Perkins sets sail

VC icon Tom Perkins, who published a fictional book earlier this year called Sex and the Single Zillionaire, unveiled his newest project last week in Italy-a 287-foot superyacht that designers claim is the largest and fastest personal clipper ship in the world.

It took five years of R&D to create the technologically advanced superyacht, christianed the Maltese Falcon, as its unique masts were created by the English company Insensys, which is venture-backed by 3i, to have a fiber-optic sensor system that gathers electronic data on wind speed and force and helps the sails work more efficiently. Insensys, which was founded in 2001 to serve the oil and gas and wind turbine markets, estimates that the vessel is worth about $100 million.

If you want to know what a clipper ship is, just think of the Cutty Sark, which is a narrow and long vessel with huge sails. But Perkins wont be using his superyacht to ferry tea from China to London. Instead, the the 74-year-old co-founder of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers was already at sea in his new boat, enjoying a maiden trip with folks from Insensys. But Perkins said in a prepared statement that everything worked as engineered and the Falcon achieved some remarkable knots.

Perkins sold his beloved Bugatti automobile, according to an article in the San Jose Mercury News, to help fund the construction of the yacht at a shipyard in Turkey.