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Team Malizia's sailing crew is complete and ready to compete in The Ocean Race

by Team Malizia 29 Nov 2022 16:41 PST
Yann Riou and Axelle Pillain © Antoine Auriol (left) & Jimmy Horel (right) | Team Malizia

Yann Eliès and Axelle Pillain join Boris Herrmann, Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Nicolas Lunven and Antoine Auriol for The Ocean Race 2022-23. They will compete with the brand new IMOCA race yacht Malizia - Seaexplorer. The team includes two female sailors and members from Germany, the UK, the Netherlands and France - making it one of the most diverse crews.

Team Malizia presents two new team members and thus completes its crew for The Ocean Race 2022-23: Co-skippers Yann Eliès and Axelle Pillain join skipper Boris Herrmann and co-skippers Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, and Nicolas Lunven as well as onboard reporter Antoine Auriol. They will compete with Malizia - Seaexplorer, their new IMOCA race yacht that was launched this summer on 19 July 2022. The boat, which has just successfully completed the Route du Rhum - Destination Guadeloupe 2022 race skippered by Boris Herrmann, is currently being sailed back across the Atlantic by the team. In full Ocean Race configuration, the team (except for Boris Herrmann) is training and delivering Malizia - Seaexplorer to Alicante, Spain, where the entire Malizia team will be based until the beginning of the round-the-world race on 15 January 2023.

The team members - ranging in age from 27 to 48 - include sailors with a lot of experience in offshore solo races and The Ocean Race as well as younger talents, eager to make a mark in the most iconic crew race. Team founder and skipper Boris Herrmann: "I am very excited to be part of a crew that is such a promising mix of people from different countries and with different experiences." Team director Holly Cova adds: "It is exciting to grow the team and to welcome these new talents into Team Malizia."

Yann Eliès, 48, is a world-renowned French sailor and one of the most respected Breton skippers with a wealth of experience in many classes, including IMOCA. Growing up in Saint-Brieuc, Yann has been surrounded by the sea and the sailing world since a very young age. At 23, he took part in his first solo race, the Solitaire du Figaro, an event he would compete in 17 times and win 3 times, in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Although a solo racer at heart, Yann has won the double-handed Transat Jacques Vabre three times (2013, 2017 and 2019). He has also distinguished himself on multihulls, winning a Multi 50 race alongside Erwan Le Roux in 2013 and the Jules Verne Trophy twice (2002 and 2005). He has competed in the Vendée Globe twice (2008-2009 and 2016-2017). For several years, Yann Eliès has been an advisor and coach to Boris Herrmann and his team, a relationship now celebrated by competing alongside each other in the upcoming Ocean Race. Yann commented "I am excited to take on this new challenge with Boris and his team and am looking forward to competing on the new Malizia - Seaexplorer".

Axelle Pillain, 32, traded medical school for offshore sailing in 2019. By then she had already completed a PhD in applied mathematics for brain imaging. Axelle fell in love with sailing when she was six years old. She went out in dinghies close to her hometown, next to Brest in the west of France. After finishing a successful career in gymnastics, she started to compete in sailing, taking part in races like the Mini Transat or doing technical navigation on maxi trimarans like Spindrift and IMOCAs such as Corum L'Épargne. Axelle can mostly be found on or in the water engaging in all kinds of sports. You might also see her running through nature, since she has been an avid sprinter for many years.

With these two additions to the existing team members - Boris Herrmann, Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Nicolas Lunven and onboard reporter Antoine Auriol - Team Malizia's crew for The Ocean Race 2022-23 is complete. Their new race yacht Malizia - Seaexplorer was launched in July in Lorient, France, where the team has been preparing for The Ocean Race 2022-23 in the past months.

Team Malizia was founded by Pierre Casiraghi, 35, Monégasque, and Boris Herrmann, 41, German, in 2016. It has since collected a number of achievements; its skipper Boris Herrmann having been the first German sailor to compete in the Vendée Globe. In addition, Team Malizia uses the excitement of sports to create awareness for ocean protection and to highlight solutions for the climate crisis. It also contributes to scientific research with its ocean laboratory "Ocean Pack" that collects valuable CO2 data. Its education program "My Ocean Challenge" is used in classrooms all over the world to teach children about the beauty of the oceans and the dangers they face through climate change.

Team Malizia currently has 33 members of 12 nationalities, the team director is Holly Cova. It is joined in its effort to be one of the most exciting sailing teams and a champion for sustainability and climate action by seven main partners: The Yacht Club de Monaco, EFG International, Zurich Group Germany, Kuehne+Nagel, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Hapag-Lloyd and Schütz.

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