Maltese Falcon and Mirabella V go head to head off Monaco. Ron Holland reports 27/9/06

An interesting event took place off Monaco last Sunday morning when owners of two of the world’s largest sailing yachts went head to head in their own friendly match.

With Joseph Vittoria and Tom Perkins at the helms of Mirabella V and Maltese Falcon respectively, the yachts converged in 10-15 kts of breeze and sailed for an hour close-hauled in an increasing wind.

With Mirabella V restricted to jib and staysail due to her large reacher headfoil fastenings coming loose, and Maltese Falcon under full sail with her innovative rig, the advantage in speed went to Mirabella V.

Following Maltese Falcon’s bearing away to a 70/80 apparent wind reach, Mirabella V’s advantage was reduced to a small benefit in speed with the wind continuing to increase to above 25kts.

Mirabella V broke off the match to return to Monaco to allow a film crew from the Discovery Channel to meet a waiting helicopter, but not before Maltese Falcon close-hauled crossed Mirabella V’s stern close by, creating an impressive spectacle of the world’s largest sailing vessels fully pressed at maximum speed.