Our resident YouTube aficionado catches up with Sailing La Vagabonde to see why they’ve managed to maintain their seemingly unassailable position at the top of the sailing vlog pyramid

In the nearly four years I’ve been writing PBO’s Channel Hopping column, I’ve frequently mentioned the most popular channels in passing, but I prefer to save most of my viewing time and column inches for lesser known channels which I find particularly interesting or engaging.

However, I’ve recently spent some time catching up with what Sailing La Vagabonde have been up to, and reminding myself just why they’ve managed to maintain their seemingly unassailable position at the top of the sailing vlog pyramid, well on their way to having 2 million subscribers.

As I mentioned last month, their 2017 Outremer 45 is about to enter the charter market under the banner of VagabondeAdventures based out of the Bahamas, under the command of various skippers including their friend and erstwhile first mate Jack and The Sailing Frenchman’s Hugo Picard.

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Meanwhile, Riley, Elayna and family are looking forward to moving aboard their new Rapido 60 trimaran, which is the final stages of being built in Vietnam. As they are in no particular hurry, they’ve decided to travel via Svalbard, as you do.

They are far from the first YouTube sailing vloggers to have visited Norway’s arctic archipelago; SV Delos, Sailing Uma, Sam Holmes Sailing, Alluring Arctic and DrakeParagon have documented their time there, amongst others.

They are, however, the first I’ve seen to do it with two small children in tow.

Sounds risky, but they’ve sensibly mitigated the risk by taking along a childminder and choosing a vessel that strikes an ideal balance between adventure and comfort in the form of the 111 year old, 46m steel schooner Noorderlicht which offers arctic cruises for up to 20 passengers, plus professional crew.


The five-part series shows the couple enjoying the attractions of the archipelago and their temporary home, while also revelling in the luxury of letting other people worry about the presence of polar bears, what to cook and whether the anchor will hold, the wind will shift, or the icebergs will damage the hull.

If I had the money to spare I’d certainly consider signing up for a cruise like this.