With just over 100 days until the start of the 69th Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, 51 entries have so far been received by the organising authority, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, and 17 of those are from overseas ports, making it the largest international legation for years.
The race's first ever participant from Cyprus, Gerhard Ruether's 100 foot super maxi Zefiro, has added to the already strong field of internationals that includes the 12 brand new 70 foot Clipper yachts taking part in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.
Others making the trek Down Under include Varuna, a Ker 50 from Germany, owned by Jens Kellinghausen, and Jean Luc Esplaas returns from Noumea with his Archambault 40, 41 SUD, for a third tilt at the race.
New Zealander Jim Delegat, Managing Director of Delegat Wine Estate, distributor of Oyster Bay wines, purchased the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race winner, Groupama earlier this year. Renamed Giacomo, it is expected to line up against at least two other Volvo 70's come Boxing Day.
Andrew Lawrence's Jazz Player from Victoria was the 50th entry to be received by the CYCA. Lawrence's best result, from his four Rolex Sydney Hobart campaigns, was in 2011 when the Bakewell-White Z39 finished third in IRC Division 2.
Rob Fischer's Helsal 3 is one of three Tasmanian entries and will represent the race's finishing partner, the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.
Owned by the Fischer family on and off for 18 years, Rob and his father Tony purchased the yacht for the second time in 2007 in a totally rundown condition and refurbished it and installed a fixed bulb keel (she originally had a centreboard) and bigger rig.
A new rudder was added in 2009, with further modifications made in 2010, including moving the mast aft and converting her to a masthead rig. A fourth in PHS Division 1 last year was her best Rolex Sydney Hobart performance in recent years.
As always, the Rolex Sydney Hobart's prized trophy, the Tattersall's Cup, presented to the overall race winner, is wide open.
Among the challengers will be Chris Bran's 2013 Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race winner, Brannew, a Beneteau First 40; Sam Haynes' Rogers 46 Celestial, which finished runner-up in the CYCA's Blue Water Pointscore last year, while Victorian Bruce Taylor will make his 33rd attempt to win the race with his IRC 40 Chutzpah.
Rod Jones has entered Audi Sunshine Coast. In his second offshore outing, the Queenslander showed promise, winning Division 1 of the CYCA's 2013 Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race with the revamped Heaven Can Wait.
Other entrants registered for the 69th edition of the race include Jim Cooney's Jutson 80, Brindabella, the 1991 line honours winner and Andrew Wenham's newly purchased Volvo 70, Southern Excellence II (the former Ichi Ban). Both should finish at the front end of the fleet.
Bob Oatley's super maxi Wild Oats XI, is the reigning race record holder and once again will be skippered by Mark Richards. Among her line honours rivals will be Wild Thing and others such as Ragamuffin 100.
The CYCA is predicting a fleet of approximately 80 yachts for the 628 nautical mile race which on Boxing Day at 1pm AEDT.
Entries for the Rolex Sydney Hobart 2013 close on Friday 1 November 2013 at 1700hrs AEDT.