Rosalin Kuiper jumped from zero to one hundred on the popularity scale among Ocean Race sailors. The 28-year-old Dutchwoman not only brought a breath of fresh air to the Malizia, but was also involved in the world speed record during the Ocean Race as co-skipper in a team with Boris Herrmann, Nicolas Lunven and Will Harris.
Even before her Malizia commitment, she had over 55,000 nautical miles under her keel, collected in offshore regattas such as the Fastnet Race, the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and the Ocean Race Europe 2021.
Nicolas Lunven und Rosalin Kuiper starten ihre gemeinsame Kampagne © Holcom PRB
In mid-September, it was announced that she would be joining Nicolas Lunven as a dual leader on the Imoca of Holcim-PRB and would be skippering the Ocean Race Europe 2025. Her euphoria is infectious, her self-confidence convincing.
float: You now have the wonderful opportunity to start your career at Holcim-PRB. The news struck like a bolt of lightning. I was taken with it because it’s such a good sequel to The Ocean Race on Malizia for you. You really stand out as the female star of The Ocean Race. You are young, funny, open-minded – and strong, as we saw in the Southern Ocean when you climbed up the mast. You have completed all the stages. And you’re only 28 years old. How do you manage that?
Rosalin Kuiper: Thank you very much for the great compliment. I really felt like the best version of myself during the Ocean Race. I almost got wings. I felt I was in the right place, especially in the Malizia team: encouraged by everyone who works there in this open-minded team, we think a little unconventionally.
The role I had in Team Malizia was perfect for me because I was able to develop it myself. I was simply able to do what I wanted to do within the bounds of what was possible. Everyone had the opportunity to do so. I believe that if you work and live in an environment where everyone can be the best version of themselves, you can create beautiful things together. That was my experience.
Ein ikonisches Foto: Rosalin Kuiper steigt im Southern Ocean in den Mast © Team Malizia
We had a very young team during the ocean race. Sometimes there were about 40 of us. We had 5 sailors, the technical team and a commercial team. The average age was 31. We counted 11 nationalities and the gender ratio was almost 50/50. All these points make it a well-functioning team.
Embrace what you have!
That was noticeable when people followed you on social media. What does a woman need to assert herself in the racing scene?
You have to be mentally strong. You should believe in yourself, because the path can be quite lonely. Believe in your own strength, in your own power and in the things you are good at.
I mean, women are different from men. I see a lot of women who only see what they don’t have compared to a man. Embrace what you have! The positive things you have as a woman. Stay positive. Every time I get hit, I try to get up with a smile and try again and again and again.
Eine Blessur am Kap Hoorn im Ocean Race © Team Malizia
It sounds like you are a very optimistic person who has no problems …
Well, I think that in sailing you follow the rules of nature. You eat, sail, go to the toilet, sleep. You simply follow very basic principles. And there is not much difference between men and women. I never felt like I was the only woman on board when we sailed. When a journalist asked me: What is it like for you to be the only woman on the ship, I said: Well, I don’t know, because I’m not a man. So I don’t know what it’s like to sail in an all-male team. So I just believe in myself and go for it. I don’t think too much about it.
A fresh team
Are you building your own team now?
Yes, Nicolas Lunven and I are very lucky to be able to build a new team. There are still a few people from the old team, but not many. For me, one of the challenges is to create this environment. My desire is to create great diversity, to think open-mindedly, to be unconventional and to have a refreshing effect. It’s a big challenge at the moment, and I’m taking it on one hundred percent.