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Is there anything better on a gray winter’s day than following the journeys of other sailors and to dream of turquoise anchorages? In the pre-Youtube times, the books of sailing heros like Moitessier or Knox-Johnston softened the wanderlust in the off-season, with plenty of room for own imagination. Today countless sailors share your travels on Youtube. Some I do follow, especially in order to prepare my own journey.
There are hundreds of sailing Youtubers and their channels. Most are surprisingly good, at least in terms of image quality. Story, plot, creativity and craftsmanship make the difference. The now affordable equipment with camera(s), sound, drone and editing suite make it possible to dream the dream of a lifetime as a paid sail vlogger (video blogger).
If you want to make an income as a sailing blogger and Youtuber, you need audiences that would also be happy about VOX or RTL2. The stars of the scene achieve this easily and bring it to over 500,000 viewers per clip, which are well digestible with a length of 10 to 25 minutes. But also 20 minutes of clips have to be produced and this can take 1-3 days, depending on experience and aspiration, for recording, editing and post production. As a rule of thumb you need 10 times the amount of footage (footage) for a post. The more experienced, the less – the more demanding the more.
To earn permanent money as a Youtuber, you have to gather a lot of followers. One can roughly expect to make one to two euro per thousand spectators. With 500,000 viewers, this can be interesting if you do not spend days producing a spot. With 10.000 spectators one is still definitely idealist. But it also makes the charm, because much is improvised – even the most motivated Youtuber is not Scorsese. If you want to attract a fan base, you have to deliver regularly. One contribution per week is common and that can be tough.
My favorites are not the front runners, I’m more on the natural. As with everything, there is something for many tastes, if you are capable to speak English. The 20 top ranked sailing channels are English. Speaking German, you can reach about 100 million, English provides a 10-20 times bigger audience, which gives Vlogger a greater potential.
To build a fan base, there are many different ways. The better and more demanding the result, the more time the production costs. The easiest way for the quick success is of course “beautiful and sexy”.
Example is “La Vagabonde“. The Australian couple Elayna and Riley are on the journey on an Outremer, which they have leased in a deal thanks to their Youtube presence. Over 600,000 subscribers follow the two and up to 750,000 viewers see the clips. Major topic are they themselves, bikinis and skin. It feels like the two are to see in 110% of all recordings. Many dialogues – especially the numerous monologues – are boring. Technically ok, weak in content and little substance for sailors. Not on my watch list.
Nor do I like the Sailing Doodles, putting the eggs in the sexy basket too – just to mention, because there are plenty of fans. The top star of the sailing blogger is the “Delos”. Karin and Brian have been traveling with a monohull for many years and the reports from all sorts of places in the world are interesting and there are always helpful technical topics. The two also produce very interesting pictures and find a good mix between places and personalities.
“Gone with the Wynns” are the two longtime Youtube pros Nikki and Jason with routine performances, in a very American way. The two have been travel bloggers for many years, formerly traveling with a camper in North America. Now they sail around the world with an older Leopard cat. Jason is a photographer and you can see that in excellent movies and really good drone flights. Image wise, the two are at the top. If the places are interesting, that’s also entertaining. The Texans are very attentive to your appearance. Nikki is never seen without make-up and I guess they even iron their clothes.
Much more natural come the Australians of the “Millenial Falcon” therefore. The two are very personable and natural, but are constantly fussing around with their monohull. The recordings are more in the homemade league, but that makes up for it with personality and charm. They take viewers through highs and lows, just like in real sailing, including swearing and screaming with happiness. “Starship Friendship” is relatively new with a (still) small Follower community and the journey with the new Lagoon Kat sympathetically shows some of the track and life on board. Very nice for anyone planning a first Atlantic crossing. “Out Chasing Stars” are also Americans, traveling for years with a new FP catamaran. A bit stiffer, the couple shows much from the Pacific, the posts are informative for sailors. The recordings are also quite solid. I check in, if the places are of interest for me.
Stiff is also “Britican“, a British / American family, traveling on an Oyster. A sailor will find detailed details on marinas and anchorages and there are always family themes to see, but more rarely the hard-hitting sides of sailing. For my taste, the commercial intentions are more important than the desire to share the journey. More emotional is “Project Atticus“, which sometimes sail sideways and allow the spectators also an insight into the low points of sailing. Every now and then there’s live broadcasts.
“WhiteSpotPirates” is the German one-handed sailor Nike, who also prefers to speak English for safety’s sake. Nike is the German contribution to the blue water Vlogging World, because a German sailing magazine also regularly reports on their journey. Nikes Vloggs are different because has to deal with many problems and a lot of MacGuyer to keep their elderly Monohull afloat.
My absolute favorites are the Canadians of Sailing Nahoa on a catamaran. Ashley and Ben are unpretentious, un-styled, in a good mood and very natural. They are not worried on a bad hair day. Both of them share the places of their journey like no one else. In addition, they often sail aside the beaten tracks, currently in the Pacific. As a sailor you will find plenty of inspiration at Nahoa. The two come up with a lot to introduce, great pictures and varied stories in the most creative way. Land and aerial photography are among the best of the Vlogger sails. And sometimes I look in to be infected by the good mood.
There are also the exotics with special topics for a few interested or those who are only a limited time on the seas and rather produce for family album. That’s ballast, but on Youtube anyone can do it. Usually one sees on the production date or on the small number of subscribers that the contributions were produced rather for grandma and grandpa at home.
That’s just a small, incomplete selection. There are many more vlogs with over 100,000 viewers. Including families with children, couples and one-hand sailors, on small and large monos and cats, on a small and large budget. The scene is clearly dominated by Americans. Empirically not valid I would say that over 90% of the sails Vlogger cannot live from the effort. But Youtube (or Vimeo) offers many a platform to raise awareness. This then allows participation in affiliate or patron programs that generate additional revenues.
The Youtube professionals such as Delos, Vagabonde or the Wynns can best make a living with a revenue mix from Youtube, patron program, affiliate, merchandising or charter. The three also see themselves as Internet entrepreneurs.
I think it’s very nice for most vlogger to communicate with you. Youtube allows comments and many use that as well for an answer.
If you are already hanging out on land, you can sometimes mitigate the wanderlust and help the sailmates on the way with a click. If you know more vlogs worth seeing, I am pleased about a message. / Holger Binz
Youtube Vlogs overwiev by subscribers (by March 2019)
Sailing La Vagabonde 602.121
Sailing Delos 315.000
Gone with the Wynns 228.843
Sailing Uma 100.818
Sailing Doodles 75.787
RAN Sailing 74.388
Sailing Nahoa 49.123
Sailing Project Atticus 28.143
Sailing Magic Carpet 19.169
Sailing Millenial Falcon 17.662
Out Chasing Stars 16.128
Catamaran Impi 14.184
Sailing Britican 13.568
Ryan&Sophie Sailing 8.265
Sailing Sisu 5.628
Starship Friendship 3.781