Round-the-world sailors stop off in Bay of Islands
Riley had just bought La Vagabonde on a whim. “A single-handed sailor rolled in, he introduced himself. She uploaded the videos to YouTube and it turns out more than just her mum was interested in watching. We were out one night and I was like, yeah whatever you don’t have a boat,” Elayna explains. “As I explain to people, I’d hoisted the main sail, a main sail, exactly twice before… I knew that I would love it and I did.”
Elayna was working in the Greek Islands. “A lot of people write in saying we find what you’re doing inspirational and we’re going to try to imitate some of the things you guys are doing,” Riley says. As they whip around deck it’s hard to believe Riley Whitelum and Elayna Carausu have only been sailing for four years and even harder to believe they are self-taught. At first I didn’t believe he had a boat. “When the boat was sinking, I Googled, ‘my boat is sinking’ in a harbour in Savtat so we’re very much millennial in terms of our learning strategies,” Riley says. The couple met in Europe. To keep their families up to date, Elayna began filming their adventures. Two young sailors have arrived in New Zealand part way through a round-the-world trip. Nowadays, they have more than 230,000 followers on Youtube but they finance their never-ending voyage by posting the videos to a site called Patreon, which enables benefactors to back independent artists. “We started looking into crossing the Atlantic Ocean, how do we do it, we were reading a lot of books, and yeah we geared up and we crossed the Atlantic,” she says. After a few months island hopping around Greece, the couple set off on their first ocean crossing – their destination, the Caribbean. That makes them around $7000 per episode and their popularity has helped them land the deal of a life time: A heavily discounted million dollar catamaran from France they can pay off with their social media income. They will spend the next couple of months in the Bay of Islands before selling La Vagabonde, interrupting their circumnavigation of the globe to fly to France, pick up their new boat and begin their round-the-world adventure all over again. In true millennial style the Australian couple taught themselves to sail and now they document their adventures on YouTube. They can now also afford to expand and they’ve hired a videographer to join them at sea.