The 10 Largest Sailing Yachts In The World - Traditional beauty

3. Maltese Falcon – 289 feet – launched 2006.

Built by Perina Navi in Turkey and designed by Gerard Dijkstra & Partners and Perini Navi. Constructed of Steel and aluminium. Maximum speed 20 knots.

Maltese Falcon was built for the American venture capitalist Tom Perkins. She was constructed after the dynaship concept, invented in the 1960s by the German hydraulics engineer Wilhelm Prolss, who wanted to operate commercial freight sailing ships with as few crew as possible. Her three masts have fifteen square sails stored inside the masts, which can fully unfurl into tracks along the yards in just 6 minutes using automated controls. The carbon masts are free standing and able to rotate. Although she is effectively a square rigger, the yards have a camber of 12% and as there is no rigging they have no restriction on rotation, giving the yacht an improved aerodynamic efficiency compared with a traditional square rigger. She is easily controlled and astonishingly it is possible for a single person to pilot the yacht. She can sail off her anchor and away from berths in harbours helped by the sophisticated computer on board. With her incredible speed and maneuverability she can complete an Atlantic crossing in just 10 days. Her two 1,800 horsepower engines allow her to move with minimal wave-making and virtually no noise or vibration.


Inside, the Maltese Falcon is just as impressive and luxurious. The main feature is the atrium where the three decks are united by a circular stairway surrounding the main mast and giving a spiraling effect. An abundance of natural light streams in from above, through the transparent floors, to the lower decks. The main deck is a huge open space with main saloon, large aft-cockpit and an impressive dining room, while below there is luxurious accommodation for 12 guests in the staterooms and crew accommodation for 18. It carries a submarine for exploring the deep, which is one of Perkins’ passions.

In 2009 Perkins sold the yacht in order to indulge his interest in “sports’ submarines”. It was bought by Elena Ambrosiadou, founder of IKOS Ltd, the Cyprus-based hedge fund, for £60 million. In 2006 she was said to be Britain’s wealthiest woman entrepreneur. As she only has the time to spend a few weeks per year on her boat, the remainder of the time it will be available for charter at a mere $607,000 a week. She had her last refit in 2011.

Plans have been unveiled for a new and improved Maltese Falcon, by Perini Navi, Italy, with the same type of rotating rig. This 102 metre (334 feet) yacht will apparently be larger, faster and better. We shall see whether it is also a record breaker.

2. Athena – 295 feet – launched 2004

Built by the Royal Huisman Shipyard in Holland and designed by Pieter Beeldsnijder. Constructed of aluminum. Maximum speed 19 knots.

This beautiful, iconic yacht was surprisingly built in the 1930s, Golden Age of yachting style, for US software developer Jim Clark. It was in 1998 that he first commissioned his boat to be built, only to change his mind because he decided he wanted extra luxuries and facilities. After years of discussions, designs and alterations, the design was decided on and the largest sailing yacht ever built was eventually delivered in 2004.

She is a fore-and-aft rigged yacht with a traditional clipper bow, counter stern and three closed decks. The traditionalism continues inside with paneled interior, but she boasts state-of-the-art sailing and internal systems allowing her to reach almost 20 knots under sail. She is built of high tensile Alustar, an aluminium alloy. Her three 197 foot high masts support 28,632 square feet of sail. Her bridge deck features an open air lounge and media lounge, while her main deck has a formal dining area, library, main salon with wet bar and an alfresco dining area. Her design has won many awards including the “Show Boats International” Award for “Best Sailing Yacht over 40 meters for 2004” and was nominated for “Show Boats International” awards for the “Highest Technical achievement in a sailing yacht” and “Best Sailing Yacht Interior”. She can accommodate 10 guests in 5 cabins who can take advantage of the large array of water toys such as tenders, ribs, SCUBA and snorkeling gear and water skis, to mention just a few. The yacht’s massive galley features one of the most complete food-service facilities found on any private yacht, with top-of-the-range cooking and refrigeration equipment.

In July 2012 the Athena was advertised for sale at $95 million USD, but was reduced to $75 million in June 2014. Later that summer she was listed as available for charter in the South Pacific at around 260,000 Euros per week. This winter, 2014-2015 she will be in the Caribbean where she can be hired for $450,000 per week.

In spite of her massive size, the Athena moves gracefully under sail and although she requires a fair amount of breeze to get going, she soon picks up the pace and moves quietly, comfortably and efficiently, just as her original owner wanted.

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Author - Dee White

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