SAN DIEGO — The high cost of waterfront property and a lack of public financial support for the 28th America's Cup has challengers threatening to move their elimination trials out of San Diego in 1992.
"I'm very worried about the facility situation I've seen here," Spain's Clas Krueger said at a meeting of the 20 challengers in San Diego.
"The price for waterfront facilities is high and going higher. It's like going to the Olympics in Barcelona and expecting the competitors to build the stadium," Krueger said Thursday.
"It's difficult to understand from the challengers' side the problem we're having finding suitable and affordable waterfront facilities," said Denmark's Valdemar Bandolowski, who chaired the meeting.
"We know San Diego Yacht Club is working with us. We know there are areas in the harbor where the port could help. Free rent would be fair off what we'll bring in. But all we need is land. We'll build our own buildings and docks."
The Port District agreed this week to assist the America's Cup, but stopped short of setting a dollar figure.
Among the sites mentioned as possible alternatives for the sailing of the challenger trials were Newport Harbor, Long Beach, San Francisco and Newport, R.I. All, however, have sailing conditions different from those found off San Diego--meaning the winner of the challenger trials at an alternate site might not be the best boat to sail in the America's Cup.
"If they're in it to make money, do it. Move their trials. But if they're in it to win the America's Cup, it's foolish," said defense candidate Peter Isler of San Diego Yacht Club.
Almost every foreign organization seemed surprised by the cost of facilities in San Diego.
Italy's Compagnia Della Vela groups said it was quoted a figure of $2 per square foot per month for a Mission Bay yard, with a deposit of $2.5 million.
Italy's Gabriele Rafanelli said his group needs 22,000 square feet of waterfront space. The facility would cost more than $5 million at current rates.