and relatively narrow hull was designed be very fast through the water, and her very long waterline 78 metres assures stability against heeling.
The sails, made by Robbie Doyle, are stored on individual in-mast mandrels and set and furled using a complex but brilliant system that makes use of a large number of electric motors within the masts and on the yards. The great idea of the clipper rig is that a huge sail area, 2,415 metres square in this case,can be spread over 15 sails, thus greatly reducing the loadings. On Maltese Falcon there are a total of 25 sails, giving her 10 spare.