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Photos of the Day

July 21 - Spezia, Italy

Maltese Falcon's lines are as clean as she is fast.
Photo Courtesy Perini Navi

Today's Photos of the Day are from last week's debut in Italy of Tom Perkins' spectacular "modern clipper ship" Maltese Falcon, which was built by the Italian firm Perini Navi at their yard in Istanbul. Some 287-ft long, she is the world's largest privately-owned sailing yacht. But what really sets her apart from all other sailing vessels is her unique Dyna Rig, which features furling square sails on three 192-ft tall carbon fiber masts. The masts are unstayed and rotate.

Because the rotating Dyna Rig masts are unstayed, the bases are quite large.

The Belvedere resident invited 100 or so of his friends for the debut, many of them from the San Francisco Bay Area. One of them, Knarr sailor Knud Wibroe, smiled when he told us, "I remember when Tom was just out of school, didn't have much money, and lived in an apartment on Bulkley Street in Sausalito. He had an IOD near my 8-Meter Scandia. 'That's a nice little boat you have,' I kidded him. We soon became friends. But he's come a long way with this yacht."

The enormous aft deck is wide open

Falcon is not just a masterpiece of technology, but also art. Her brilliant exterior and interior styling were done by Ken Freivokh, who was born in L.A. but grew up in Peru. When you go to boat launchings, everyone is always polite and says nice things about the new boat. But this is one case where folks were sincere, even those who generally prefer the classic looks of Perkins' previous boat, the 135-ft Herreshoff gaff schooner Mariette, to the much more contemporary look of Falcon.

Looking up the mast from three decks down

What's interesting about the hull is that she was built about a dozen years ago for a client who eventually backed out of the project. While sailing his much smaller Perini Navi in Turkey with his daughter about seven years ago, Perkins stopped by the Perini yard, where he couldn't help but notice the enormous abandoned hull. He thought it would make a great yacht, and suggested the project to others. None were interested. As time went on, Perkins seemed unable to resist the challenge of creating something really special. As he told Fabio Perini, "I need a project, not another yacht." And that's what he got.

The defining moment for the project came when Perkins, who graduated in physics from MIT and is as hands-on as an owner can be, Perini, and naval architect Gerard Dijkstra, decided that the untried Dyna Rig would not just work, but would be ideal for the boat. Once Perkins gave the go ahead, it took 5.5 years to complete the yacht. Her finish is flawless.

The masts and sails are monitored and controlled from this one station.

The very active Perkins, who is in his early 70s, describes the yacht as his "retirement home". He nonetheless noted that after a few months he would have to return to work in California. At such time, the yacht - which sleeps 12 guests and has a crew of 16 - will be available for charter at a base rate of 335,000 euros a week - or about $500,000 U.S. when all the extras are factored in. Several high end charter agents told us there certainly are clients who will be interested.

The owner's passage cabin
Photos Latitude/Richard except as noted

Falcon will cross the Atlantic to the Caribbean in November. Perkins has kicked around the idea of racing against Joe Vittoria's 247-ft Mirabella, bringing the yacht to San Francisco, and even challenging the New York to San Francisco record. But with the boat being so new, having only sailed from Istanbul to Malta to Antibes to Spezia, these are just possibilities that have crossed his mind.

Builder Fabio Perini and owner Tom Perkins
Photo Courtesy Perini Navi

For much more on this historic yacht, see the August issue of Latitude 38.


Birdle, the New Word in the Cruisers' Dictionary

July 21 - Pacific Coast of Mexico

"Regarding the photo of the bird atop the turtle in Wednesday's 'Lectronic," writes Terry Bingham of the Eagle Harbor-based Union 36 Secret O' Life, "during the past cruising season in central and southern Mexico, where there is a proliferation of turtles, the world 'Birdle', to describe the situation seen in the photo, was added to the cruiser's version of Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary.

"The number of turtles is especially great south of Acapulco, and 'birdles' are not as rare as one might think. And as you say, they prove that peaceful coexistence can occur in the world."

Bay Racing Scene on Local TV Today

July 21 - San Francisco

ABC's San Francisco station, KGO 7, will broadcast their View from the Bay TV show live from Pier 39 this afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Laura Paul, YRA Executive Director; Pat Broderick, ODCA President and incoming YRA Chairman; and several other Bay Area sailors will be featured. "We'll be plugging sailing and racing in the SF Bay Area," says Pat.

Among the topics Pat hopes to get into the conversation are local yacht clubs, the Santana 22 fleet, sailing programs like SEA (Sailing Education Adventures), WOW (Women on the Water), BAADS (Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors), and of course YRA (Yacht Racing Association). "We hope to mention BAMA, SSS, Wednesday Woodies, and as many other organizations as possible.

"We're specifically going to mention Latitude 38, 'Lectronic Latitude, and the Annual Latitude 38/YRA Calendar, since we feel the folks at Latitude 38 are the major source of sailing info in the Bay Area. Their Web site with its list of organizations is a gold mine. We're furnishing ABC 7 with a list of Web addresses to post on their Web site as well."

If you're going to be home in the Bay Area this afternoon, tune in Ch. 7 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. If you're out of the area or stuck at work, check out the streaming video on The View from the Bay's Web site.

West Marine Pacific Cup Wrap-up

July 21 - Kaneohe Bay, HI

With the arrival of the final entry in the 42-boat Pacific Cup fleet at Kaneohe Bay, and all protests settled, final results have been posted. It's all over but the partying!

The Elite 37 Compromise may have been the last boat to finish, but her crew was in a celebratory mood nonetheless. Front row: Owners David and Sandy Englehart. Back row: David Desch, Mike Englehart, Pat Crillo.
Photo Latitude/Herb

Tom Akin's well-sailed SC 52 Lightning took top honors as the elapsed time winner (09:03:05:20), also taking first in Division E.

In the Doublehanded Division, Shawn Throwe and Neil Weinberg sailed the Swede 55 Contessa to an easy win, beating their nearest class competitor over the line by two and a half days.

Winners in other divisions were as follows:
Division A - California Girl, Cal 40, Timm and Betty Lessley
Division B - Tutto Bene, Beneteau 38s5, Jack Vetter
Division C - E.T., Antrim 27, Liz Baylis and Todd Hedin
Division D - Synge, Synergy 1000, Mike Amirault

A new prize this year was the Latitude 38 Performance Trophy, which went to E.T., for winning the hard-fought battle in Division C. The Antrim 27 also took second in fleet.

For complete coverage of the 2006 Pac Cup, see the August issue of Latitude 38, due out on the streets Friday, July 28. For final results and info, see: www.pacificcup.org.

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