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The Internet’s Favorite Sailors

Published on November 21st, 2019

While competitive sailing keeps taking steps toward enhancing its broadcast appeal, the current crop of rock stars could hardly turn a head beyond the sailing center. But for anyone that attended the 2019 Annapolis Boat Show, or saw their YouTube video capturing the event, creating fame is more about sharing the experience.

Erin L. Schanen profiles the internet’s favorite sailors for Sailing Magazine:

Most famous sailors have a laundry list of accomplishments and a room full of trophies. Elayna Carausa, 26, and Riley Whitelum, 35, have none of that. What they do have is the largest following of any sailing-related channel on YouTube—over a million subscribers—and a group of passionate fans who support the couple’s liveaboard lifestyle through crowdfunding.

The Australian couple sail the world on their Outremer 45 catamaran La Vagabonde making videos that allow their followers to live vicariously through them as they island hop, spear fish and troubleshoot their way through life all while raising their not-quite-one-year-old son Lenny.

Just a few years ago the couple couldn’t have imagined such a life. Elayna was working in Greece as a singer and Riley was learning how to sail on his Beneteau Cyclades. They met, he asked her to go sailing with him and the rest is history.

Elayna started making videos in part to allay the concerns of family members who knew nothing about sailing or living aboard a boat. When the videos took off, Elayna upped her video creation skills (she says she cringes looking back at her early attempts), and the couple managed to turn their lifestyle into a career.

“We’re living in such a strange time,” Elayna said. “This would have never been possible even five years ago. But now we can create videos and keep the journey going.”

It’s not hard to see why the pair are so popular. Egos left at the dock, Riley and Elayna don’t pretend to be expert sailors, adding to a charm that draws in both envious sailors and landlubbers suffering from wanderlust.

“We don’t know the correct terms for anything,” Riley said.

Although the couple may not know the ins and outs of sailing jargon, it’s clear they’ve gained a great deal of sailing knowledge over the five or so years and more than 77,000 nautical miles they’ve sailed. Both are proficient helmspeople and are quick to set the sails to move to their next temporary home. – Full report.

Editor’s note: The La Vagabonde is currently crossing the Atlantic amid storms but with special cargo. For details, click here.

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