One week since the close of the 36th America’s Cup entry period, the Defender and the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have completed the required checks and accepted the Royal Malta Yacht Club challenge for the 36th America’s Cup.
The Malta Altus Challenge becomes the fourth Challenger for the America’s Cup in 2021, together with the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa (ITA), American Magic (USA) and INEOS Team UK (GBR).
The Royal Malta Yacht Club’s Notice of Challenge was the first of the eight late entries to be received by the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron within the late entry deadline – 5.00 pm of the 30th November NZT- and therefore the first to be processed.
It’s the first time, in 167 years history of the trophy, that Malta challenges for the America’s Cup. Despite being one of the smallest countries in Europe – just 316 km² (122 sq mi) – Malta’s strategic position in the Mediterranean Sea has always made it a hub of maritime activity and a port of crucial importance throughout history.
The Royal Malta Yacht Club whose origins can be traced back to 1835, predating the America’s Cup’s existence, is indeed internationally renowned as the organizer of the 50-year-old Middle Sea Race, the 606 miles regatta starting from La Valletta and sailed anti-clockwise around Sicily.
The Team Principal of the Malta Altus Challenge is Pasquale Cataldi, an Italian born businessman who is based in Malta, founder and CEO of the multinational real estate and development company, Altus. This is Cataldi’s first involvement in the America’s Cup but his intention is to pursue a long-term challenge.
“Our goal is to do three editions of the America's Cup. 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,” explained Cataldi.
Grant Dalton, CEO of the Defender Emirates Team New Zealand said: “We are happy to welcome the Royal Malta Yacht Club and the Malta Altus Challenge to the 36th America’s Cup. After New Zealand, they are now the smallest country to challenge for the America’s Cup. We know what it is like to be a small team facing long odds in taking on one of the biggest challenges in sport and we wish them the best.”
The Malta Altus Challenge 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.
“This is a massive opportunity for our club to promote Malta and the skills that exist in the marine industry on a global stage,” said Godwin Zammit, the Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club.
“On behalf of the Club, I’d like to thank the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron and Emirates Team New Zealand for their assistance throughout the challenge process and we can’t wait to get down there and start racing in December 2020.”
The full team and further information regarding the challenge will be announced in Malta in the first quarter of 2019.
In the next few weeks other updates regarding the Notices of Challenge, received within the deadline, will be released.