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25th September 2018
I had the pleasure and honour of being invited to race aboard the revolutionary sailing yacht
Maltese Falcon in the Perini Navi Cup 2018 in the stunning race venue of Porto Cervo. The first thing you notice when you walk down the docks towards the boat is how clean and
elegant the yacht is. With its freestanding Dynarig there is no rigging, ropes, sheets or blocks cluttering the deck.
With two days of training scheduled time was short to learn how this boat would handle, but
luckily with the expertise from the Amsterdam based yacht designers Dykstra, -Thys/Thijs
Nikkels and Jeroen de Vos and Portsmouth UK based rig designers Magma Structures -
Damon Roberts- we had an experienced team working with the Falcon crew. Here, it is worth
noting that the Falcon can be sailed by 1 person (helming and sail trim at the same time). We
split the roles on board, so there was a helm, a sail trimmer, Nav & tactics &
communications, final decision maker, someone watching the tracker and spotters on either
side for wind and for other boats.
We spent our time during the training gathering data on the boat, sailing in a straight line on a
variety of different wind angles, calibrating and correcting the wind units and boat speed in
order to give us accurate and reliable information to aid navigation and also trim. This
ensured the numbers we would see on screen during the race were interpreted as realistically
Another big area we worked on was the tack. With 3 rigs spaced along the length of the boat
this presents quite the challenge for the trimmers and the helm. Knowing the optimal order to
rotate the rigs, and the rate of turn of the helm is essential and this changes depending on
what wind and wave conditions we have. You may ask, would it be more efficient to wear
around (gybe instead of tack like the square riggers of old) well we thought about this and
apparently it was tested in the past, the problem is you lose too much distance as the boat
accelerates when you bear away. Once we had tried a few different variances of rate of turn
and trim and analysed this on the computer software it then became a matter of fine tuning.
A very good tack – boat speed drops to around 2knts +/- 0.5 knt rate of turn remains positive.
A good tack boat speed drops to 1-1.5 rate of turn positive but almost neutral at point of
forward mast rotation.
An average tack is around 1knt the rate of rotation of the boat becomes neutral.
And a bad tack we go backwards normally rate of rotation of boat becomes negative.
20th September 2018
With a stiff breeze from the north east we knew there were 2 key points for us on the race
course where we could make some potential big losses, like any 3 master, the Falcon is not an
upwind machine. We knew we could not point as high as the sloop and ketch rigged yachts
and we also pay a penalty for tacking. Therefore, any leg where we require to tack and the
other boats make the mark, is a heavy penalty to us.
We hit the start line at max speed and 10 seconds after our gun (less than half a boat length,
an achievement by any boat) at the favoured end and in a position to give us the best
opportunity to lay the first mark without a tack. Taking every lift we could and managing the
sailing modes we manage to make the turning mark (rock) without a tack.
The ease of the Falcon to go downwind, gybing and trim is where she excels against other
yachts thanks to her three masts configuration and powerful Dynarig. We trucked downhill,
gybing inside and rolling around the bow of the other yachts that were ahead of us.
Our aim was to keep it simple, do the basics. Ensure we sailed as short a distance as possible,
make nice mark rounding’s so we would always come out of the mark with a good trajectory
and not slide sideways with a handbrake turn.
A key point for us was leg 3, we knew we had to do everything to make it through the gap
between the rocks without tacking. If we could make this, the rest of the race was to our
favour and we would extend on our opponents. We sailed a high mode trying to balance
sailing high and not drop too much speed to avoid just slipping sideways. With the skill of the
helmsman and trimmer they kept the boat moving throughout this demanding mode of sailing
required of them to just pass the headland by 75m clearance. Then... we unleashed the falcon
and she flew!
Day 1 was a mode sailing day and choosing racing lines, I believe we left maybe 30 seconds
(two boat lengths) max on the race course against the perfect track! This was an amazing
21th September 2018
A very different kettle of fish, with light winds and between 4 to 6 tacks predicted. We
identified before the start the make or break of our day. A VMG upwind test through 300m
straights in less than 6 knots forecast. The computer routings struggled to predict a route
through the gap as it involved multiple tacks in succession. With our slow tacks and slow
speed build (as you can imagine for a yacht of this weight over a thousand tonnes) we knew it
was going to be near impossible to pass with the wind in the forecast direction.
With again a similar wind angle to day 1 for the first leg, we just laid the windward mark in
last place. As we did so we had the advantage of being able to monitor the speeds and angles
of all the other boats, this allowed us to pick a nice line to play the pressure across the race
course and position ourselves for the predicted wind shift.
We made monumental gains down this run (another feature of the Falcon Dynarigs is that the
sail is fully supported and therefore the sails don’t collapse under their own weight and they
keep the aerodynamic flow attached). We could see all the other boats with jibs closing the
slot and over trimmed main sails. Whereas we were able to keep the flow of air over the sails
and rigs thanks to the bone structure of the masts.
Unusual boats and extreme conditions calls for special tactics and measures. With the tactical
preference, in any small or sloop rig vessel, to stay south to be ready for the expected right
hand shift we had to apply a different way of thinking. Our aim was to pass through the gap,
where we knew we would have to put in double, triple and maybe quadruple tacks within the
3-boat length gap. I have sailed a lot of boats and this is a challenge in any boat even one that
can accelerate quickly after the tack. I know I could never do this in my international 14 and I
never tried it in my Figaro. So to say I was nervous going in to this gap would be an
understatement (I have only ever been nervous a couple of times in my sailing life!) With the
adrenaline pumping we sailed in fast from the north, reaching in at full speed, the idea being
to hug the rocks and carry speed through the first tack to give us the best chance of making
the 2nd. As we trucked towards the rocks in the south of the gap at 6 knots I could feel the
tension aboard building and I could read their minds ‘when will he call the tack???!!!’ the
captain looking anxiously at me (he had the ultimate control to bail if he wanted) but he held
fast and had confidence. ‘OK TACK’ I made the call and as the boat spins I leave the bridge
and look towards the back of the boat to watch the transom swing towards the rocks, WOW.
That was close, 20m from the shore but we needed every metre we could get!
As we come out the tack the speed drops to 1.4 knots!! It’s speed build time but with only
200m to do so before we have to tack again.... slowly, it creeps up and the shore gets closer.
We send the bow man on the front to check the rocks. 120m from the rock, speed at 3.5
knots… it’s not enough, we won’t me it!!!! (It is worth noting we have the engines in neutral
and bow thrusters ready to go.) 80m from the rock (less than 1 boat length!!), boat speed at
4.5 knots ‘OK TACK’ Calmly the helmsman puts the tiller over and as we turn we decide to
shoot the line, it’s all or nothing as we can’t build enough speed to tack again.
The trimmer feathers the rigs, pointing straight into the wind, the boat speed starts to drop, 3
knots…1.5 knots. We hear the call from the bow man ‘10m to go’ (15 seconds at this speed)
but the speed continues to drop and with 10 seconds gone we are down to 1.2 knot, 5m to go
and 1 knots speed (my heart is now pumping, will we make it or is it race over for us??!!)
We hear the call ‘that’s the line’ with only 0.8 knots boat speed. Wow that was a hell of a
‘Engines on and let’s get out of here’ comes the call from the Captain.
The falcon has done it again line honours and the win on handicap against all the odds!
This race was about strategy and planning, relying on the navigational software and having
balls of steal!
Having managed to adapt quickly on sail trim we were up to speed quickly as it took the
other boats a mile/mile and a half to get settled. When they did they started to sail higher and
faster than us, as expected. Our aim was to hold them as long as possible to the lay line to be
able to tack inside of them and lay the mark. We just managed to do this and SY Spirit of the
C's went for a tack across our bows, we tacked at the same time, just over lay with room to
sail fast to the mark (rock again).
It was amazing to see 4 boats tacking in such close quarters on to the lay line in 25 knots.
Anyone who thinks these beautiful boats are just for show could not be more wrong, they sail
and can be pushed hard.
15th July 2017
When a great sail ends means that a new charter starts for us. The 2nd charter gave us the opportunity to visit again the most wonderful French Riviera.
Our guests experienced unforgettable moments around the famous and glamorous beach resorts of Saint Tropez. Sea sports were enjoyed by all
In Saint-Tropez we anchored in front of the castle, in Cannes we anchored to get protected from the strong 40+ knot winds, in Monaco we berthed in port Hercules in order for our guests to visit the city and the famous casino. After all we had the chance to visit Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat traditional village.
5 July 2017
On July 5th we arrived in Palma de Mallorca. This is a really fantastic place, Santa Maria cathedral overlooks the Bay of Palma. This place is like home for many crew members on board. We were happy working around the clock to prepare the yacht for the next VIP charter. The Balearic area has incredible beaches, scenic coastline and the view of Serra de Tramuntana mountains to the north. During this amazing charter we went anti-clock wise all around Palma de Mallorca before we set sail for Ibiza.
Highlight of this trip was our visit at Formentera the most impressive and popular beach place between hundreds of other boats under the sun. Leaving the anchorage under sail was an impressive show that amazed everyone and we had for 1 hour a big spectator fleet following us.
We sailed back to Ibiza arriving at sunset in order to get the most romantic experience for our Guests
23 June 2017
On June 23rd The Maltese Falcon, with Captain Nicholaos Leontistsis “Leon” on board set sails for the new charter season to reach her home Sea, the Mediterranean.
As the Greek poet Cavafy said “As you set out for Ithaki hope your road is a long one, full of adventure, full of discovery”. It is a unique experience to sail in the summer, the peaceful Atlantic Ocean, and live over these magic waters which change color when the sun rays fall straight at noon.
On June 30 we traveled to Azores in order to visit this magical place in the middle of Atlantic Ocean. We met very kind people that treated us in the very the best way. There we received 2 great new crew members, among them our new amazing Head Chef ready to create magic for everyone with his incredible food! And we set sail again for Palma de Mallorca.
23 March 2017
On 23th March the beautiful Maltese Falcon arrived in Bermuda ready for a new adventure and prepared to win a new challenge! New sails, new ideas, fresh breeze and nice people on board under the bright Bermuda sun, the perfect conditions for an unforgettable experience!
We took position for the America’s Cup races with the best view each time. We watched amazed as these super power machines foiled above the water defying -it seemed-the laws of physics in order to win reaching incredible speeds. But we were not idle, we joined the Superyacht races
“There’s no denying that modern America’s Cup boats flying in hydrofoils at well over 50 miles per hour are some of the most exciting things on the water. But even the most die-hard performance sailors agree, nothing compares with the elegance of the J class, or the sheer power of the Maltese Falcon under full sail.”
Everyone enjoyed their time onboard and the beautiful island of Bermuda. The island and the race committee welcomed everyone with great hospitality and many events including the charity event, organised by Russell Coutts on Wednesday June 14th in Bermuda were for the benefit two youth education foundations, the America’s Cup Endeavour Program and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation.
The event took place in Fort Hamilton alongside the six current America’s Cup helmsmen; Sir Ben Ainslie, Jimmy Spithill, Dean Barker, Nathan Outteridge, Peter Burling, Frank Cammas and other prominent sailing figures from the America’s Cup. The view from the top of the hill was stunning and the company incomparable. Our guests were able to visit the training facilities of the Oracle team and were stunned by the facilities and most gracious welcome. Below is a photo of the views from the event venue.
18 November 2016
The Falcon has landed in the sunnier climes of the North Caribbean after a swift fuel efficient crossing under sail. We have travelled a total of 4971nm with the weather on our side; it was a blissful experience.
We were lucky enough to witness the "Super Moon" the first one since 1948 bigger and brighter in the sky than usual, just incredible! The closer we sailed to the Caribbean the more flying fish we saw, it became quite routine to wake up early in the morning and see a fish or two on the aft deck. Having arrived late night Tuesday, 15th most crew were keen to wake up early to see the sunrise over the picturesque island of St Maarten.
07 November 2016
The Falcon has set sail for a winter in the Caribbean. We have travelled over 1590nm so far, only another 3500nm to go until we arrive in St Maarten. We started our journey in Athens passing Italy via a quick pit stop in Gibraltar to fuel up and carry on through past Madeira heading south-west. Everyone is excited and getting ready for Antigua Charter Show. The crossing started off with some fairly rough seas and now all seems to have calmed down with a good weather window. We have had incredible sunsets and the stars light up the night sky ever so brightly. During the day pods of dolphins have been swimming around the bow enjoying the crew taking lots of pictures of them. Currently admiring a beautiful rainbow stretched right across the stern while we sail into the sunset!
29 September 2016
It’s been a busy couple of months and the Falcon takes a short break to fluff her feathers in preparation for the Monaco Yacht Show.
A new location for us that we consider a great find with fantastic facilities and people, we are welcomed like old friends and have been looked after very well.
Composite works in Collaboration with Nuovi Cantieri Apuania. Were sorry to be leaving..
25th August 2016
The name derives from Greek word Kapros and the Latin word Caprae, somehow associated with wild boar and goats apparently.
11th August 2016
This place needs no introduction, an old haunt that the Falcon and many other yachts returns to again and again and it still wow’s everyone with the absolute style and beauty of the place.
9th August 2016
The beautiful island of Nea Kameni, also known as the Santorini is a volcanic island at the centre of the impressive Santorini caldera.
Nea Kameni was formed around 1570 after a series of volcanic eruptions. Kameni is surrounded by warm dark waters which are known for their therapeutic benefits. We took Falcon for a spa treatment – no feedback received as of yet!
25th July 2016
One of our intrepid guests decides to go aloft for a birds eye view.!
22th July 2016
Great guest aboard and we head down Corsica’s stunning West coast for an overnight stopover at Girolata and the famous red rocks before exploring more of the West coast as we head South.
The West Coast of Corsica is beautiful but mariners need to keep an eye on the weather. When the Mistral blows, you want to know a couple of days ahead of time. Not much protection to be had on this coastline.
17th July 2016
Mid July Falcon returns to Antibes for preparations before our next charter, we like Antibes and the yachting infrastructure here is a well-oiled machine.
14th July 2016
Mid July and were back in Monaco, always a pleasure to be back in the Principality with some very old and dear friends.
6th July 2016
Early July the Maltese Falcon cruises Bonifacio Straits and whilst there spends a night alongside in Bonfacio harbour, interesting manoeuvring, not much traffic when we entered but was a little crazy when we departed. A must see harbour with stunning views.
26th June 2016
Maltese Falcon departs Mykonos bound for Monaco where she will be hosting some of the industry’s leading brokers for lunch and afternoon cocktails on order to showcase the recent improvements and upgrades on Friday 1st July
Weather forecast for the trip is good and we expect to arrive safe and sound by Thursday.
24th June 2016
Following the trip from Malta the Falcon berthed in Faliro Marina in Athens for final preparations for the 2016 season, it was busy and exciting time.
On deck over and above the routine maintenance and various upgrades the most exciting of which was the facelift on both tenders which included the new engines and wiring, new chart plotters, all the cushions were replaced and new stereo equipment was installed, the tenders are ready to go.
The interior of the Falcon was treated to some exciting new upgrades too, the four guest cabins saw new carpets laid and new televisions screens fitted throughout, the old atrium has been converted into a spa area with a dedicated massage table. The main saloon had new carpets and lighting upgrade as were the overhead lights in the guest cabin passageway and writing room. The bridge deck VIP cabin improvements included new curtains and fitted carpets.
The extensive upgrades that have been carried out to the Falcons existing AV system has ensured an enhanced audio visual experience throughout.
The stewardess team is especially happy with all the new table decorations that have been added to complement the existing inventory for more stunning table settings, the addition of a qualified massage therapist and all the improvements made are testament to the commitment the Maltese Falcon has is in remaining one of the leading charter yachts in the fleet.
The Owners, Captain and Crew look forward to welcoming our valued charter guests and friends aboard again this summer.
17th June 2016
The announcement below was circulated by Nigell Burgess charter department internationally.
After a long and happy association with MALTESE FALCON, which stems as far back as the build period, Captain Robert Bell is stepping down from his command. We would like to thank Captain Robert for his commitment and success in delivering outstanding memories to all those participating in the Falcon program.
Marking the start of an exciting new era, we are delighted to announce the appointment of Louis Rich as Captain of MALTESE FALCON.
Captain Louis has over 30 years experience in the industry and has built an outstanding reputation among all that have worked with him. After
commanding some of the most prestigious yachts in the world including LIONHEART, ALFA NERO and ROSEHEARTY, he now takes on his most exciting challenge yet. Captain Louis leads a world-class crew who, together, will ensure your clients have the charter of a lifetime aboard MALTESE FALCON.
9th and 10th June 2016
All the hard work pays off, the Falcon went out for a two day photoshoot off Athens which was a great success, thanks to everyone’s cooperation and hard work.
Tender and Falcon
6th June 2016
15th April 2016
We sailed to Monemvasia with the following statistics:
We wintered in Malta and completed our 10 year survey
and in March the bird was ready to fly again. We were sad to
say goodbye, so we took a few pictures to remember our
departure from this photogenic island.
We were still in the shipyard When the Her majesty the Queen Elisabeth the II visited Malta in November 2015, and she was welcomed at Fort St Angelo for the reopening after restoration
Monemvasia is a town on a small island off the east coast of the Peloponnese. Its area consists mostly of a large plateau some 100 metres above
sea level, and is the site of a powerful medieval fortress. The town walls and many Byzantine churches remain from the medieval period. The town's
name derives from two Greek words, mone and emvasia, meaning "single entrance". Its Italian form is, Malvasia.
Monemvasia's nickname is the Gibraltar of the East or The Rock.
The island of Monemvasia was separated from the mainland by an earthquake in 375 AD. The rock may have been the site of a Minoan trading post.
Pausanias, the renowned Greek traveler and geographer, referred to the site as "Akra Minoa", which translates to "Minoan Promontory". From the 10th century AD, the town
developed into an important trade and maritime center. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 it became the only remaining domain of the Despot of the Morea, Thomas Palaiologos,
claimant of the Imperial throne. He had no forces to defend it; he offered it to the Sultan, and finally sold it to the Pope.
By 1464 the inhabitants admitted a Venetian garrison. The rock was governed by the Venetians until the treaty of 1540, which cost the
Republic Nauplia and Monemvasia, her last two possessions on mainland Greece
10th April 2016
We dropped of our last charter in Malta in October 2015, and remained on the island to get our red stripes at the dry dock
Fort Saint Angelo (Maltese: Forti Sant'Anġlu or Fortizza Sant'Anġlu) is a large bastioned fort in Birgu, Malta,
located at the centre of the Grand Harbour. The fort was originally a castle, and its date of construction is not known.
It definitely existed by the 13th century, and in the Middle Ages it was known as the Castrum Maris. It was rebuilt by the
Order of Saint John as Fort Saint Angelo in the 16th and 17th centuries,
and it played an important role in the Great Siege of Malta of 1565. The fort was then used by the British as a stone frigate,
and was known as HMS Egmont or later HMS St Angelo.
17th July 2015
After a little over 6 months in our berth in Greece the season has started.
We left Greece on June the 18th and arrived in the seaside town of Budva in Montenegro on the afternoon of the 20th. It was an ideal shakedown cruise for the boat and the crew to get used to being at sea again.
Myself and 5 other crew members then took a proficiency in watercraft course. I can't help but smile to myself, I am qualified to be the Master of a 3.000 ton ship but not a jet-ski! Thankfully I passed the course, and even better, 5 of the crew qualified to instruct people on the use of jet skis. The Maltese Falcon is now an RYA approved jet ski training centre. This took us a few days and then we were ready to start our first trip of the summer.
Our first cruise started in the beautiful fjords of Montenegro, before we moved North to the walled city of Dubrovnik in Croatia, where we stayed for a couple of days before we did a long leg South down to Corfu. The water was still surprisingly cold in Corfu and we decided to keep moving South through the Ionian. We had some nice sailing and visited some stunning spots, the beach BBQ's seemed to be the highlight of this trip.
We dropped off our guests in Cephalonia and within minutes were on our way back to Athens. We had an awesome afternoon and evening of sailing before the wind ran out and we were forced to turn the key and keep moving.
Our 2nd trip is now well underway and we are back in familiar ground for me, cruising around the Aegean islands. The Falcon loves the breeze here, we were sailing along at 15 knots yesterday evening after leaving Mykonos. We have 3 more weeks here in the Aegean before we head to Italy and the Western Med for the rest of the summer.
1th June 2015
After a pleasant winter spent tied to the dock in Zeas Marina near Athens, the Falcon crew are making final preparations for another busy summer season. Over the winter we have not been idle, the boat has had a lot of tender love and care. From the masts and sails to the tenders and toys everything has had some attention. We have upgraded our gym with some new machines, added an electric massage chair and bought a new tender. The list of works was lengthy but suffice to say we have been busy and the boat is looking great.
A number of new people have come to join the Falcon family, we have an amazing multinational crew, with a great blend of experience and youthful enthusiasm. We are all looking forward to the season getting started. Our first trip starts in just a few short weeks in the Ionian before we come back to the Aegean for the next two cruises. It looks like it is going to be one of our best summers ever.
4th June 2013
After a stunning last week charter in the BVIs, we packed up the boat and readied ourselves for the crossing ahead. Bearing in mind that it was directly after charter, the boat had never looked so busy. The Atlantic crossing was the best one to date, as the seas were very kind to the Falcon. We powered along nicely with the max speed of 19 knots and an average speed of 10 knots. The distance travelled on this particular crossing was 4,250 nautical miles over 17 days, from the BVIs to Valencia.
We sailed for 98% of the crossing and motored merely for docking purposes at Gibraltar for a pit stop of 2 hours, then on to docking at Valencia.
During the crossing we had the pleasure of encountering pods of dolphins at several spots, one juvenile humpback whale just off the North Azores and two birds also joined the vessel for 4 days rest across the Atlantic ocean!
The total amount of miles racked up by the Maltese Falcon has now reached a mammoth 121,000 Nautical Miles with 8 Atlantic crossings securely under her belt, we are very proud of her to say the least.
16th April 2013
After an extremely successful charter at the St Barths Bucket, where we were lucky enough to have front row seats to a spectacular boat race on the Falcon, with waves crashing over the bow and the rails buried firmly under the waves. Our guests had an enormously impressive show, varying from the classic design of the J Class to the modern performance super yachts. We dwarfed the surrounding yachts with our 88 metres, with the closest in size being Athos at 64 metres.
Post charter, we swiftly tidied the boat for our next few days in the stunning BVI's. Tortola was a very welcomed site for some of the crew with the season just shifting into the summer and beaches scattered with just a handful of friendly locals. Once we had effectively regained our energy, we stocked the boat up in St Martin and headed back to the sunny shores of Antigua with beaming smiles to continue on with repairs and the ever-growing maintenance list once more.
Once we had effectively regained our energy, we stocked the boat up in St Martin and headed back to the sunny shores of Antigua with beaming smiles to continue on with repairs and the ever-growing maintenance list once more.
14th March 2013
Whilst the final coat of varnish dried, one last fire drill completed and the lockers stocked high, we departed Antigua, in spectacular full sail with boat horns reverberating throughout the harbour bidding us farewell for the Leeward Sea's. Dominating the horizon in St Kitts, we have been at anchor now for 3 days and are en route to St Martin over the next 2 weeks followed by St Barth's for the "Bucket".
The intense heat and intermittent heavy rain showers prove refreshing and are hailed by the deck crew as well as the gorgeous island of St Kitts, as it has been a particularly dry season this winter. In the final preparations of making The Falcon look and feel her absolute best for this epic race, we are sure to be the centre of attention and dominating not only the race but the headlines too.