Simon and Carla have been living and sailing full-time aboard their 40 foot catamaran, Ocean Fox, and sailing the world’s oceans for three years. What started as a crazy idea of Carla’s just two days after their wedding, turned into an adventure, sailing over 25,000 miles and visiting 47 countries. Along the way, they (accidentally) became YouTubers with their channel Sailing Ocean Fox.
Join me in this chat with Simon and Carla about the advantages and challenges of the full-time sailing lifestyle, as well as what it’s like to be YouTube stars in your 50s in a sea (pun intended) of younger influencers, and what it’s like to work remotely while sailing full-time.
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Meet Simon and Carla of Sailing Ocean Fox
Simon (61) and Carla (56) first met six years ago on a dating site in the UK. Eighteen months later they were married in Barbados. Two days into their marriage, Carla suggested they sell their house, buy a boat and travel the world. Simon thought about it for all of two seconds and said “Yes”. They just had to find a way to make it happen.
At the time Simon was a director of a live events agency and had produced events in 44 countries around the world including sporting events, corporate clients, and international government conventions. Simon’s children are JJ (25) and Jasmine (28).
Carla was a PA in the legal profession in London when the two met; prior to moving to London she had her own real estate franchise in the north of Portugal. Carla has two girls: Jessica (29) and Rafaela (24).
When Carla suggested they ditch everything and go sailing full-time, it was a surprise as she had very little sailing experience. Simon by contrast, had owned a few yachts, though he had never done any ocean crossings; something they both would do a few times while sailing around the world over the next few years.
Their YouTube fame happened by chance. Early into their travels, they made a sailing video that went viral, and within 11 weeks their YouTube channel was monetized (which means they had at least 1,000 subscribers and 240,000 minutes of viewing time). To achieve this in 11 weeks is pretty outstanding, so, they kept going, and now they have a loyal following on their channel called Sailing Ocean Fox, which is also the name of their website, Facebook, and Instagram channels. On their Facebook page, Simon posts daily “blogs” of their adventures. They also just launched a podcast called Destination Sailing Channel.
In this video, I chat with Simon and Carla about a host of things, including what it’s like to sail full-time, their ocean crossing experiences, and how they earn money remotely as YouTubers – including how they built their channel and the amount of work involved in such an endeavour.
Watch the video below, or click here to see it on YouTube! (And please give it a thumb’s up, leave a comment, subscribe to the channel, and hit the bell for notifications).
Full-Time Sailing Lifestyle
We start out chatting about the full-time sailing lifestyle, touching on the following topics:
- What it’s like to cross an ocean, and some of the heavy storms they encountered (think: waves the size of houses).
- How ocean crossings work with a crew of two (one of whom tends to get seasick!).
- Speaking of seasickness, is there truth behind the term “getting your sea legs”, or is it a fallacy?
- What makes sailing a unique way to travel.
- The importance of daylight and wind, which become some of the most crucial elements of life on sailboats.
- Sailing a mono-haul versus a catamaran.
- Why being handy and a DIYer is essential to the sailing lifestyle.
- Advice for aspiring full-time sailors.
Transitioning to Full-Time Sailing
Many people dream of sailing full-time, but putting that dream into action can be daunting. We talk about:
- The differences between land-life and sailing life.
- Transitioning from a full-sized house to a boat, and what that’s like.
Being Sailing YouTubers in Your 50s and Beyond
What sets Simon and Carla apart from many of their YouTube compadres is that they got into the game later in life, and the learning curve was massive as they weren’t overly familiar with the workings of social media. We touch on:
- How an accidentally viral video turned into a YouTube career.
- How being YouTubers is about so much more than making videos for YouTube.
- Ways to monetize YouTube, and misconceptions about YouTube income.
- How to grow and market a YouTube channel.
- What it’s like to be older content creators on YouTube, and how it has actually served them very well.
Remote Work Online While Sailing
I lived on boats for two months in the Caribbean, and it wasn’t always easy. Simon and Carla agree, citing Internet as being the biggest challenge (especially in the Caribbean). Here’s what we touch on:
- Working remotely while sailing full-time.
- Telecommuting and keeping office hours, versus freelancing or being self-employed on boats.
- Internet: tips and challenges.
- Work-life balance, when you work 10 hours a day, six days a week!
- Setting a pace of travel and work.
- Advice for remote workers who want to sail full-time.
And somewhere in there, we chatted about their Live-Aboard experience, designed to show aspiring sailors what it’s really like to sail full-time and work remotely. Among the many tips they provide throughout the interview, they stress the importance of taking sailing (and sailboat maintenance) courses, testing out a few different kinds of boats before buying, and dipping your toe in the water (see what I did there?) before buying a boat and discovering the sailing lifestyle might not be for you.
Other Awesome Interviews to Check Out:
Being a Digital Nomad vs. Having a Home Base, with Sherry Ott
Top 5 Travel Adventures, with Dave and Deb of The Planet D
Solo Travel Over 50, with Janice Waugh
Pivoting to Podcasting After 9 Years of Full-Time Travel, With Gary Arndt