An America’s Cup syndicate from the Royal Malta Yacht Club has become the fourth official challenge to be accepted by the current Cup holders Emirates Team New Zealand ahead of the 36th edition of the event scheduled to be held in 2021.
Malta Altus Challenge joins the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa from Italy, American Magic from the USA and INEOS Team UK from Great Britain as the group of currently four teams hoping to win the right to face off against ETNZ in New Zealand.
It’s the first time in the trophy’s 167-year history that Malta – one of the smallest countries in Europe at just 316 square kilometres (122 square miles) – has mounted an America’s Cup challenge.
The Royal Malta Yacht Club – whose origins can be traced back to 1835 thereby predating the America’s Cup – and is internationally renowned as the organizer of the 50-year-old Middle Sea Race a 606-mile regatta from La Valletta sailed anti-clockwise around Sicily.
Malta Altus Challenge team principal Pasquale Cataldi is an Italian born businessman based in Malta and the founder and CEO of the multinational real estate and development company, Altus.
This is Cataldi’s first involvement in the America’s Cup but he says his intention is to pursue a long-term challenge.
“Our goal is to do three editions of the America’s Cup,” he said. “If you want to build a strong team, then you need to commit to three America’s Cup cycles. I think everyone in this edition is in it for the long-term. We have a new class, so the game is level for everybody, and the differences are not so much.”
No other details of the team’s line-up have been released other than that it will be led by “experienced America’s Cup personnel and aims to develop local talent in Malta in the fields of design, engineering and boatbuilding”.
The full team and further information regarding the challenge is expected to be announced in Malta during the first quarter of 2019.