“I must have been a hand aboard a clipper in some previous incarnation because I have always been drawn to these square-riggers. After decades of ownership of sailing yachts–I was still obsessed with the clipper square-rigger concept. So I wondered if it would be possible to bring forward the advantage of this design into the 21st century. Could one create a clipper which would be practical and not require dozens of young crew to set and hand her towering clouds of sail? My good friend Fabio Perini had built a superbly beautiful hull of 88m (289ft), but it remained unfinished. Might it be the platform for an entirely new idea?”
So writes Tom Perkins, the owner of the magnificent Maltese Falcon, in the crimson-covered coffee table book The Maltese Falcon: Art of Innovation. I have been poring over this 240-pager for the last several days, unable to put it down.
Published by TRP Magazines, owner of the well-respected megayacht magazine The Yacht Report, the book takes you from concept to completion of what’s arguably the most famous sailing megayacht in the world. The first half of the 24 chapters are dedicated to the team that made it all possible, told in their own words. These include Perkins, Fabio Perini of Perini Navi, designer Ken Freivokh of Freivokh Design, naval architect Gerard Dijkstra, and the captain trusted with her charge, Chris Gartner. (I particularly liked his refreshingly honest recollection of how he came to run her: “I thought that being Captain of one of the world’s finest classic sailing yachts–the 1915 Mariette–was as good as it could get. But one day Tom Perkins asked me if I would be interested in project managing the build of his new 88m Perini Navi. It was one of the most daunting and interesting offers that I had ever received and after much thought [about two seconds] I agreed.”)
The rest of the book examines her design and construction, through as many words as images. In fact, hundreds of photos show everything from machinists finishing the giant gearwheels used to rotate the masts to dizzying aerial views from atop the carbon fiber DynaRigs, which deservedly get a chapter themselves. Complementing the photos, rough sketches and 3D illustrations give life to every aspect of her build.
The Maltese Falcon: Art of Innovation is limited to a 5,000-copy print run. To ensure you get yours, order it here. The price (£55, or about $110) may seem steep, but isn’t it worth spending a bit more to get your hands on an extraordinary book about an extraordinary yacht?