After revealing they had accepted the America's Cup challenge from Malta Altus, the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron have confirmed a fifth challenge has been accepted.
The RNZYS announced at least five challengers will attempt to dethrone Emirates Team New Zealand in Auckland in 2021. The yet-to-be identified fifth syndicate will join Luna Rossa, Malta Altus, Ineos Team UK and American Magic in the battle against Team NZ.
"Further details and identity of the 5th Challenger will come once the team is ready to announce publicly," the RNZYS said on Facebook.
Reigning champions Team NZ revealed last week they had received challenges from eight additional teams after the latest deadline for entries had passed. Of those eight, two could be accepted immediately and have now been, while other still had conditions to meet before they would be confirmed.
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The unlikely challenge from Malta was confirmed by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, who said his country will launch their first-ever campaign for the Auld Mug.
While the majority of the new challengers remaining unidentified, Muscat posted on Twitter to confirm his country's historic bid.
"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 (the) America's Cup," he said.
Team principal Pasquale Cataldi said they were taking a long-term approach to the Cup.
"Our goal is to do three editions of the America's Cup," he told the Times of Malta.
"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."