ENSENADA, MEXICO — Before lunch began, Commodore Chuck Iverson sat in the back corner of a restaurant, reviewing the guest list.
It seemed a generic Newport Beach scene: place settings arranged on white tablecloths. Ocean view. Members of the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn., or NOSA, bedecked in navy blazers and khaki pants, mingling with the mayor.
Still, the group hadn't valet parked their cars outside. They'd arrived by van. And they were greeted with glasses of wine, not from California, but vineyards in Mexico.
Roughly 125 nautical miles from home, the sailors were far from their yacht club dining rooms and trendy Fashion Island restaurants. Responsible for organizing the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race that started the day before, they now anticipated a meal at Belio, an upscale restaurant here.
Iverson continued through the names on the list. The consul general from the U.S. consulate in Tijuana would be joining them. The local mayor's wife was on her way.