Sixty-three boats from Marina del Rey and King Harbor — representing nine yacht clubs and local boating organizations — are expected to participate Friday, April 22nd, in the 2005 Lexus Newport to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico yacht race.

More than 500 boats are expected at the start line, competing in 23 classes.

The event is considered the largest international yacht race in terms of participants.

South Bay Yacht Racing Club (SBYRC) leads the number of entries with 25 boats.

California Yacht Club (CYC) is expected to send 14 boats; King Harbor Yacht Club, nine; Pacific Singlehanded Sailing Association, six and Santa Monica Windjammers Yacht Club (SMWYC), five.

Redondo Beach Yacht Club, Pacific Mariners Yacht Club, South Coast Corinthian Yacht Club and Malibu Yacht Club will each be represented by one boat.

The Association of Santa Monica Bay Yacht Clubs (ASMBYC) has two staff commodores sailing in the event.

Al Berg, ASMBYC staff commodore 2001 and his regular crew, will take his Farr 39.5 Ghost II to the start line and sail in the Sprit A class.

Tom Kennedy, ASMBYC staff commodore 1995 and this year’s Southern California Yachting Association commodore, has assembled his crew for Foggy Notion a Catalina 38, to address the PHRF (Performance Handicap Racing Fleet) H class.

Three officers from ASMBYC will participate. Vice commodore John Staff of SBYRC will sail his Cheetah 30, Wildcat in Sprit B; secretary Bill Webster, sailing in his 18th Newport to Ensenada race, will take his crew aboard Sidekick, a J37, to the start in PHRF F; and treasurer Gary Green, having just returned from a victory in the Del Rey Yacht Club Marina del Rey to Puerto Vallarta race, will again staff his Catalina 380 with his trophy winning crew.

His Green Dragon will compete in Cruising Spinnaker A class.

SBYRC commodore Julie Albright joins ASMBYC women’s sailing coordinator Rosalie Davis-Green’s crew — Julia Westerling, Terry Fuller and Mike Gitchell and Betsy Lindsley.

Sailing on the J37, Sidekick, with Bill Webster will be his wife Judy, Redondo Beach mayor Greg Hill and four other crew members.

They will work to pick up their first first place in class.

Another participant from SBYRC is Sea Scape, a 1993 Catalina 42, owned and skippered by Steve Cochran.

Celebrating his fifth Ensenada race — third for this boat — Cochran has assembled a unique crew.

“It is a cross-section of friends and former work associates,” he says.

A crew of five allows for easy sleeping accommodations and good crew work.

This year’s crew includes Jim Whiting, former third place winner in Cruz-Spin, sailing Orca last year, and Don Howarth, longtime sailor and a former boss of the skipper.

To round out this group are Orlando Duran, carry-over crew from last year’s race and Wes Giles, local racer and cruiser, who will be sailing this race for the first time.

A prerequisite for this crew is the appreciation of “Jimmy Buffet music.”

Pendragon IV, John and Susan Mac Laurin’s “big red boat”; Richard and Janice Mainland and crew on Paddy Wagon; and Curt Johnson sailing Avet are a few more representatives from CYC.

The ORCA (Ocean Racing Catamaran Association) class will be led by Dr. Vic Stern, sailing Imi Loa.

This year, the class has 19 entrants and includes Adrian Ricks aboard Tricia with SMWYC fleet captain David Lumian as crew.

This boat is sailing under the SBYRC burgee.

Grand Illusion, Ed McDowell’s Santa Cruz 70, will have aboard Janet Baxter, US Sailing president. They will compete in the Maxi A Class. Baxter will participate in the trophy presentation on behalf of US Sailing.

The event is preceded by a fiesta sendoff celebration Thursday evening at BahÌa Corinthian Yacht Club.

The race starts at noon Friday, April 22nd, from Newport Beach, and concludes with an award presentation Sunday, April 24th, at the BahÌa Hotel in Ensenada.

The Web site will post results as available.