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Hedge-fund boss Elena Ambrosiadou buys superyacht Maltese Falcon

Date: Monday, November 2, 2009
Author: Kate Wallsh, Timesonline.co.uk

Hedge-fund manager Elena Ambrosiadou has emerged as the mystery buyer of the Maltese Falcon, one of the world’s largest private yachts.

Greek-born Ambrosiadou, who runs Ikos Asset Management, bought the 289ft yacht from the American venture capitalist Tom Perkins in a deal believed to be worth £60m. Perkins was reported to have sold the yacht in August, but the new owner has never been named.

Ambrosiadou, 51, who divides her time between Cyprus, Greece and London, told The Sunday Times: “I chartered her with some friends last year and then last April I crossed the Atlantic with Tom, which took eight days. I fell in love with her — everyone falls in love with her sleek lines and signature masts.”

Ambrosiadou will use the yacht for only a few weeks a year — “I work 16 hours a day, seven days a week. I doubt if I’ll be spending much time on her”. Otherwise, the yacht can be chartered for £375,000 a week. “This is an enterprise,” she said.

Perkins built the Maltese Falcon four years ago as his own vision of the perfect yacht, basing it on an idea for a modern version of the clipper ships — fast merchant sailing vessels like the Cutty Sark.

It is named after the Dashiell Hammett crime novel and the Humphrey Bogart film version. The yacht’s trademark is its giant carbon-fibre masts, which have a suite of computer-operated sails. The boat has a crew of 18, but the sophisticated sail system means everything can be controlled by one person. Perkins, whose venture-capital firm helped finance the founding of Google, the internet search engine, wrote some of the sail software himself.

The Maltese Falcon has six guest cabins, eight crew cabins, a gym and a sculpture of a vintage Bugatti racing car. For fun, it carries two 32ft Pascoe RIB tenders (with water skis), four Laser sailing boats, and a 14ft Castoldi tender. The yacht also had a mini-submarine, but it is thought that Perkins plans to keep this.

Ambrosiadou, with an estimated fortune of £200m, founded Ikos with husband Martin Coward in 1992. A chemical engineer by training, she achieved early success at BP, becoming its youngest-ever senior international executive at 27.

Ambrosiadou moved Ikos Asset Management to Cyprus last year but still has offices in London and New York.