Maltese Falcon ... hit or miss?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Stephen Ditmore, Jun 29, 2006.

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Maltese Falcon, hit or miss?

Poll closed Jun 29, 2007.
  1. A triumph!

    35 vote(s)
    33.7%
  2. Interesting

    58 vote(s)
    55.8%
  3. Uninteresting

    4 vote(s)
    3.8%
  4. A truly stupid concept and a complete waste of time

    7 vote(s)
    6.7%
  1. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Falcon's wake

    In the Feb issue of Yachting World, a gentleman wrote in this observation,
    "I read with interest the extraordinary description of Maltese Falcon and was intrigued by the the aerial picture of the yacht. The author suggest the yacht sails very well, but judging by the turbulence on her starboard quarter I wonder whether this is indeed the case. It would appear that there's quite a lot of starboard rudder creating all of that 'lemonade'....perhaps the yacht is about to be put through a tack, but if not I wonder what is going on?"

    This past April issue brought a responce from the owner, Tom Perkins. "This photo was taken before the wind came up and the boat was still motoring with the starboard engine, hence the strange wake. She commenced sailing shortly after the photo was taken. (BTW) Your January article remains the best on the boat...."

    Brian added: Check out the size of those props, but they are CP units that should minimize drag when adjusted properly
     

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    Last edited: Mar 29, 2007
  2. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Brian,

    Congratulations on your square-rigged catamaran motorsailer. And congratulations to Tom Perkins and all involved in the Maltese Falcon project.

    One aspect of innovation in yacht design is to apply high tech materials and production methods to traditional concepts, as demonstrated by so many sloops and ketches. Most of this is evolutionary, and I applaud every one of these designs.

    Perhaps it is only a difference in degree, but I see Maltese Falcon as a great leap forward in ship design, a concept so far beyond what has gone before as to be revolutionary: applying the cutting edge in self furling and unstayed, rotating masts to one of the oldest concepts in propelling large hulls, the square rigger.

    Yes, the look takes some getting used to, for our eyes are always searching for the familiar. We expect to see a huge mass of standing and running rigging, after all, it's a square rigger. The first sloop that was not gaff-rigged probably provoked similar reactions. But, as much as I admire those who have designed traditional square riggers with modern hull materials, those vessels do little to advance the art. Maltese Falcon and her DynaRig do far more than show a square rigger in modern materials. The objective was to build a square rigger that performs better, that does things, i.e. point upwind like a sloop or ketch, that no square rigger could do well before. Elsewhere in this forum there is a thread discussing alternative power for large vessels, to reduce air pollution and reliance on hydrocarbon fuels. Brian, you called Maltese Falcon a proof of concept vessel, and you're right. Part of the problem in building an experimental commercial vessel is finding a funding source, since prototypes rarely do other than lose money, massively (recall the nuclear powered Savannah). Maltese Falcon will demonstrate the effectiveness of driving large hulls under a thoroughly modern sail rig, capable of being handled by the small crew necessary for a commercial vessel to have a hope of making money. What better way to prove the concept than to have an extremely wealthy owner willing to take risks build the vessel for himself?

    Again, congratulations to Tom and everyone involved. There are certainly nits to be picked, as there are with any major project, but overall, she's a magnificent ship. Long may she sail.

    Charlie
     
  3. RHP
    Joined: Nov 2005
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    RHP Senior Member

    Brian, you've got to give it to Tom Perkins, he's a great owner, replies to magazine letters, this thread etc... when of course he doesnt have to. All power to the guy.
     
  4. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Maltese Falcon Breaks Cutty Sark's Record

    May 2 - Azores

    Tom Perkins aboard his amazing 287-ft yacht Maltese Falcon:

    "Just a quick note from East of the Azores. I'm happy to report that the Falcon has just broken the Cutty Sark's best 24-hour run. The Cutty did 362 nautical miles and we've done 380. I believe the Cutty's record has never been broken by a square rigger . . . until today. The wind's averaged about 27 knots and the forecast is for slightly stronger winds into Gibraltar, so we'll be shooting to break 400 miles tomorrow."

    It's an interesting contrast that the Cutty required a crew of nearly 30 men while Falcon can be sailed at the push of a few buttons by just one man.
     
  5. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    There's a lot of expensive machnery replacing those other 29 guys. :)

    150+ years..... not a bad run for Cutty. That's one of those situations where there are no negatives, just a great ship and another very good one.
     
  6. MikeJohns
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    It's not entirely true is it?

    Those clippers could be helmed by one man for days on end with the watch doing maintenance.

    The falcons technology is not without vices either and dont they have a full time rigger aloft most of the time, plus his minder on deck?

    Then there's the maintenance; the older ships were fully equiped with sail loft, smith, carpenter and their assigned assistants/apprentices the maintenance and refurbishment that could be achieved without docking was done while sailing. Only the AB's actually went aloft the cook carpenter and smithy only took to the capstans. Then the capt and the two watch mates and the helmsmen drove the ship. These were racing boats going flat tack day and night carrying everything they could before the industrial revolution had visited shipping.

    When you consider the power of the big clippers and the cargo they carried I can't help feeling the comparison is a bit skewed. That's just my feeling.

    If the Falcon sailed from Australia to Southampton via the southern ocean self sufficient what crew she would actually require to make the trip safely? How many were actually aboard for this recent record run?

    The technology isn't quite there yet but with this sort of creativity and money being spent perhaps it will get there sufficiently to start using it commercially again . We certainly need these visionaries who are prepared to prove the techniques.

    It is a spectacular boat .
     
  7. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

  8. nflutter
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    nflutter Junior Member

    wouldnt the dynarig be cool if you could move the max draught around. so that you could create a real airfoil for upwing and reaching?
    what about a double skin dynarig?
    say you had semi rigid spars that could bend to a defined shape under the load of internal cables or something.. then you use the thickness of the spars to run and inside and an outside sail.
    easy way to create a propper wing.
    the mast its self could have a rotating faring around it that acted as some sort of flap, for more power and less drag.
    the tips of the horizontal spars may even flex more (or less) to make flaps.
    all hydraulic. hydraulic pumps contained in the mast bases
    whatever, just a thought.

    anyway, cool boat. really amazing. i think this technology has a future.

    hey the mast could even be contained between the skins. cool.
     
  9. nflutter
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    nflutter Junior Member

    dynarig development

    heres a picture. top one is the broad current concept as far as im aware, middle has a mast fairing (to reduce drag and possible provide some lift) and bottom has a double skin sail. the benefit of the double skin sollution is that the drag and areodynamic inteference of the mast is completely gone.
     

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  10. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    brian eiland Senior Member

    Furling & Unfurling Dbl Skin Sail


    How do you propose to furl and unfurl dbl-skin sail?

    I like the basic idea you have, but I'm having trouble visualizing the actual mechanism.
     
  11. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    When you consider the power of the big clippers and the cargo they carried I can't help feeling the comparison is a bit skewed. That's just my feeling.


    yes I agree, , I feel there is absolutely no basis for stacking one against the other, its like apples and pears
    MR Perkins obsevations were probably more thoughts than comparisons perhaps
    there really can be not much in the way of similarities apart from the ever present sea
    I,m sure the hardy crews of th clippers, could not sit back, ship on auropilot, stereo going, cocktails:)) Two 1500bhp diesels as back up? only guessing about the diesels that looks like a Turkish flag flying?
     
  12. nflutter
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    nflutter Junior Member

    i think it would furl and unfurl in the same way as it currenly does, only with 2 panels, one on the front and one on the back of the boom. both panels could be attached to a single furling drum inside the mast (slottted front and back) and on rotating the drum it would pull both the front and back skins inside the mast from the centre.

    there is a problem in that the mast is no longer a tube, and is structurally compromised. (becuause it is effectively cut in half by the slots) this could be rectified by making it an i-beam, with a front and back compartment housing a front and rear furling mechanism. like : (-)
    The wing would not operate half-furled, so you would probly end up peeling the back skin first and then furling the front. fancy computers could organise this im sure.

    now i assume with the current setup the sail is fixed top and bottom to ball-bearing cars on a track that runs inside the boom, from centre to tip, with all the workings contained inside the boom and only the sail cloth protruding out a grove top and bottom???)
    anyway based on that, the track on the double skin sail, front and back, would have to split. and there would have to be some kind of points, so that the cars can either go all the way to the tip, or curve around to make a leading edge. this would be possible with captive bearing cars, and there is a product available for batten cars that does something remotely similar.
    anyway, so to tack the sail you would have to do this:
    - part furl both skins so the outermost cars are inside the points, and can now either make a curve or go straight to the tip of the boom.
    - flick the points, so that the tracks that were previously making a curve (on the left of the picture) now get bypassed and the straight ones are lined up, and the straight ones (right) now curve
    -tack the boat (the sail will still work part furled, not very well though.)
    - unfurl the sail. the leading edge becomes a trailing edge and vice versa
    if you look very closely i sorta drew that, (the blue line is where there is a track that is redundant on that tack, but will be used when the sail tacks.) bit hard to understand, sorry, quick drawing.
     
  13. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Lazey,

    I have to agree with you. I am delighted that someone built a modern square rigger, and I'm awed and amazed at the ship's beauty and power. Given the materials and technology available today, though, the only surprise would be if Maltese Falcon was not faster.

    The clippers were cargo ships, with typical crew quarters for the time, meaning little more than hammocks slung in low 'tween deck compartments, damp at best and thoroughly wet most often. Given the belowdecks conditions and the fact that every sail change meant men maneuvering heavy lines and canvas by hand, there is no basis for comparison.

    BTW, you're close on the engines, they're 1800 HP each. Depending on which oicture you saw, she may have been flying a Turkish flag, as she was built in a yard not far from Instanbul.
     
  14. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    Really Charlie
    As you know I spend a lot of time TR, I know Hoods bought a drydock there, is that a hood design?
     

  15. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    No, Perini Navi. They had also bought a yard in Turkey; that's where she was built.
     
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