Pasquale Cataldi is pressing on with his plans to lead Malta’s challenge in the 2021 America’s Cup despite not yet reaching an agreement with the Maltese government, the Malta Altus Challenge Team Principal told the Times of Malta yesterday.

Team principal Pasquale Cataldi.Team principal Pasquale Cataldi.

Last December, the Royal Malta Yacht Club’s Altus Challenge became the fourth challenger to be accepted for the 36th edition of the 2021 America’s Cup, joining renowned teams such as Luna Rossa, American Magic and INEOS Team UK.

The news was met with great excitement by the Maltese sailing fraternity and the local sporting community in general as it is the first time that Malta will be represented in the AC – the biggest and most prestigious sailing competition.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was the first to break the news on his social media account, saying the Malta Altus Challenge was very exciting for Malta and he looked forward to cooperate further “to see this vision become reality”.

Since then talks have been ongoing involving Cataldi himself and his advisors with the Maltese government to tie up a support agreement that will help the Italian entrepreneur be in a position to mount a serious challenge in 2021.

So far no deal has been struck even though Cataldi is not too concerned about the situation as he remains hopeful the Maltese government will eventually be on board for what he described as a ‘great opportunity for Malta to showcase its potential’.

“It’s true that so far we have yet to sign an accord with the Maltese government on our America’s Cup 2021 project,” Cataldi told the Times of Malta.

“I am still convinced that a collaboration deal with the authorities concerned is benefical for both ourselves, as the first team to represent Malta in the America’s Cup, and for the government of Malta.

“The America’s Cup is not just a fantastic opportunity to promote the island to a global audience, but there is a direct positive economic impact from having a team here and building a boat in Malta.”

Asked to identify what kind of help he is seeking from the Maltese authorities, Cataldi said that his requests are not just financial.

Our team will have a significant boat-building presence in Malta and we expect this will have a very positive impact on the local economy

“We have discussed with the government various formulas of support,” Cataldi said.

“It’s not only about the money that the government will put in. For us it is also important that the government becomes a partner for logistical support and other resources so that we can be able to put the team together and start our preparations for the 2021 Challenger competition.”

Communication

Cataldi feels that there needs to be better communication bet-ween his organisation and the Maltese government and to address this he will be sending to Malta strategic director Niccolò Porzio to handle talks with the government. 

“ I think all parties would agree at this juncture that we must improve the efficiency of our communication,” Cataldi said.

“For this reason I have asked our strategic director, Niccolò Porzio, to represent the team in all further communications with the government this week.

“He has extensive America’s Cup experience and has successfully managed similar agreements. This should help ensure the best outcome for all of us.”

During his stay in Malta, Porzio and other team representives are also expected to hold talks dealing with the logistics of the construction of the AC75 monohull.

“Under the rules of the America’s Cup, there are nationality requirements on the construction of the boat.

“Our team will have a significant boat-building presence in Malta and we expect this will have a very positive impact on both the local economy and for local tradespeople and suppliers, including the up-skilling of the local marine trades,” Cataldi said.

“In fact team members will be in Malta this coming week for meetings with the RMYC, and other local entities.

“Our goal is to have the fastest boat possible to win the AC trophy and our engineers are already working hard to ensure we have the best design possible.”

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