100 yachts are signed up to take part in the 2016 Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race which begins at 13.00 local time on Boxing Day.

The winner of last year’s Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, Balance, will return this year to defend its title.

Paul Clitheroe’s TP52 will face fierce competition from record holder, Wild Oats XI, skippered by Mark Richards, which has never missed a race since 2005.

Wild Oats XI has won the race twice in 2005 and 2012.

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA)  has announced these two yachts will be joined by 98 other vessels which have now signed up for the 72nd edition of the 628-nautical mile race.

The race, which is organised by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia (CYCA), starts on Boxing Day at 13.00 local time.

As well as Balance and Wild Oats XI, other past winners of the race’s Tattersall’s Cup taking part this year include Love & War (1974, 1978 and 2006), Victoire (2013) and Two True (2009)

Race organisers also report that there are a dozen international entries. For the first time in the history of the race there is a Korean entry.

Four super maxis are also entering the competition, including Scallywag from Hong Kong, as well as three V70’s – Black Jack, Giacomo (NZL) and Maserati.

These boats will be joined by the 80-foot Beau Geste, the 66-foot Alive and Chinese Whisper, a 66-footer.

Nine TP52s have entered, along with three Cookson 50s.

Smaller boats planning to compete for line honours include TSA Management and Calibre, both Sydney 38 yachts, and the oldest boat in the fleet – Maluka of Kermandie, which is just 30-foot.

Commenting ahead of the race start. the CYCA commodore, John Markos, said it was exciting to see a highly competitive fleet of 100 entries.

“While many are returning, the level of interest has increased with 12 internationals campaigning boats from China, UK, Sweden, Korea, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and the USA,” he stated.

“Four super maxis, six other grand prix big boats and an incredibly strong field trying to win the Tattersall’s Cup, including some vintage yachts – I am sure we have an exhilarating race on our hands,” predicted Markos.

The 2016 edition of the Sydney Hobart race will also mark milestones for Adrienne Cahalan, who, in Ragamuffinm, will be the first woman to sail in 25 editions of the competition.

Bruce and Drew Taylor from Victoria will become the first father and son to sail 25 races together on Chutzpahs.