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Review: Perini Navi 289' Clipper Yacht "Maltese Falcon"

Discussion in 'Perini Navi Yacht' started by YachtForums, Apr 28, 2010.

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  1. Perini Navi 289' Clipper Yacht "Maltese Falcon"
    Legendary Bird Swoops Into Modern Sailing History

    Review by Capt. Chuck Gnaegy & YF Publisher Carl Camper
    Technical Narration by MF Build Engineer; Jed White​

    A legendary story/name leaps into vivid reality, though not in the cramped office of a make-believe
    sleuth, or tawdry movie set; but as the spectacular, stunning, world’s largest of its kind. She is the
    Clipper Yacht "Maltese Falcon" owned by an equally legendary, modern day visionary who rescued
    her from certain oblivion. While her steel hull was first launched in 1989, she languished almost
    18 years; finally to be chosen the Fairy Tale Queen of sail yachting.​

    Her revolutionary, un-stayed “DynaRig” conformation, according to the original owner Tom Perkins, brings ‘Today’ into yacht building; with a near mythical return to glamorous, long-gone square riggers. Brand new, but no longer experimental; this gorgeous, “big black bird” has flashed past the concept stage; the Maltese Falcon has swooped into modern sailing history.

    Perkins, who made a name for himself in American business with top positions – GM at Hewlett Packard; with a hand in AOL, Amazon, Genentec, etc. – allowed his venture-capitalist-unrestrained-creative urge to leap into the unorthodox rigging concept. When this experienced yachtsman first saw the 12 year-abandoned hull, his gifted intellect stirred. He had previously owned “Andromeda,” “Andromeda La dei,” and vintage 1915 schooner “Mariette,” as well as a clipper-bowed “Atlantide.” This urged him to contact famed designer Gerry Dijkstra, and the Perini Yildiz Yard, in Turkey. He imagined this poor derelict yacht as re-invented in the age-old, sea-conquering design pattern. She would be an artistic, modern challenge.
  2. Perkins enlisted Fabio Perini’s building wisdom, Captain Chris Gartner’s experience, Doyle Sailmakers to dress her: 15 sails, stacked five high on a striking, 3-masted square-rig pattern. They were envisioning the great discovery ships of history. Details: specify 4 oz. dacron sail cloth in an aero-foil shape, light-weight; but interestingly, her top “Royals” register a mere 2 oz. dacron. This allows the Royals to blow out in unexpected, severe squalls – winds 80 knots and more – to avoid heavy heeling or “overturning.” So in all conditions, she carries a balanced sail plan.
  3. Maltese Falcon’s design and construction, with the new page in sail yachting – DynaRig – made them all proud. Sail plan by Doyle Sails is a conventional square rig: Courses at bottom, next up Topsails, then Gallants, on top, Royals. When in shake- down cruises at 15.8 knots in 38° wind, she whisked along at a comfortable 10.5 knots. On a close reach in a breezy 16 knot wind she reached 14 knots. That was with Royals and T’Gallants furled. On engine power (2 x 1,800hp Deutz) trials she checked in at 18-20 knots. For that performance she thanks Perini Navi, Ken Freivokh, Dijkstra Partners, Istanbul, with masts by Yildiz Gemi (lit. trans: Star Ship) yard in Tuzla.
  4. Viewed from the top, close-in we see the DynaRig is a modern version of the “square-rigger” but the yard-arms, firmly attached, don’t swing around the mast. The mast itself rotates; a highly unusual set-up; but quite effective at 58m - 190’ high. These rotating masts differ totally from the old-style: no stays, made possible by hi-tech carbon fiber materials. Reefed, in full down attitude, she still carries an adequate storm sail plan. Sails roller-furl by electric motors into special tubes inside the masts. The slotted reefing track offers a novel idea for twin Crow’s Nests up-top – for the adventurous crew, how about a quick slide, up or down, with proper winching? The ship is controlled via monitoring computer screens; dialing in the angle of the yards and rotation by a control button. To set the sails; just touch the screen image.
  5. This close-up view of the deck house brings us soaring into the 21st century, as stainless steel and modern design glisten in the full light of day. Seemingly a scene provoked from Star Wars VII, or more. The DynaRig, however, is not that new. Its origin dates back to the 1960s when a German engineer, Wilhelm Prölls, studied to decrease fuel consumption for merchant shipping. The absence of standing rigging, he proselytized, would contribute to aerodynamic efficiency. Also, an alteration in design would allow greater movement than a strict square rigger. Enter: the Dyna(mic)Rig.
  6. This overview emphasizes the clean look of her foredeck, with no rigid stays. Her deck-hull joint ‘lip,’ an external fixture, is aligned, methacrylate-bonded, reinforced, then glassed over for a capped rub rail. Note the visual divergence on deck between the massive mast stanchion versus the seeming fragility of the party chairs. Pressure on the base of each mast is 30 tons – low, considering a 30m sloop is ‘normal’ at 120 tons. Torque moment of the mast calculated there is 17,000,000 newton/m, equal to a jumbo airplane wing. Strength? Their rigging tests carried out 500+ furlings, winter and summer, with training crews to prove the mechanics; all problems solved.
  7. From the foredeck, harboring a matched pair of 10-meter Pasco RIB tenders, Maltese Falcon’s bridge overlook provides a sleek, well-designed, convenient snack table, or a refreshing spot to relax, while serious program duty is but a few steps away at the control bridge. Her life rafts are stowed beneath the main deck. Damon Roberts of Insensys, Ltd. was responsible for designing and manufacturing Maltese Falcon’s DynaRig sail system in the Tuzla shipyard, Turkey. The system’s design, testing and manufacturing was completed over a three year period, under Perkins’ close supervision.
  8. Shown along the port side, protected walkways provide an easy path forward or astern. Tinted glass windows the full length shelter interior passengers while providing entertaining scenery. The inside story: main bulkhead – primary mast support -- sports a space frame/carbon beam and foam sandwich, molded around foam core. The 3”x 6” beams overlap each other to form 6”x 6” junctions. Junction boxes are methacrylate and carbon fiber bonded at each intersection. Mast bury is +/- 7 feet. Other bulkheads utilize a polycarbonate honeycomb core, all skins bonded with methacrylate adhesive. All plumbing is routed to master sea-chests, with no multiple thru-hulls.
  9. Richly furnished in sumptuous black and white leathers, her wheelhouse sports the same up-to-the-minute design flair. This hub is the brain center of all the yacht’s plans and activities. Maltese Falcon’s computerized sail operation allows her to sail out of the harbor and maneuver at sea; yet always, of course, with an operator at the controls. Her crew of 16 is well trained in the new systems, but they never have to clamber up the masts as the old-time sailors did, to change sail positions; that, too, is by computer command. Performance? She can cross the Atlantic in a remarkable 10 days.
  10. Though completely computerized, the yacht’s instrument array matches that of any ocean going luxury liner, featuring large screens locating all necessary information for course, winds aloft, speed, depths, mechanics, radios, weather, and surrounding areas. Her navigational bridge – the command center – however, uses a comparatively small portion of the yacht’s vast square footage.
  11. This close-up view of the Sail Control pictures the exact positioning of each of her sails, along with the instruments and competence to make any needed course alterations, relative to winds aloft, and sea currents. Her built-in sensitivity in all conditions is equal to, possibly more acute, than the most practiced sea dog. And, not complex to learn; Perkins insists the sail system is so simple that any practiced sailor can get it in five minutes. When he first approached it he was concerned, he maintains, yet after a very short time he sailed it “like a dinghy, one hand on the tiller, the other on the main sheet.”
  12. Below decks, the central mainmast foyer allows close-up observation and in-house maintenance of the mammoth sail base, although the silver-toned mechanisms are carefully tuned and unlikely to need much nursing care.
  13. Roomy and well decorated with luxurious, ebony black leathers and light mahogany wood veneers, she sports an artistic grandeur. This huge wall decor and other exciting artworks depict dreamlike fantasies, all original and executed at the owner’s requests. After selling a summer home in Bermuda, Perkins arranged to have some of his striking, avant-garde private art collection relocated; mounted on the yacht.
  14. The Aft deck, beyond the VIP stateroom, emphasizes the yacht’s roominess, although for a yacht this length, she does not sport voluminous interior space. Forward of this area are four guest suites which can be arranged as each separately or opened by sliding doors for two larger guest staterooms.
  15. Her spectacular Atrium, girdling the mast and encircled by its spiral staircase, culminating in a skylight, compounds the creative thought and ingenuity expressed by the interior design team. The stairway is completely clear glass. Leaving the standard color scheme behind, here she revels in fresh blues, an exciting, full wall under-water scene. Ken Freivokh’s partner Liz Windsor, top art director of the design studio, emphasizes tastefulness as imperative for both the owner and the design crew. Liz’ mantra: “We start with the art.” Indeed, Freivokh admits those fine artworks dictated the entire interior layout, making it a “Marriage of Industrial Chic with StarWars.”
  16. Her Central Dining area again fosters the stunning artwork of his collections; featuring at center, a sculpted version of the Maltese Falcon itself, enshrined in its own alcove. This rich, somewhat moody, contemporary decor adds a delightful expression of the owner’s and designers’ highly eclectic artistic tastes. Rarely have personal yachts reached this essence of aesthetic excellence; fitting for a craft that is quite an artistic departure itself.
  17. This quiet, unassuming Main Deck Writing/Sitting/Card room departs from her lavish expressions in other venues, here exhibiting a rather quiet – by comparison – blandness, yet still comfortably laid out and furnished to encourage relaxation. Strong woods and black leathers, plus a novel Tresserra designer chair, still reach out toward the museum quality design theme. A statue of the Maltese Falcon is perched at center stage.
  18. Her Main Deck Office immediately reverts, in a back-to-the-future mode, flaunting the spectacular view, with wall-size fine art, museum-scale sculpture, in a near-bizarre – for an office – other-worldly design treatment.
  19. Again, all-out artistic expression molds the Main Deck Salon to Maltese Falcon’s standards, in sculpted magnificence. Leather sofas rise to float above grand islands of pommele wood. The repeated circular theme resounds in her polished mahogany table and overhead in the lighting sequence, embellished by her glittering falcon in flight. Let the Assemblage begin.
  20. An alternate view of the Main Salon emphasizes her sumptuous furnishings, while moving the view farther inward, opening to the ultimate roominess of the yacht. Maltese Falcon’s interior is indeed luxurious, rich in modern décor, with many natural shades, an off-beige background hue described by designer Liz as “mushroom.” But also one unusually vivid accent, notably a tone she tags as “deep burgundy.” Set against beautifully lit and fashioned rooms, each scene is restful but delightful to the eye, modern art at its zenith.
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