The Maltese Falcon is a sailing superyacht that is one of the largest sailing yachts on the planet. It was first launched back in 2006 although you could argue it was actually launched in 1990 as the bare hull actually hit the water back then but it wasn’t actually built into a full vessel that was sailing until 2006. It took six years to finalize the design and construction before launch. Despite its remarkable size and apparent complexity, the yacht is designed such that a single person could operate it by themselves if they wanted to. 

The yacht comes in at 289 feet in length, definitely making it ones of the largest sailing yachts in the world. It features what they call a Dyna-Rig system with three 190’ rotating masts, each supporting five sails.

Who Owns the Sailing Yacht Maltese Falcon?

The original owner of the Maltese Falcon was American venture capitalist Thomas Perkins. He only had the yacht for two years however, buying it in 2006 and then selling it in 2008. The company Pleon Ltd bought the yacht and has been operating it ever since, mostly as a charter vessel.  Since that time it’s become one of the most famous and easily recognizable yachts on the water and has turned up all over the world. 

What Is a Maltese Falcon?

The name of the yacht comes from the movie of the same name, itself based on a book. The Maltese Falcon is a valuable statue made of gold and jewels but disguised to look plain. By the end of the story no one actually has it or knows where it is. In the story it qualifies as a Macguffin, something that is sort of a misdirect and isn’t really what’s important.  

How Do The Sails Work on the Maltese Falcon?

As mentioned, the Falcon uses a DynaRig system. The furling sails are stored inside the masts. The masts themselves are actually made of weapons grade carbon fiber which, as you can imagine, is both highly advanced and not inexpensive by any means. 

When an operator simply pushes a button, they automatically deploy along tracks in just six minutes. The sails have no rigging and they can be trimmed by simply rotating the masts with the electronic control panel. That works out to 25,800 square feet of material in 15 sails. All of it can be controlled from a panel that’s basically like a large desktop computer. 

According to Perkins, at the time it was built, the Falcon sailed as close to the wind as any yacht, of any design, that had more than one mast. He also proclaimed that the computer control system, while obviously having a complicated amount of work to do, was so simple to control he could teach someone with no sailing experience at all how to use it in under 5 minutes. 

This actually caused a little bit of controversy when it was introduced and demonstrated to others. As has happened with similar high tech sailing yachts, there are some yachting or sailing purists who believe a sailing vessel should be sailed the old fashioned way and that using technology to take the manual sailing part out of the equation is considered almost like an insult. Of course, that’s all personal preference and many people think this is the evolution of sailing and love the convenience of being able to have technology manage all the hard work. 

What’s the Maltese Falcon Yacht Interior Like?

The main reason that the Maltese Falcon has been so popular as a charter yacht for all these years is that the interior is everything you’d expect from a superyacht and then some. It has a lot of stuff going on.

There are six suites on board the Maltese Falcon, one Master, one VIP along with 4 double suites, which offer accommodations for 12 guests. If you’re so included, the 4 double suits can actually be combined to create two more VIP suites to accomodate fewer guests but with a little more luxury.

In addition, the boat is manned by 16 to 19 crew who have 8 cabins although it’s worth mentioning again, as stated above, a single person can actually operate this boat. That’s because there is a very sophisticated computer control system that monitors and manages all operational aspects of the vessel. The sails can be raised and lowered with the touch of a button. The ship’s sensors can detect ships in currents and wind and make adjustments to the sails as necessary to ensure it takes maximum advantage of the wind at all times as well.

One of the most famous features is the huge movie theater that is on the boat. It’s listed as the largest of any yacht in the world. How did they pull that off? The yacht actually projects movies onto the sails to use them as a screen, so you get a true movie theater experience with the size. 

For relaxation, the charter also comes with an on-board massage therapist and a treatment room you can use. This is part of the spa area and there’s also a gym as well for when you feel the need to work out. 

For more of a party atmosphere there is a bar in the main salon area that can actually be split in two with sliding doors. When that happens, it breaks it into an indoor bar and an outdoor bar. There’s plenty of deck space on the main deck and, if you’re the VIP, you’ll have your own deck space which we’ll get to shortly.

Decorative features inside include the curated art from the owners as well as accent touches that are mostly finished in wood accents that include things like Masscar ebony and walnut. Elsewhere there’s ample leather, steel, aluminum and glass. There’s an atrium onboard as well as a reading room, a massive full-beam dining room, and a large main salon area. Dining areas include the formal one as well as al fresco spaces.

When you’re looking to have fun the yacht features a lot of toys and tenders as well. There’s even a bespoke waterslide, a feature you won’t find on many vessels. There are jet skis available for use, as well as SUPs and scuba diving equipment. In addition the boat boasts a 33 foot Pascoe tender, waterskis and wakeboards, SeaBobs, kayaks, kite surf gear, paddle boards, jet surfs, windsurfers and even an inflatable platform for lounging right out on the water.

Thanks to the numerous design innovations and features on board, the Maltese Falcon actually received 18 different international awards after it was launched back in 2006 for being the most innovative sailing yacht in the world at the time. That includes earning the title of “Finest Superyacht Ever” according to Superyacht World magazine. And, all these years later, it’s still a design marvel that few other yachts have managed to rival, let alone meet. 

In 2022, the yacht underwent a refit and numerous features have been updated or replaced entirely. That includes the artwork, carpeting, electronics, the cinema, the lighting and even the piano in the main lounge. There’s a new indoor cinema room that was added as well, for those times when you want to watch a film during the day, or without dealing with the weather. 

What’s on the Maltese Falcon’s Upper Deck?

Like a hotel with a penthouse suite, the Maltese Falcon has its own VIP cabin located on the upper deck or bridge deck of the vessel. It has its own private terrace for getting away from the rest of the vessel. The master suite features two walk-in wardrobes and his and hers washrooms. There’s even a lounge and an attached gym for private use. 

The upper deck is also where you’ll find that outdoor movie theater to use when the sun goes down. When it was built it had one of the first outdoor movie screens you’d ever find on a superyacht. You could actually watch movies from inside a hot tub as well. 

What Did the Maltese Falcon Yacht Cost?

As you can imagine with a vessel of this size and all the features it has, it’s not a cheap boat. But like so many of these super yachts, the owners are not always very forthcoming with the price as not everyone likes people knowing their financial business. Way back in the year 2007, Thomas Perkins, the original owner, was interviewed on the TV show 60 Minutes. He discussed the yacht at that time and offered the somewhat vague answer that the cost of the yacht was above $150 million but below $300 million. So that’s quite a large potential range to deal with but, for most of us, the cost of a yacht is pretty expensive no matter where it sits on that scale. 

What’s the Maltese Falcon Yacht Charter Price?

If you’re not in the market to buy a yacht like the Maltese Falcon, you can charter it if you like to enjoy living the high life on the sea for a week or two at a time. The rates for chartering the Maltese Falcon depend on the time of year you want to take advantage. During the winter season you can charter it for $460,000 per week plus expenses. However, if you want it during the summer you’ll have to shell out a bit more and go in for around $523,500 per week plus expenses. A charter Maltese Falcon trip obviously isn’t in everyone’s price rage and it’s often used by celebrities, corporations and millionaires for things like vacations and celebrations.

Maltese Falcon Yacht Top Speed

The Maltese Falcon is not built for speed, of course, but it does well for a vessel of this size. It’s powered by a pair of twin Deutz engines that allow it to cruise at 16 knots. The maximum speed it can reach is an impressive 19 knots. Along with that it has a range of up to 4,600 nautical miles. That’s thanks to a 81,300 liter fuel tank that can keep it on pace at 14 knots. Of course, that’s when it’s under engine power. It is also fully capable of operating totally under sail as well. 

Under sail, the top speed for the Maltese Falcon has been clocked at a very respectable 24 to 25 knots. It’s able to cross the Atlantic ocean in just 10 days. 

The Bottom Line

Though it’s an older yacht than some of the other headline-grabbing superyachts you’ll hear about these days like Jeff Bezos’ yacht or even the Lamborghini yacht, the Maltese Falcon is extremely popular and offers amazing amenities for those who can afford to charter it. It’s still consider the best sailing yacht in the world by many.

At 268 feet in length, the yacht can reach up to 25 knots under sail and it has room for 12 guests. It’s known for its massive movie theater which projects movies onto the sails, not to mention the sails themselves which are controlled electronically and can be operated by one lone person.

The yacht cost somewhere between $150 million and $300 million and can be charted for between $460,000 and $523,000 per week, depending on the time of year.