Legendary Sail












The first Maltese Falcon, of course, was the celebrated—and elusive—black bird that Joel Cairo offered to buy off Sam Spade for $5,000. The second is what a newspaper writer called “one of the world’s greatest examples of conspicuous consumption”—the 289-foot Maltese Falcon yacht, less cinematically enduring than the original no doubt, but certainly more expensive: in the $150 million to $300 million neighborhood.

The man who paid the bill is legendary venture capitalist Tom Perkins, ex-husband of mega-novelist Danielle Steel and part-time Belvedere resident. Immodestly trumpeted as “the world’s greatest sailing yacht,” the boat visited Marin in September for a fundraising event hosted by the San Francisco Yacht Club.

"I couldn’t be fonder of you if you were my own son. But, well, if you lose a son, it’s possible to get another. There’s only
one Maltese Falcon."
—Sidney Greenstreet, speaking
 to Humphrey Bogart, in
the Maltese Falcon

As one might expect of a vessel conceived by one of Silicon Valley’s premier entrepreneurs, the Maltese Falcon is exceedingly high-tech—15 sails that emerge from three rotating carbon-fiber masts and so computer controlled its football-field length can be sailed by a single person.

It’s also over-the-top lush—room for 12 guests (plus crew of 20), several gyms and a three-story atrium. And it could be yours if you have $169 million lying around. That’s what Perkins was asking for it earlier this year. Too steep? Then rent. The Maltese Falcon can be leased for $550,000 a week.