Hamilton Island will host the SAP 2011 505 World Championship and Australian Championship from March 20 to April 1, and will feature some high-profile and surprising entries from around the globe.
The stage will be set at Hamilton Island when 85 boats representing Australia, Germany, Great Britain, USA, France, Denmark, Hong Kong and Sweden converge on the Catseye Bay race course area, making a breath-taking sight for spectators on and off the water.
Some fascinating names are on the start list; those who find the combination of the 505 and Hamilton Island tantalisingly irresistible.
Among the notables is regular 505 sailor and 1996 Sydney Hobart line honours winner, Hasso Plattner, who broke the race record with Morning Glory, the name of all his boats.
The German sailor is the co-founding CEO of sponsor SAP who returned to Australia in 2005 to contest the Farr 40 Worlds. Now the sixty something year old is coming to Hamilton Island to try his luck again with recurrent crew Peter Alarie.
Olympic 49er double world champion and reigning Moth world champion Nathan Outteridge is in 'world title' mode. He was hoping to add the Farr 40 World title to his growing list in February, but had to settle for fifth place aboard one of the Aussie favourites, Estate Master.
Now he and his 49er crew, Iain Jensen, can't wait to get the hands on the 505, and with little practice time on the boat, which is new to both, Outteridge is realistic about their chances, "We don't expect to win, but we'll be trying to anyway."
"It'll be great fun - we can't wait," added Jensen, who confirmed it will be the last hurrah for the two who will head straight back into serious 49er training for their imminent Olympic European season.
One of their adversaries will be Ayden Menzies who captured 420 dinghy Gold as crew for Outteridge at the 2003 ISAF Youth Worlds. Outteridge replicated that result with Jensen a year later.
Reigning world champions, Germany's Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner return to defend their title, as does 2010 bronze medallist and 2008 world champion, Ian Pennell, with new crew Charles Dwyer (GBR). Mike Martin and Jeff Nelson (USA), the 2009 World's title holders, are also coming.
At the 2010 Worlds, in Aarhus, Denmark, the best placed of the nine Australian crews was the Michael Quirk and Simon Reffold combination in 15th place. With 45 boats at these Worlds, the Australians are hoping to place higher.
Although he does not rate himself much of a chance, as all of his spare time is being spent putting the SAP 505 World's together in place of training, event organiser and competitor Carter Jackson said, "The competition amongst the Australian fleet is going to be tough.
"I'd be keeping a close eye on Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh from South Australia, Peter Chappell and Matt Smith from Western Australia and Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (NSW), who although new to the class, are outstanding sailors.
"It's never easy in the 505 fleet," Jackson added, "any day you finish ahead of any of these guys is a good day."
The 505's last visited the Queensland Island in 2008 for their Australian Championship - and the post-event stories of this fun bunch were legendary. Having been through it once, Hamilton Island Yacht Club commodore and sailing legend, Iain Murray, suggested it was time the 505's revisited - and they were happy to comply.
Commenting on the choice of venue, Jackson explained, "I chose Hamilton Island a while back after a suggestion from Iain Murray (Commodore of the Hamilton Island Yacht Club). Next thing I knew, another mate Glenn Bourke was named as the new CEO there and everything seemed to fall in place.
"One of the main reasons we are going to Hamilton Island is not just for the outstanding sailing conditions, but more for the family friendly environment that the Island offers. Our sport is not that family friendly; so we, as sailors, should select venues that will accommodate everyone," he said.
"Hamilton Island offers all of that, plus the Island staff is outstanding and will ensure this world championship will be unrivalled."
Interested parties and spectators will be treated to a preview of the SAP 505 World Championship when the Pre-Worlds are sailed on 22 and 23 March, then the main event gets underway on 26 March.