...and better, says the author of this book


When this book arrived in our office, the title really made us laugh:’Mine’s Bigger’. (Subtitle:’Tom Perkins and the making of the greatest sailing machine ever built’).

The choice phrase promises a primal tale of ego and excess, but the book Newsweek journalist David A. Kaplan has written about Perkins and his high-tech schooner Maltese Falcon is an out-and-out hagiography. I wonder if that is just the price for access and information in the superyacht world, afflicted as it is by arslikhan.

Nonetheless, the book is stuffed with fascinating detail that needs no gloss whatsoever: the $13,950 automatic cappuccino maker, the 5ft high powder blue sculpture of a vintage Bugatti, the buffalo skin walls and goat skin tiles, and the petrified yew from a 900-year-old tree inscribed with seminal events such as the Norman Conquest and the founding of America.

One nugget in particular made me smile. Despite the ideas behind Maltese Falcon and the immense technical innovation required to get the freestanding rotating rigs to work, it was interior designer Ken Freivokh who made most money from the project. His cut was 4 per cent, and that worked out to be around $1.4 million.