Tom Perkins and The Maltese Falcon

11 Jun

Seth: Tom Perkins is an American venture capitalist who has made a name and quite a bit of money in the technology arena. Although he earned a degree in engineering from MIT, his true expertise is in business (Harvard MBA). He’s been crucial to the success and growth of HP since the he started there in the late 50s until he resigned from the Board of Directors there in 2006. During that same time he also undertook many other business ventures. One of those is Genentech, a bio-tech firm that he initially invested $250,000 in and came out with somewhere near $2 million. I highly recommend you pick up his autobiography Valley Boy. I’m reading it now, and not only is it a page-turner, it offers spectacular insight into the backgrounds of some of the most important technological developments of the last fifty years.

Like I said the man made quite a bit of money. Using a bit of that money, he built The Maltese Falcon. The Maltese Falcon is a clipper-style yacht that surpasses almost all private vessels in both luxury and technology. I first learned about this during a segment on 60 Minutes, and it is a fascinating boat. At 88 meters, it is the one of the largest privately-owned sailing yachts in the world; only two bigger exist. Most yachts are about 9-15 meters in length. It is built as a clipper (fast sailing ship) and has won the only regatta entered: the Perini Cup races.

On the 60 minutes segment, Mr. Perkins stated the typical luxury yacht costs about $1 million per meter. At 88 meters the Falcon costs about $88 million, right? Wrong. Try somewhere between 150 and 200 million. Mr. Perkins isn’t telling the exact figure, but it is currently listed for sale at $181,240,000 USD. It’s worth every penny, too. It has space for 12 guests, plus 4 staff including a gourmet chef for their needs. That doesn’t include another 4 cabins for ship’s crew. Some pictures:

Service for 10

Master Suite

Cockpit

There’s the luxury. It’s also at the forefront of technology. It could be run totally by one person. If you know anything about boating, you know what an incredible feat that is. If you don’t, just look at any of the Pirates of the Carribean movies and you will get an idea of the amount of crew members necessary to operate a ship. The ship is totally computerized, the masts and sails are automated, so they rotate according to necessity. The sails furl into the masts with the touch of a button (the big poles that go in the air) and there are also a lot of other technical things that I don’t even understand. Your best bet is to go to the website of the ship.

While there, check out the plans for the deep flight submarine. The idea for the sub is that it will fly through the water like a jet plane through the air (think rolls and loops). It will even be able to jump out of the water like a dolphin. The sub will be stored on the yacht. See more details and pics here.

This yacht isn’t simply an example of American greed and gaudiness, rather it represents the pinnacle of ingenuity and innovation. It’s more fascinating than words and pictures can show. In fact, although the video I saw gives viewers a much greater idea, it does not do justice to fully convey the nature of this boat. Ray, get your money up to cop this if you really want a challenge.

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