The Sailing Podcast








August 2015
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Crossing the Atlantic by yacht

Episode 57 of The Sailing Podcast is with Riley and Elayna of Sailing La Vagabonde. The story of La Vagabonde started with Riley searching for a yacht to sail singlehanded, which led to finding La Vagabonde in Italy. From here he crossed paths with Elayna, who joined Riley to sail throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. Elayna began producing videos of the trip and posted them to YouTube for the entertainment of friends and then began to notice many others were starting to watch and share their videos. Their following quickly grew to 36,500 subscribers and their first video has over 600,000 views to date. In this episode we hear about: - How Riley found a yacht, sailing and Elayna - How Elayna began producing videos of the journey - How their audience is supporting them via

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Sailing La Vagabonde

Vagabond definition

This interview starts with a great story of how Riley began the search for a yacht and there are definitely a few lessons there for everyone. Starting with a marine surveyor is the first lesson, working hard and saving money is the second, and the power of the moustache (for attracting crew) is the third! Riley ended up finding a 2007 model 43' Beneteau Cyclades for around $100,000 and then spent some more getting it up to scratch. The boat was renamed La Vagabonde and Riley gave us some insight into this purchase process and lessons learned during the podcast. In addition you can find more information at their website - including access to an eBook with more detail on how it all came together.

Sailing La Vagabond

I came across Riley and Elayna through their YouTube channel - probably via a recommended link - and immediately became a huge fan. This has to do with the fact that they are Aussies, although it's also because of a certain humour and passion that comes through their videos. It seems I am not the only fan out there. As of late August 2015 they have a following of over 35,000 YouTube subscribers and the initial video has had over 600,000 views. Elayna is the video producer. It was interesting to hear during the interview how much time it takes to get them together. To produce a great video takes mountains of footage. I recall Elayna stating they try to shoot a couple of hours a day and then it takes another couple of days to sort through the footage and put it all together. The effort has certainly paid off and the production is a credit to Elayna, who has developed a style that keeps the viewer's attention using short clips and capturing beautiful images of their sailing adventure. At the same time Elayna has managed to capture a snippet of the Aussie sense of humour - assisted by the star performer/captain, Riley. The dry humour and optimist outlook on the journey of discovery and learning to sail allows the watcher to empathise and not feel like an outsider.


Support us on Patreon

The interview explored how the website Patreon has provided a means for the audience of Sailing La Vagabonde to support them. Patreon is a sort of crowd-sourcing website, like Kickstarter or Indiegogo, where Patrons can support artists in creating their work. For Elayna and Riley the patrons donate an amount per video they produce, thereby offering the La Vagabonde team more opportunity to continue with their travels and share it with the audience. If you would like to check out Sailing La Vagabonde on Patreon visit Here are some other places to find Sailing La Vagabonde: The Sailing La Vagabonde website -

  • Sign up to the newsletter and receive a copy of their eBook
  • Find out more about Elayna's upcoming album

The Sailing La Vagabonde facebook page - Elayna's instagram account -


The best way to listen to The Sailing Podcast is using the app! Now available in Google Play - just search for The Sailing Podcast in the Google Play StoreGoogle Play SailingYou can now also find The Sailing Podcast app in the Amazon App store and wherever Windows phone users go to find apps. This brings the app to 4 major app storefronts and allows me to add additional content directly to the podcast app so you can find links etc using PDF's provided with the episodes. If you get a chance to leave a review it would be appreciated.

Sailing La Vagabonde on Today Tonight



Thanks for listening to the podcast and I hope you have a great day and thank you for joining us on our journey

Thanks for listening to David and Carina Anderson of 'The Sailing Podcast'.

Share this episode on Facebook to help us share the stories of cruising sailors

Direct download: 57_-_Sailing-La_Vagabonde.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:20am EDT

Tightwads on the Loose

Episode 56 of The Sailing Podcast is with Wendy Hinman, author of Tightwads on the Loose. Wendy and her husband, Garth, bought a 31’ yacht, which fitted their budget better than Garth’s large frame. While visiting 19 countries and sailing over 34,000 miles, they learned life aboard is about living simply and adventurously. I spoke to Wendy after a glowing recommendation from Tom, who was reading Wendy's book and could see she had great stories and advice to share about cruising on a budget and following a dream. In this episode we hear about:

  • How much they spent on their yacht
  • How they financed their travels with renting our their house
  • How they dealt with problems such as an electrical meltdown

Wendy Hinman, author of Tightwads on the Loose

I contacted Wendy Hinman after a listener Tom wrote to me saying:

I have been reading Wendy Hinman's great book, "Tightwads on the Loose: A Seven-Year Pacific Odyssey" and I think she'd be a great guest on your show. 

Wendy seems like she has all the elements that you like to highlight in your podcasts: a great adventure story, lots of detailed advice on how to cruise, and many entertaining stories. She's back from her 7-year trip with her husband, and now they're building their new dream boat to go out again, so I'm sure there's some interesting stories there that haven't been told yet. I sure would like to hear more about them and their plans. Can you try to see if you can get her on your podcast? You have a wonderful knack of drawing out such great stories!

Well thanks Tom, for the great suggestion and you were 100% correct and Wendy did have some great stories to share.

31 foot cutter

Their yacht, Velella, is a Tom Wylie designed 31 foot cutter rigged light displacement cruiser. Wendy and Garth had been spending time racing on yachts however when it came to choosing a cruising yacht they found Velella, a cold molded wooden yacht, met their cruising needs as well as their budget despite Garth spending much time stooped within it's small confines.

The high topsides provide shelter from waves as opposed to the low profile yachts they were used to racing on. The yacht is cold molded and this type of construction provides strength and great insulation.

The frames are constructed of timber and strip planked with a layer of fibreglass is sheathed over the timber to provide a watertight hull and protection for the timber. Previous guests, Ian and Michelle of SV Raku also had a cold molded yacht, which they built themselves.

It is a popular construction method and one to consider if building your own yacht. You can find more information about Wendy Hinman at her website, the facebook page, and there is plenty of great cruising information at the blog from their journey. Check out the following pages:

Wendy Hinman website -

Wendy Hinman facebook page -

Velella's Adventures in Waterworld blog -

Here is another interview with Wendy, recorded at the 2012 Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival. I viewed this interview prior to talking to Wendy and it covers much of the story and I believe there is another follow up interview with 'Digital Reporter' on YouTube as well  


During this interview Wendy and I spoke about catching up down the track to discuss some further cruising topics as Wendy has been presenting information in articles and at boat shows. This will be a great follow up to the email survey I carried out with listeners of the podcast. If you have any comments please enter them into the comments section below.  

Thanks for listening to the podcast and I hope you have a great day and thank you for joining us on our journey

Thanks for listening to David and Carina Anderson of 'The Sailing Podcast'.

Share this episode on Facebook to help us share the stories of cruising sailors

Direct download: 56_-_Pacific_sailing_with_Wendy_Hinman.mp3
Category:Sailing -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

66 Days Adrift

Episode 55 of The Sailing Podcast is with Bill Butler who shared his story of being attacked by pilot whales and shipwrecked in his book 66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea Bill and his wife spent 66 days in a life raft after their yacht was attacked by pilot whales while sailing from Panama to Hawaii. Bill has many ‘tall but true tales’ including being caught in a typhoon off Manila bay with his wife and children, which we also hear about during the interview. Bill Butler, at 86 years old, is an amazing story teller and has some advice for sailors, after watching over 40 boats pass them while adrift in the life raft.

In this episode we hear about:

  • Changes in the relationship between Cuba and the USA
  • Why you might want more than 3 flares with you on a life raft
  • How a desalinator saved their lives while 66 days adrift

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Bill Butler’s Tall but True Tales

66 days adrift

I heard from Bill after sending out an email to the listeners of the podcast. If you are not on our email list please subscribe using this link -

Bill has lived right through the collapse of relationships between Cuba and the USA, having been born in Cuba and spent his childhood living in Cuba. Bill shares some of his insights into the current changes and brings up an interesting point - how the improvement in the relationship may be detrimental to some of the other tourist destinations, such as Puerto Rico, where Bill lives.

The book with the story of Bill’s time aboard the life raft is called 66 Days Adrift: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Open Sea and you can find it on Amazon using the link above.

There is an earlier version, which appears to be mainly the log of the time aboard the life raft called Our Last Chance: Sixty-Six Deadly Days Adrift. You might find a secondhand copy of the book using this link More recently Bill has written a memoir of his lifetime of sailing in another book called BILL BUTLER'S TALL but TRUE TALES.

Bill also takes during the interview about the experience of being caught in a typhoon off Manila Bay with his wife and children. I was surprised to hear that the family continued to enjoy sailing after such a terrifying experience.

Bill mentioned there are a couple of letters written at the time by his wife and his daughter.

The links to these letters are as follows: - link to Bill's wife's letter - link to other letters These letters are found on Bill Butler’s website at and there is some more information on Bill’s Facebook page at

I actually have an interesting collection of sailing survival stories and here are some of the stories I have collected about being shipwrecked or survival in a life raft:

Survive the Savage Sea: by Dougal Robertson

Adrift, 76 days adrift: by Steven Callahan

Shipwreck on Middleton Reef: by Bill Belcher

The Spirit of Rose-Noelle, 119 days adrift, a survival story: by John Glennie and Jane Phare


Bill Butler - 66 Days Adrift

Here is some footage from just after the couple were rescued after 66 days adrift:

Direct download: 55_-_66_Days_Adrift_with_Bill_Butler.mp3
Category:Sailing -- posted at: 10:27pm EDT