Mine's Bigger: Tom Perkins and the Making of the Greatest Sailing Machine Ever Built

Mine's Bigger: Tom Perkins and the Making of the Greatest Sailing Machine Ever Built

by David A. Kaplan

Tom Perkins had a dream.

His venture-capital firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, remains the most celebrated money machine since the Medicis.

Along the way, he also managed to get himself convicted of manslaughter in France and become Danielle Steel's Husband No. 5.No, as he hit his seventies, Perkins wanted to create the biggest, fastest, riskiest, highest-tech, most self-indulgent sailboat everthe "perfect yacht." His fantasy would be a modern clipper shipas long as a football field, forty-two feet wide, with three masts each rising twenty stories toward the heavens.

Gone is the intricate rigging that helped give the square-riggers of yore their impressive look.

Instead, the Falcon's giant carbon-fiber masts are entirely freestanding and rotate by computer.

And the fifteen huge sails unfurl at the touch of a screen.

In short, this is a revolutionary machinethe most significant advance in sailing in 150 years.With keen storytelling and biting wit, Newsweek's David A.

We discover why any sane man would gamble a sizeable chunk of his net worth on a boat; we meet the cast of engineers who conspired with him; and we learn about the other two monumental yachts just built by gazillionaires that Perkins is ever eyeing.

In a battle of egos on the high seas, Perkins loves to preen, "Mine's better!

Mine's Bigger!" On the Falcon's climactic maiden voyage across the Mediterraneansixteen hundred nautical miles from Istanbul to Malta to the Rivierawe revel with Perkins as his creation surges along at record-breaking speeds.This is the biography of a remarkable boat and the man who built it.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Nonfiction
  • Rating: 3.81
  • Pages: 288
  • Publish Date: July 3rd 2007 by William Morrow
  • Isbn10: 0061227943
  • Isbn13: 9780061227943

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My idea of a boat is that it has to have a swimming pool although, I always say that if you encounter a really rough sea in a sailing yacht, you regret having left port. He loved doing things in a big way and his goal in the development of the new yacht/ship was nothing short of revolutionizing the way sailing is done and ships designed. His $130-million yacht, anchored a few hundred yards out in front of the palace, was the Maltese Falcon, a twenty-first century clipper ship that was bigger, faster, higher-tech, more expensive and riskier than any private sailing craft in the world. And unlike the clippers of yore, with their vast, white expanses of billowing canvas, the Falcons sails in effect formed a nearly flat vertical wing. Joe Vittorias Mirabella V, the largest single masted sloop ever built had a mast of 292 feet (as high as a football field is long) with sails that cost $250,000 and was so heavy it had to be lifted on the boat in pieces with a crane and then assembled on board. Sailing in a moderate breeze, with the boat heeled slightly (it had a thirty-three foot keel) the downward pressure on the mast was 400 tons creating enormous strain on the stays and shrouds. (Thirty degree heels on a traditional sixty-foot sailboat are no big deal.) What Perkins (and the boats designer Perini) managed to do was nothing short of revolutionary. In the Maltese Falcon, the *masts* rotated while the *yards* were fixed. Separated only by the yards supporting them, the five tightly stretched sails on each mast effectively formed a single vertical wing of 8,600 square feet of sail area. He was building a twenty-first century clipper ship that was bigger, faster, higher-tech, more expensive and riskier than any private sailing craft in the world. Maltese Falcon: http://www.symaltesefalcon.com/ For the technically minded, I found this discussion of the relationship of hull length to speed to be quite revealing. Froudes Law states that maximum hull speed is the square root of a boats length at the waterline multiplied by 1.34.* A heavy hull, or one with an inefficient shape, obviously couldnt approach that full hull speed.

as bonuses, we get a lot of info on Perkins' history in Silicon Valley, which is essentially the history of venture capital and modern high tech, and a survey of sailing through the ages.

An interesting book about an amazing and ostentatious vessel.

A graduate of Cornell and the New York University School of Law, he teaches courses in journalism and ethics at NYU.