VALETTA, MLT (#1146) – While there has been no formal announcement as yet from the Royal New Zealand YS, Sailing Illustrated can report that the following letter has been sent to members of the Royal Malta YC today:
The Commodore and flag officers of the Royal Malta Yacht Club are pleased to announce that the RMYC will be represented by a team challenging for the 36th Americas Cup.
The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, as defender trustee of the Cup has formally accepted the challenge that the RMYC has made on behalf of team Malta Altus Challenge.
The 36th America’s Cup will see Emirates Team New Zealand attempt to defend the ‘Auld Mug’ against a fleet of exceptionally strong challengers in a new AC75 class in Auckland in 2021.
Malta Altus Challenge is so far the fourth challenger, joining the Challenger of Record Luna Rossa, and other challengers American Magic and Team INEOS UK. The America’s Cup Preliminary Regattas and Challenger Selection will determine who the final challenger to race against the defender will be.
The RMYC sees this as a fantastic opportunity to promote both Malta and the Club, and will also serve to enrich our sailing scene and maritime industry.
Further to that letter, Joseph Muscat, the Prime Minister of Malta and leader of the Malta's Labour Party, has tweeted:
For the first time ever, a challenger from #Malta has been accepted for 36th America’s Cup. The #Malta #Altus Challenge will come from the smallest country to ever compete for @americascup
Reportedly, the team principal is Pasquale Cataldi, an Italian businessman based in Malta, and the founder and CEO of the multinational real estate and development company, Altus.
According to a post Thursday evening (Malta time) on the Times of Malta website, Mr Cataldi said he was taking a "long-term approach to this massive undertaking...."
“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,” he explained.
His Malta Altus Challenge will be led by experienced America’s Cup hands with an eye on developing talent in Malta in the fields of design and engineering, and boatbuilding.
With a relatively restricted budget, the team is planning a one-boat campaign.
“We don’t need to be the biggest team. We want to stay focussed on what we have to do to succeed and be smart with how we use our resources,” Mr Cataldi said. “We have already seen in the past how a similar approach by New Zealand allowed a smaller team to defeat bigger rivals.”
The Malta Altus Challenge will present its full team – which will include both Maltese and international sailors as allowed under the Protocol for the 36th America’s Cup – in the first quarter of 2019.
Your Ed. broke the news of a Royal Malta YC challenge in a world exclusive onTuesday's TFE LIVE, Sailing Illustrated's twice-weekly live webcast. For a replay of Tuesday's show, which has already had over 4,000 views, click here.
Malta Altus Challenge principal, Pasquale Cataldi, an Italian businessman based in Malta, is the founder and CEO of the multinational real estate and development company Altus.