Monday, September 29, 2008

Falcon Arrives in SF

The Maltese Falcon, believed to be one of the world’s largest yachts, arrived in San Francisco Bay this weekend. The giant 289 foot yacht, owned by entrepreneur Tom Perkins, is arguably one of the most talked about boats in recent history. The main controversy stems over whether or not it is the largest yacht, but it certainly is one of the world’s largest symbols of wealth.

Perkins has been vague on the actual cost of building the ship, stating that it was somewhere between $150 and $300 million. He found the hull for the ship, which is steel, in Turkey, and the behemoth took several years to construct. A crew of twenty is needed to operate the ship, but Perkins has stated that one person could operate it. Despite it’s huge size, there are only accommodations for twelve guests. The rest of the space is taken up by a model Maserati, a media room that would defy even the best on land and many other luxurious features.

The public had a rare chance to get inside the Maltese Falcon earlier this year, when it was listed for sale for $169 million, but it was quickly taken off the market. The ship also briefly did a stint as a charter yacht, where you could rent it for the cool sum of $550k a week.

The Maltese Falcon will easily be visible in the Bay when it arrives, and is in the area to take part in a few events hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club. Perkins planned to sail out to meet the ship in his other yacht, which is 122 feet long. He will board there and then sail around the Bay a few times.

Perkins is the author of Sex and the Single Zillionaire: A Novel, as well as his memoir, Valley Boy: The Education of Tom Perkins. He rose to prominence in the 1980’s, after having been mentored by two of the greatest names in Valley history, David Packard and William Hewett mentored him. He was once married to the novelist Danielle Steele, but as the title of his latest book suggests, he is now single.

The ship’s main competition, in terms of overall size is the Athena, owned by Barry Diller and James Walker. While the Athena is larger in dock, experts claim that the Maltese Falcon is longer in the water. There are few ships that can claim to come close to Falcon, and the ones that do reportedly take into account their bowsprits when calculating length, but this practice is frowned upon in yachting.

The Maltese Falcon will remain in the San Francisco Bay briefly before resuming its trek around the world. Captained by Chris Gartner, the ship has sailed from Turkey, where it was recently completed two years ago. Numerous celebrities and people of note have stayed on board, and many are looking forward to greeting the ship as it arrives in the Bay this weekend. It is not often that residents are greeted with such a historic site.

For pics of the arrival, click here.

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