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Team Malizia announces Sailing crew for Leg 6 of The Ocean Race

by Team Malizia 4 Jun 00:19 PDT 8 June 2023
Team Malizia's sailing crew for Leg 6 of The Ocean Race, from left to right: Axelle Pillain, Will Harris, Boris Herrmann, Rosalin Kuiper, and Antoine Auriol © Team Malizia

German skipper Boris Herrmann will sail Leg 6 of The Ocean Race with co-skipper Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, Axelle Pillain, and onboard reporter Antoine Auriol. The shortest leg of The Ocean Race will see the fleet leave Aarhus, Denmark on 8 June, sail in the Kieler Innenförde for the German Fly-By of the race (9 June), to The Hague, Netherlands.

After having broken the 24-hour distance record in Leg 5 of The Ocean Race, Team Malizia is ready to give their all and perform at their best in the crucial next legs of the race. The international team is currently placed third in the overall scoreboard and is looking forward to pushing their IMOCA race yacht in the upcoming coastal leg starting 8 June 2023 from Aarhus, Denmark, past Kiel, Germany, to The Hague, Netherlands.

With this goal in mind, skipper Boris Herrmann will be sailing onboard Malizia - Seaexplorer with co-skippers Will Harris, Rosalin Kuiper, and new addition Axelle Pillain. Onboard reporter Antoine Auriol completes the crew.

Axelle Pillain (32) is not new to Team Malizia. The French sailor joined the international team over a year ago to work on the electronics and performance aspects of the campaign. In 2019, Axelle Pillain traded medical school for offshore sailing. By then, she had already completed a PhD in applied mathematics for brain imaging. After finishing a successful career in gymnastics, she started to compete in sailing, taking part in races like the Mini Transat and doing technical navigation on maxi trimarans like Spindrift and IMOCAs such as Corum L'Épargne.

"I have known Axelle since joining the team in 2019", explains co-skipper Will Harris. "She was a key part in solving the electronics in Team Malizia's previous boat and our new Malizia - Seaexplorer as well. I think she really brings a fantastic performance and analysis background to the team, and she is also a really strong and experienced sailor, having sailed multiple times across the Atlantic Ocean. She knows the boat inside and out. She has worked on it since the build and has been onboard for almost every sailing day outside of the actual race, fixing problems with us in the electronics and developing the performance side."

Axelle Pillain comments: "I'm very happy to be on board for Leg 6 of The Ocean Race! I have been dreaming about taking part in this iconic race for many years, participating in it is the culmination of a lot of hard work. I am excited and happy to have the opportunity to sail alongside Boris, Will and Rosie. I know them well and I know our boat pretty well too, having sailed the two-week long delivery from Guadeloupe to Alicante before The Ocean Race. Working on the electronics and performance analysis is a big advantage in terms of getting to know the boat and jumping quickly into the crew. It's another string to my bow as a sailor."

Rather than having someone from outside the team who doesn't know the boat so well, it is much more important to skipper Boris Herrmann and the crew to have someone who knows the boat inside and out and already fits in well with the dynamic onboard. The German skipper explains: "Axelle has been an important member of our team for many months and it's exciting to see that she now gets to race as well."

Will Harris adds: "I hope that the performance aspect Axelle brings can help us find that extra bit of speed for the next leg. I'm looking forward to sailing with Axelle, she brings a fresh motivation because she is really excited to be part of this team and bringing a sailor with that sort of motivation can really help us. Nico Lunven has obviously been taking the navigator role and Yann Eliès for the last leg, but this leg we plan for Boris and I to be involved in that a lot. It will kind of shift the crew dynamic a bit, it's a bit of a new role for us also, in getting used to taking that over from Nico but Axelle for sure has been working away in the background and helping us to prepare for the leg so she's going to have an important part in that as well."

Before the Leg 6 start next Thursday 8 June, the crew will sail the Aarhus In-Port Race on Sunday 4 June 2023.

Team Malizia's A Race We Must Win - Climate Action Now! mission is only possible due to the strong and long-lasting commitment from its seven main partners: Zurich Group Germany, Kuehne+Nagel, MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company, Hapag-Lloyd, Schütz, the Yacht Club de Monaco, and EFG International. These partners band behind Team Malizia to support its campaign, each of them working towards projects in their own field to innovate around climate solutions.

Team Malizia's sailing crew for the Aarhus In-Port Race and Leg 6

  • Boris Herrmann (GER) - Skipper
  • Will Harris (GBR) - Co-skipper
  • Rosalin Kuiper (NED) - Co-skipper
  • Axelle Pillain (FRA) - Co-skipper
  • Antoine Auriol (FRA/GER) - Onboard reporter
Overall scoreboard ahead of Leg 6:
  1. 11th Hour Racing Team - 28 points
  2. Team Holcim-PRB - 27 points
  3. Team Malizia - 24 points
  4. Biotherm - 17 points
  5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe - 2 points
In-Port Series scoreboard ahead of the Aarhus In-Port Race:
  1. 11th Hour Racing Team - 17 points
  2. Team Malizia - 16 points
  3. Team Holcim-PRB - 10 points
  4. Biotherm - 9 points
  5. GUYOT environnement - Team Europe - 5 points

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