This year's Sydney to Hobart race will be the fourth biggest in the event's 75-year history.
Hosted by Rolex and the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, crews from around the world are descending on Sydney to pay respect to one of the world's great sailing events.
Officials said the field will be wonderfully mixed with classics from the races' 75-year history up to the current crop of 100-foot super maxis and everything in between.
"We are looking at 164 yachts on the start lines on Boxing Day," Commodore Paul Billingham said.
"It's a great testimony to the appeal of this great race and in this historical year. We have a mix of professional and Corinthian sailors on board boats featuring the latest innovations such as the super maxis, and those sailing the classic yachts such as Katwinchar."
Katwinchar is a 1904-built wooden boat owned by Queenslander Bill Barry-Cotter and is the oldest ever boat to contest the race.
The 10-metre ketch epitomises what the 75th race celebrates, having competed back in 1951. She went missing for a couple of days, but turned up in Hobart on 3 January 1952.
Barry-Cotter said he bought the boat in a state of disrepair, but has lovingly restored the boat to her former glory and she won't be the only wooden yacht from yesteryear taking part.
1966 line honours winner Fidelis owned by Nigel Stokes will take part, while Kialoa II owned by brothers Patrick and Keith Broughton was line honours winner in 1971.
Rare three-time winner Love and War owned by Simon Kurts is one of only two boats to achieve three victories with their last coming in 2006.
Officials said hundreds have tried to equal the triple records of Love & War and Freya, but none have succeeded, so far. Despite the age disparity between these and the modern-day yachts, the classics remain determinedly competitive.
The super maxis are favourites for line honours, where in last year they fought their way to Hobart exchanging the lead a number of times. Comanche owner Jim Cooney is thrilled to be involved with such an iconic occasion.
"Every Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is a special event - it's certainly one of the most famous races in the world," Cooney said.
"To be a part of the 75th is particularly exciting, especially alongside boats like Bill's 32-footer here - it just shows you the diversity of the fleet, the interest in the race and the spirit of the people that are campaigning, it makes the whole thing much more of a personal event than just a yacht race."
A specialised handicap system will mean every boat has equal footing.