Saturday, January 28, 2017

Social Media Sailors, YouTube and Patreon

If you follow my blog you are probably some type of boater and if you do Facebook or watch YouTube you have probably run across a new wave of social media sailing channels.  I have been following some of these on Facebook and YouTube for years.

Before the Internet in the early 1990s, most of us never knew that it was possible to sail and cruise on a private yacht around the world. Those that did it back then did it on the cheap, were independently wealthy or sponsored by some large corporation. The world wide web allowed many of these sailors to start websites and blogs to share and document their adventures. As cruising caught on some boaters would write magazine articles and books about their travels and attend a few boat shows to make a few bucks to pad the cruising kitty.

Fast forward 20 years and we now have a younger generation finding out that they can go cruising now and pay for it along the way.  Cruisers can now develop an income stream to support a cruising lifestyle by developing content and posting it on social media sites like YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Patreon and Twitter. Social media is no longer just a fad, it is a multi-billion dollar business.  Many young and old cruisers are becoming savvy at harnessing social media to buy their freedom and live and share their dreams.

Many of these millennial aged kids are taking to the high seas with little or no sailing experience and documenting all their exploits on YouTube. It make for some entertaining video. I have found that the most successful channels usually include some sort of hunky guy as captain and some very attractive young female sailors as crew. This usually makes for an interesting dynamic on board. Who doesn't like a little eye candy to keep the videos interesting. Throw in some sailing, sun, sandy beaches, rum, bikinis clad babes and you have a hit! That by no means is the only successful formula for a sailing YouTube channel. There are many channels which feature older less hard bodied sailors on board so their is hope for all of us.

YouTube  can been a steady source of income for many sailors who post videos.  YouTube pays channels advertising revenues which can be very lucrative if you have a large following and popular video content. The secret is to provide consistent and predictable content that people will continue to follow week after week. The more traffic you drive to your site generates more clicks by your viewers on the adds provided by Google.

Another site that has really become a gold mine for many of these cruisers is Patreon. Patreon is a crowd funding site that allows people to support many types of content creators. Sailors who produce videos are now finding a second income stream from developing Patreon followers and supporters. Followers can sign up to donate from $1-$50 per video to help support the sailors as they travel.

The website notes that more than $100 million has been donated to creators on the site since it started in 2013. This is such a unique concept that I had a hard time getting my head around it.  I guess there are millions of people in this world that are living vicariously through these creators and are willing to pay and support them to continue providing this content.  It is truly a win/win for both parties.

There has been some controversy around this in that some consider it a form of "Internet begging" of sorts while others consider it as just a tip for appreciating the content put together by these hard working content creators. I tend to agree, if you appreciate some one's artistic abilities or creation you should be able to support them if that is in line with your beliefs.

I have put together a list of the most famous, successful and profitable of these YouTubers and Patreon creators.  Some are just on YouTube while other subscribe to many forms of social media.

Established Channels:

Photo courtesy of  Distant Shores
Distant Shores
Creators: Paul and Sheryl Shard - Canadian
YouTube:Distant Shores
VIMEO: Distant Shores
Patreon: No
Website: Distant
Boat: 49 ft Southerly sail boat

Synopsis: Paul and Sheryl have been producing an award winning TV show called Distant Shores for over 15 years. They built their first sailboat and set out from Canada to travel the the world produce videos for TV, DVD, YouTube and Vimeo. They provide breathtaking professional video and commentary of the places they visit. The videos are more of a documentary travel series. Most of the series are for sale while some shorter teaser clips are provided for free on YouTube. I have been following them for over 10 years and enjoy the detail and amount of work they put into their projects.

S/V Delos
Creators: Delos Brian and Brady Trautman - American,
Karin Syren - Swedish
YouTube: S/V Delos
Vimeo: S/V Delos
Patreon: SV Delos
Website: S/V
Boat: Amel Super Maramu 53ft

Synopsis: Older brother Brian discovered the sailing and cruising lifestyle and bought a boat.  He sold everything and quit his job in his early 30s to sail the world for a few years. He was joined by his brother Brady for the Pacific crossing and the two have been sailing now for 7 years.

While cruising the South Pacific Brady and Brian met Josje Leyton and Karin Syren who have become the "Delos Tribe" as they liked to be called. They have had various other family and friends along as crew during their travels through southeast Asia and across the Indian Ocean. The videos have improved over the years and they provide a quality product.
Photo courtesy of Sailing Delos
These two ladies are young, blond and attractive and very capable sailors. They also add a great deal to the visual appeal of the videos.

The videos are full of sailing, snorkeling, diving and exploring of all their destinations. The crew parties quite a bit and enjoys mixing with the locals at each destination. They have a very successful YouTube following with over 150,000 followers and earn almost $6000/video on Patreon.

Sailing Sophisticated Lady/Ambient Real Life
Creator: Rick Moore - Canadian
YouTube: Sailing Sophisticated Lady
Vimeo: No
Patreon: Ambient Real Life
Website: Ambient Real
Boat: Jeanneau 51

Photo courtesy of Ambient Real Life
Synopsis: Rick has been sailing the Caribbean for over 10 years and produces some of the best videos of the islands I have seen. He started with his Ambient Real Life series on YouTube and has since provided others series to keep it fresh.

Rick travels between the Virgin Islands and Grenada each season spending time at each island shooting video, flying drones, working and enjoying what the local islands have to offer.

He has had a constant stream of charter guests, family and other women on board over the years which has made it interesting. He augments his lifestyle by having charter guest, doing professional video work, YouTube and most recently Patreon.

Sailing La Vagabonde
Creators: Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu - Australian
YouTube: Sailing La Vagabonde
Vimeo: No
Patreon: La Vagabonde
Website: Sailing La
Boat: Beneteau Cyclades 43

Synopsis: Riley had a life changing accident which made him question is there more to life. He decided to buy a sailboat in Italy and happened to run into another Australian, Elayna who quickly became his love interest and first mate. The two had little or no sailing experience but that did not stop them from sailing through the Mediterranean, across the Atlantic, through he Panama canal and across the Pacific. They posted their first video in November of 2014 and have since posted close to 70 videos of their travels.

Photo courtesy of La Vagabonde
Elayna started sharing the videos to keep family and friends up to date on their travels. Soon a following of over 250,000 YouTube followers fell in love with this cute young couple.  The two are very relaxed and down to earth. Their videos started out very crude but have always had a sense of freshness and honesty about them. Elayna is the artsy guitar playing beauty who does most of the videos and commentary. Riley has this wild curly hair, collection of strange hats and his famous mustache which is immortalized in their sailing logo. The two love to free dive and fish to augment their food supply. They are now able to support themselves through YouTube and Patreon where they now receive almost $9300 per video. They will be moving onto a new Outremer 45 catamaran in the spring of 2017 funded by their social media sites.

Gone with the Wynns
Creators: Jason and Nikki Wynn
YouTube: Gone with the Wynns
Vimeo: Gone with the Wynns
Patreon: The Wynns
Website: Gone with the
Boat: Leopard 43 Catamaran

Synopsis: The Wynns are new to sailing but were very popular YouTubers while they toured the US and Canada for 5 years in various recreational vehicles, RVs. They literally just move out of their motor home and onto their 43 ft catamaran to continue their travels. These two are a riot to watch and are quickly becoming one of my favorite channels.  These two are such a cute couple and seem to always be impeccably and stylishly dressed. Its like they were plucked right out of a JR Crew magazine or something. They both are very personable and engaging on the camera and always seen natural in their videos.

Photo courtesy of Gone With the Wynns
Jason has a background in photography which is evident by the many beautiful pictures on their website and Instagram.  He says he found the video button on his DLSR one day and has been making videos of their travels ever since. His photography skills have helped him produce amazing video of all their travels.

Nikki is this cute little bubbly gal that seems to take on any challenge with gusto and a can do attitude. She has quickly become proficient as a sailor and skipper of their new 43 ft catamaran. Her collection of sunglasses and snappy boating attire are endearing to her followers.

Sailing has been a huge learning curve for these two but they are picking it up fast and documenting all of the challenges. If you are a total newbie to boating, their videos will walk you through the whole process of purchasing a boat and gaining the experience to head offshore.

Photo courtesy of Chase the Story
Chase the Story
Creators: Tasha and Ryan
YouTube: Chase the Story Sailing
Vimeo: No
Patreon: Chase the Story
Website: Chase the
Boat: Fontaine Pajot Helia 44
Photo Courtesy of Chase the Story

Synopsis: Tasha and Ryan sailed to the Caribbean on their first boat Hideaway. They came back and sold their businesses in New York and bought a new Fontaine Pajot Helia 44, "Cheeky Monkey" in France and have since sailed across the Atlantic, through the Caribbean, Panama Canal and across the Pacific.

They have brought on several friends and crew to help sail, take video and produce their content for YouTube.  The videos are high quality and well done. They cover the day in the life of a cruiser and the many exploits of the crew.

Follow the Boat
Creators: Jaime and Liz - British
YouTube: Follow the Boat
Vimeo: No
Patreon: Follow the Boat
Website: Follow the
Boat: Oyster 43
Synopsis: Liz and Jaime  and their cat Millie have been cruising on their 43 foot sailboat through Mediterranean and southeast Asia for over 10 years.

Photo courtesy of Follow the Boat
They just completed a total refit on their boat over the past year which they documented on YouTube. The videos are creative and entertaining and contain a lot of working on boats in exotic places.

This couple has been able to develop a large YouTube and Patreon following by showing us the good the bad and the ugly of sailing. They show it all.

Honorable Mentions: Other Great YouTube sites!

Drake Paragon
YouTube: Drake Paragon
Drake and Monique sail on their 42 ft Westsail from the east coast to Scotland.

White Spot Pirates
YouTube: White Spot Pirates
Nikki is a young German girl who bought a boat in Panama site unseen and has single handedly fixed it up and sailed the western Caribbean. She has just crossed the Panama Canal and will be tacking the Pacific Ocean.

Ran Sailing
YouTube: Ran Sailing
A young Swedish couple travels from northern Europe across the Atlantic on their custom aluminum sailboat. Very accomplished sailors, beautiful video and very well done.

Have Wind Will Travel
YouTube: Have Wind Will Travel
Annie and Philip from Pensacola restore their boat and sail to Cuba. Annie is a bubbly blonde who has embraced the cruising lifestyle with an engaging enthusiasm.

Sailing Uma
YouTube: Sailing Uma
This young couple restores their vintage boat and sails to the Caribbean.

Sail Surf Roam
YouTube: Sail Surf Roam
Synopsis: Young Australians build a catamaran and explore the south pacific sailing, surfing and traveling.

Miss Lone Star
YouTube: Sailing Miss Lone Star
Aubrey and Rob move onto their power boat and head to Florida. They buy a sailboat in the northeast and attempt to sail south to Florida.

Sailing Britican
YouTube: Sailing Britican
A family from England sails to the Caribbean and the US, exploring the islands.

Sailing Happy Together
YouTube: Happy Together
Randy and Lennie are cruising on their new Leopard 48 catamaran from Florida to the Caribbean in style. This is bigger budget cruising at its best. Randy does the videos for fun and the two tackle the Caribbean and are presently in Columbia.

Sailing Doodles
YouTube: Sailing Doodles
Synopsis: Bobby and Meagan leave Florida on a small sailboat and head for the Bahamas with two golden doodle dogs on board. Bobby is retired pilot and his attractive crew member and the dogs makes the videos entertaining.

SV Seeker
YouTube: SV Seeker
Synopsis: This guy has the biggest dream and project of anyone I have seen on YouTube. He is building a 75 ft steel ketch mostly by himself in the middle of Oklahoma of all places. He has since enlisted volunteers to help with the construction of the yacht. Lots of welding, grinding, casting and how to videos of this immense project.

Catamaran Impi 
YouTube: Impi Sailing Catamaran
Synopsis: South African couple Brent and Anna sail the world on the Lagoon 45 catamaran. Great in depth videos of the places they travel to. Brent's enthusiasm for the islands they visit is engaging. Every island is "Simply Amazing!

As you can see I watch a lot of YouTube and follow many sailors as they travel around the world.  I am not alone. Millions of other YouTube watchers are doing the same thing and looking for entertaining content to watch.  YouTube and Google are a great source of income if you can develop a large following. Pair YouTube with Patreon, Facebook, Instagram and others social media sites you can support yourself in your sailing adventures.

~~~ Sail On ~~~/)