More than 450 boats are entered in the 58th annual Lexus Newport-to-Ensenada Yacht Race, which begins at noon today at Newport Harbor with staggered starts until 2 p.m.
The international regatta, which for some is as much a party as it is a competition, has 466 entries and, in its Maxi class, features some of sailing's elite: Roy Disney and his new Z-86 Pyewacket, Doug Baker aboard Magnitude 80 and Randall Pitman on the 90-foot Genuine Risk.
Disney, nephew of Walt Disney, holds the record for fastest time aboard a single-hull vessel, 10 hours 44 minutes 54 seconds in 2003. Stars & Stripes, a catamaran, covered the 125 miles in 6:46:40 in 1998.
There are 23 classes of boats, including the Cruise class, in which motors can be used but not without incurring a penalty on corrected time. The faster vessels may arrive at the Mexican port late tonight or early Saturday; the slower boats may not finish until Sunday morning. The forecast calls for light winds.
The start can be viewed from the Balboa Pier or the bluffs above Corona del Mar.
-- Pete Thomas