September 4, 2015

How Some .0001-Percenters Race

Big and bold, if we’re not mistaken this is the second largest private sailboat in the world.

© 2015 Carlo Borlenghi / Perini Navi

The shot above is not the kind of sailing shot you see very often for two reasons. First, the boat is so big. Two hundred eighty-nine feet, to be exact. Second, because she doesn’t have a traditional jib.

If you’re a longtime Latitude reader, you may recognize her as Maltese Falcon, the huge yacht with the unique DynaRig that Belvedere’s Tom Perkins had built by Perini Navi of Italy and Turkey. Perkins told Latitude that the project was started in 1999, and after some fits and starts, Falcon was launched in 2006. We’re not sure how many, if any, other yachts were built with the DynaRig, but it worked well on Falcon, as she’s hit up to 20 knots.

One of the most festive sailing days ever on San Francisco was in October 2008, when Perkins and crew sailed her beneath the Gate among a huge throng of boats.

Maltese Falcon is currently owned by hedge fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou.

© 2015 Alpha

Maltese Falcon was purchased by Elena Ambrosiadou in 2009. Once the highest paid female executive in Britain, she started and runs what’s been a fabulously successful hedge fund in Cyprus. It’s rumored that Perkins had been asking $165 million for the boat, and Elena got her for $125 million. Perkins subsequently chartered Falcon at least once, but in recent years has been concentrating on his fabulous penthouse in San Francisco.

The Perini Navi Cup is based out of the Costa Smeralda YC in Sardinia. 

© 2015 Carlo Borlenghi / Perini Navi

Falcon is one of 16 Perini Navis that have been participating in the Perini Navi Cup at Porto Cervo, Sardinia. If you have to ask how much the entry fee is, you can’t afford it.

Free Event at Fort Mason

How was food preserved, prepared, and consumed aboard sailing ships of the 19th and early 20th centuries? Find out at a free lecture on Food in the Age of Sail on Thursday, September 10, when the Friends of the San Francisco Maritime Museum Library present historian and author Simon Spalding at the Maritime Research Center in Fort Mason’s Bldg. E, at 6 p.m.

Simon Spalding aboard Elissa, a three-masted barque that sails out of Galveston, TX, as a museum ship.

© 2015 Simon Spalding

Learn why the ship’s cook was addressed as "Doctor," and how salt beef and salt pork scooped from the ‘harness cask’ were made into lobscouse and other shipboard delicacies. This program also covers conditions aboard immigrant ships, slave ships, and whalers. Accounts of the misadventures of shipboard pigs and poultry add spice to the tale, as do snatches of song from sea chanteys and ballads.

A native San Franciscan, Simon Spalding has pursued careers in music and history and has lectured and performed throughout North America and Europe. He has served on the crew of a barque, a brig, a sloop, and assorted schooners, including transatlantic and Baltic trips aboard the Polish sailing vessel Zawisza Czarny.

Spalding’s lecture is based on his book, Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine from Ancient to Modern Times. Ancient Mediterraneans, Vikings, medieval war galleys, Spanish and English explorers, sailing navies and merchant fleets, immigrants from Scotland, Ireland, and East Asia, steamships, ocean liners, submarines and cruise ships are all covered.

To contact the Library, call (415) 561-7030. To contact Spalding, call (252) 636-1256 or see

Sailors to the Rescue

In the aftermath of a devastating tropical storm last week that left many residents of the Eastern Caribbean island of Dominica homeless and its airport unusable, Caribbean sailors as well as visiting international cruisers are being asked to help bring in desperately needed supplies.

When Tropical Storm Erika hit the formerly British island nation last Thursday, it dropped 13 inches of rain in a half day, causing widespread flooding and infrastructure damage. At least 20 are confirmed dead (with many more still missing), and hundreds are homeless, some of whom reportedly have no source of income. Bridges are out and some roads are impassible.

The situation is so dire that the local marine association has put out a desperate plea for help from Caribbean boaters and cruisers. "Dominica Marine Association is appealing to the international marine and yachting communities to assist us in any way possible," said DMA President Hulbert Winston in a statement earlier this week. "For yachts interested in bringing in supplies such as diapers, baby formula, baby bottles, bottled water, nonperishable food, dry food, school supplies, battery operated lamps, batteries, personal hygiene goods, and more, please notify the Dominica Marine Association before entering port (Roseau or Portsmouth) so all Custom duties would be waived once you arrive." 

This is the first time we can recall that sailors have been enlisted in a relief effort in the Caribbean since Haiti’s devastating earthquake in 2010. Meanwhile, half a world away in Vanuatu, a variety of cruisers and sailboat-transported aid teams have helped with relief efforts there in the aftermath of Category 5 Cyclone Pam, which devastated the island chain last March. 

Many cruisers feel they live a very privileged lifestyle compared to worldwide norms, and as a result some are eager to ‘give back’ however they can. If you know of other sailor-assisted relief efforts, we’d love to hear about them.

Just For Fun

As we head into the Labor Day Weekend, we’ll leave you with a highly entertaining video depicting the bustling Dutch port of Amsterdam last month during its five-day Sail Amsterdam event. As you can see, an impressive array of tall ships participated, and seemingly every watercraft in the region joined in the fun as well.

The boat parade was one of the largest in the world, and it’s estimated that more than two million people enjoyed the show.

Video by Drone Addicts
(Thanks to gCaptain for bringing it to our attention.)

Sadly, San Francisco Bay hasn’t been able to stage a tall ship event since the Sail San Francisco organization went into hibernation years ago. But there may be clouds of billowing square sails in the Bay’s future. We’re happy to report that the long-established Sausalito Tall Ship Society, Call of the Sea and the Educational Tall Ship organization are merging into one larger, stronger nonprofit. Hopefully the expanded group will be able to put San Francisco Bay back on the roster of tall ship friendly ports in the not-too-distant future.

(PLEASE NOTE: We too are taking a three-day weekend, so the Latitude offices will be closed Monday, and we will not be posting a ‘Lectronic Latitude report. See you out on the Bay.)

London’s Tower Bridge is raised to allow the Clipper Round the World Race fleet to parade down the Thames prior to their start on Sunday.
The Berkeley-based GravlaX anchored in Jamaica, as featured in this month’s Changes in Latitudes.