The bare hull was built and launched on speculation in 1989-1990 by Perini Navi at its newly acquired shipyard in Tuzla, İstanbul, but found no takers in the aftermath of the Gulf War. Tom Perkins, a keen yachtsman and the owner of the two Andromeda La Dea Perini ketches, took an interest in the hull. In 2001 he hired Dutch yacht designers at Dykstra & Partners to investigate 19th-century clippers and propose a three-mast square rig for the project. The “DynaRig” concept, a 1960s invention by German hydraulics engineer Wilhelm Prölss intended to operate cargo ships with a fuel-saving philosophy and as few crew as possible, met with Perkins’ approval, and the project was signed into build in Tuzla. The three self-standing rotating carbonfiber masts were not a Perini Navi deliverable; they were manufactured and fitted to the yacht at the Perini Navi premises in Tuzla under the direct responsibility of Perkins and the supervision of Insensys, Ltd, a British carbonfiber specialist. Ken Freivokh designed the vessel’s interior decoration, and Perini Navi fitted her out.
The yacht is easily controlled and has been seen to sail off her anchor and away from berths within harbors. The yacht’s sophisticated computer detects parameters such as wind speed automatically and displays key data. An operator must always activate the controls, yet it is possible for a single person to operate the yacht. In a radio interview for the BBC World Service’s Global Business programme broadcast in December 2007, Perkins claimed that he personally wrote some of the yacht’s unique control software.
On 4 November 2007, in a 60 Minutes profile, Perkins suggested the yacht cost more than $150 million but less than $300 million, refusing to be more specific.