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Sailing yacht MALTESE FALCON: Re-launch of an icon

By Steph Loseby & Nina Done   28 April 2023

Arguably the world’s most iconic sailing yacht, the multi-award-winning 88m (288ft) MALTESE FALCON has just been relaunched after undertaking a full-scale refit at the Lubsen yard in Livorno, Italy. YachtCharterFleet had the pleasure of speaking to the yacht’s captain Pierfrancesco Cafaro on her latest changes and upcoming charter plans.

Sporting a brand new 'Perini Blue' hull color and fully revamped interiors, as well as a major overhaul to all her onboard engineering and electrical systems, we take an in-depth look at some of the yacht’s most prominent changes.

Passion project

maltese falcon sailing yacht hits the water after her major refit

Chosen for its reputation as one of the best refit shipyards in Italy, Lubsen hosted many of the contractors that worked on Maltese Falcon’s original build, which has enabled the yard to undertake a refit in line with the new owner’s vision while staying true to the late owner Tom Perkins’ original concept and rigorous attention to detail.

The yacht represents his ambition in creating a yacht that broke the mold in terms of engineering, rigging and sail control, and the new owner and his team have been keen to ensure this vision has been upheld and updated in line with modern technologies. 

All of the contractors have worked closely with the crew and yacht team, working with the same passion to see this beautiful yacht rebirthed

Pierfrancesco Cafaro, Captain of Maltese Falcon

Maltese Falcon’s captain, Pierfrancesco Cafaro, who joined the sailing yacht a year ago, explains: “Everyone on board, including the yard, management company and owner are passionate about upholding [Tom Perkins's] original vision and keeping this beautiful yacht as impressive and ground-breaking as ever.”

The extensive refit, which began in November 2022, is now finally drawing towards a close after an epic effort from everyone involved. Now in the water, she looks ready and raring to go, barring a few last-minute touches, and the usual safety and survey checks required, before commencing her busy upcoming yacht charter season in the Mediterranean

Award-winning sailing yacht

First hitting the water in 2006, the 1,100GT sailing yacht has consistently been lauded, receiving countless accolades, awards and glowing reviews from the world's media, and regularly appearing in the top ten all-time rankings for style, concept, engineering, performance and provision of luxury. 

Winning a whopping 18 highly-coveted awards, including the highest technical achievement in a sailing yacht, best interior design and sailing yacht of the year, this ground-breaking vessel has now entered a new chapter in her life. 

Aiming to preserve as much of Tom Perkins’ original legacy, whilst striving to meet the new owner’s vision – himself a keen sailor and long-time Perini owner – has been one of the yard’s major challenges. Nevertheless, an extremely exciting undertaking for a project as large as this one. 

What are some of the major changes onboard MALTESE FALCON?

According to Cafaro, around 80% of the yacht’s interior spaces have been upgraded or altered in some way. Her original exterior and interior design was conceived by the British designer Ken Freivokh. For the current refit, Rome-based architect Emanuela Esposito has been enlisted to reimagine her interior spaces, using an overall brighter scheme throughout, in stark contrast to the dark, carbon fiber interiors the yacht once showcased.

All guest areas have been fitted with new carpets, beds, lighter bathroom marble and pure leather ceiling panels, as well as brand new audio-visual systems, with a dedicated movie platform offering streaming services such as Netflix and Prime built in.

Starlink WiFi has also been installed, with new access points around the vessel, enabling download speeds of up to 350MB globally and superior connectivity wherever she cruises. 

Her dedicated movie theater, main salon and dining room have also undergone a major transformation, including her indoor/outdoor bar in the middle of the salon that leads to her aft cockpit area. 

This highly-social alfresco space now sports a new steel awning structure, offering additional protection from the elements to guests as they enjoy a leisurely breakfast or lunch. The permanent structure covers the entire aft cockpit up to her mizzen mast, and is attached to her superstructure. Apart from this, her distinctive profile remains unchanged. 

Engineering systems and crew areas

Regarding her machinery, a huge amount of work has been undertaken “under the bonnet”, including replacing all exhausts, muffler piping, and a complete overhaul of her main engines.

She’s also had a full upgrade of all her hotel services which include new watermakers, air-conditioning system and replacement of her lighting arrangement and associated electrical components.

Her crew areas have also had a major refit, with new floors and carpets, new pantry for both crew and guests areas, new miele laundry machines and a brand new galley where the chef will create his culinary masterpieces for the guests. 

Out on deck, sailing yacht MALTESE FALCON now sports a new rescue crane, along with a new rescue tender.

New sustainable features

No expense has been spared for this project, with attention being paid to her green features, which Cafaro explains has been designed to “restore her back to her former glory in a world that is changing very fast into a future that is more sustainable.”

maltese falcon's underwater lighting

She was an iconic yacht and still is an iconic yacht that's why they wanted to spend the money on making her the best

Pierfrancesco Cafaro, Captain of Maltese Falcon

For example, the yacht’s electrical generators have been replaced with the latest Tier III models, to ensure she is up to date with the latest IMO emissions protocols. Furthermore, the yacht's rigging company RigPro have been looking into ways at optimizing the sailing gear to reduce the yacht’s overall emissions as part of its ongoing SEEMP – Ship Energy Efficiency Management Plan, which all yacht’s must now adhere to as per the IMO.

The yacht is also now fitted with a new system for drinkable fresh water, eliminating the need for single-use plastics onboard. 

Charter-focused changes

In terms of amenities, the yacht’s massage room has been completely refitted with new machinery for muscle therapy, as well as an electrical pulse machine ‘EMsculpt’, which uses cutting-edge technology to tone your body and help eliminate fat. There is also a dedicated onboard massage therapist who will cater to the needs of guests during their vacation.

The yacht has also been fully equipped with brand new water toys, including windsurfers, e-foils, e-surfs, an inflatable platform, seabobs, paddleboards and snorkeling gear; guaranteed to provide endless hours of fun on the water wherever she cruises.

Her new owner wants to invest money and energy to give her a new and fresh look that offers much more than just a charter experience

There is also a new area on her flybridge deck dedicated to sunbathing and relaxing, equipped with a 3-meter spread of sunpads, alongside additional chaise longues, as well as umbrellas and an optional awning for shade.

Where is MALTESE FALCON sailing this year?

Holding both a Greek and Spain charter license, the striking yacht can traverse the Mediterranean waters with ease, transporting guests to some of the most celebrated yachting destinations in the world. 

The vessel will commence her busy upcoming charter season around the South of France until mid-June. She will then sail to Greece’s Aegean islands, finishing up close to Turkey, before making her way back to the Ionian Sea. After which time she will make a bee-line for Sardinia for the beginning of August.

Remaining availability for Mediterranean yacht charters

yachts in turquoise blue waters of the Mediterranean

Sailing yacht MALTESE FALCON will remain within Sardina and Corsica waters until September. She currently only has remaining availability for the first week of August, and between 17-24 August, which is likely to be snapped up.

Alternatively, for those looking to escape the winter blues, MALTESE FALCON will be heading over to the Caribbean for her winter season. 

If you want the chance to charter this iconic and world-class sailing yacht for yourselves, please contact a recommended yacht charter broker.

In the meantime, you can browse the entire fleet of yachts available for charter in the Mediterranean

Maltese Falcon 88m Perini Navi 2006 from $490,000 per week + expenses

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