Maltese Falcon in collision with an admirer

The owner of the289ft superyacht Maltese Falcon, Tom Perkins has posted an account of a collision his yacht was involved in with a Nordic 40, Stand By,on San Francisco Bay.

Maltese Falcon suffered damage to a section of her starboard topside and rail. The top of theNordic 40’s mast also punched a hole in one of Falcon’s sails. As for the smaller boat, a big chunk was taken out of her bow.

“A few minutes before this photo sequence was taken, the Falcon had turned to
port, to give the right of way to the smaller yacht, which was to leeward on the
starboard tack. The Stand By was originally on a roughly reciprocal course to
that of the Falcon. Prior to the photos shown here, Stand By was bearing away,
and the two yachts were on safe courses to pass roughly with a distance of 200
feet separation. After Stand By had sailed past the Falcon’s bow, the smaller
vessel suddenly rounded up, possibly to tack in order to follow the Falcon, when
she lost control. With her main sheeted hard in, the smaller boat was unable to
bear away to avoid a collision. A San Francisco Bay Pilot was on the Falcon’s
bridge overseeing the Falcon’s course at all times. The pilot is also an
experienced sailor and sailboat owner. Because of the Falcon’s tonnage, a
licensed pilot is required whenever the yacht is underway, approaching, or
inside the Bay. The Stand By did not stop after the collision. The Falcon furled
her sails and pursued the 40-footer under power, in order to determine her name
and registration number. The pilot radioed the U.S. Coast Guard, which
intercepted Stand By and boarded her. The accident was caused by Stand By’s
sudden change of course, which was much too quick to permit the Falcon to
respond. The Falcon sustained damage to hull, capping rail, superstructure and
main lower topsail, but fortunately there were no injuries to persons aboard
either vessel.”

“We spoke to others who were aboard Falcon, such as Tad Lacey, who has been
sailing and racing the Bay for more than 50 years, and they were dumbfounded at
what happened. Lacey and the others said the boats were passing with no problem
until Stand By suddenly luffed up.

“We sailed aboard Falcon the next day, and can confirm that many small boat
skippers seemed intent on getting as close as possible to Falcon — even if it
meant crossing a short distance in front of her bow with a backwinded genoa or
sailing on a reciprocal course. Please folks, give a little room. Besides, the
view is even better from several hundred feet away.” — Excerpt from a story by
Richard Spindler posted with pictures on the Latitude 38 website.Picture by Peter Lyons: website: www.lyonsimaging.com