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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 14, 2006 at 2:22 PM

VC ahoy

Valley bigwig Tom Perkins’ superyacht made its public debut in Italy today. I know this because a PR agent for the engineering company that designed the boat sent a press release about sea trials performance of the 87.5 meter, $100 million “Maltese Falcon.”

“As the world’s most technologically advanced, privately owned superyacht is officially presented to the world in Italy on Friday 14th July, reports from sea trials already show she is destined to become the largest and fastest personal sailing boat in the world,” the release said.

The release noted that “Perkins’ personal enthusiasm for technical innovation and a desire for cost effective manufacturing, resulted in a combination of the world’s leading experts working from a shipyard in Turkey. As well as providing the space required, the cost effective work force was a key factor in choosing this location, as the estimated build time was put at around 1 million man hours.”

What took so much time? A high-tech clipper ship: “Maltese Falcon has three free standing masts — each one 57 metres high and weighing 26 tons. Each mast has six curved carbon fibre yards, making the rig look like those found on conventional square riggers. Each mast carries five individual sails that can be set separately. Uniquely, however, when all are set, they combine to create a single continuous sail. Because the masts are free standing, they can be rotated to suit the wind direction. To maximise speed, the sails are trimmed to the wind by rotating the mast, thus making the boat much more aerodynamically efficient.”

I asked when it will sail into Puget Sound but the PR person didn’t reply. More details about the project are in the press release here.

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