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SV ‘Delos’ Pt. 2

What makes for the most popular sailing channel on YouTube? Just do your thing and follow you heart, said Sailing SV Delos, the most popular sailing channel on YouTube. Last week, Brady Trautman told us that Delos’ relatability and authenticity have made their show well liked among a broad audience of sailors and non-sailors alike. We were curious how Brady how and his older brother Brian got their start in sailing.

Scenes from our favorite Delos episode, number 107. The crew sailed through the Roaring 40s in the Southern Indian Ocean, en route from Cape Town, South Africa, to Réunion Island. Brady Trautman films the action.

© 2018 SV ‘Delos’

Originally form Florida, the Trautman family spent some time in Arizona, where youngest brother Brady was born. When the family relocated back to Orlando, "Brian stayed behind in Arizona for college and eventually ended up moving to Seattle," Brady told us in an email. "For me, growing up in Orlando was awesome. I spent most of high school at the beach, and whenever I had a break from school, I would fly to visit Brian in Seattle. I can remember the first time I saw his Catalina 22. I was about 13 years old, so Brian would have been 23 or so. I vividly remember sailing around Lake Washington for hours with a boat full of awesome people and puking over the side from too much red wine. This was a common occurrence when I went to visit my older brother!"

The crew of Delos pauses for a beer and a photo in episode 158, en route to Ascension Island from St. Helena.

© SV ‘Delos’

"Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was getting the basics of sailing, little by little, on these adventures sailing with Brian. I ended up going to college for environmental engineering. After finishing my first year, I got a job in the Florida Keys at the Florida Sea Base. It’s basically a compound for 300 13- to 18-year-old Boy Scouts to come sail and dive for a week at a time in Islamorada, Florida. It was here that I really fell in love with sailing and diving. In summer 2007, I was able to get my divemaster certification and became a captain. It was the dream job, diving and driving boats all day and sailing in the afternoons. The waters are pretty shallow on the Gulf side, so I learned to sail the hard way — running into sand bars a lot.

"With all that being said, I’d say the big ‘aha’ moment came while crossing the 3,000-plus miles from Mexico to the Marquesas on Delos in 2010. Looking at weather models, planning ahead and thinking about the wind, current and weather really made everything super clear."

Delos is candid about the fact that cruising isn’t all fun and games — there’s plenty of hard work, monotony and dirty jobs. But there are certainly plenty of moments like this, too.

© 2018 SV ‘Delos’

Should we call Sailing SV Delos reality TV? Given the ubiquity of the genre, is it important to draw a distinction anymore? For over a generation, we’ve accepted ‘regular people’ (not actors or celebrities) in front of the camera. But there was never anything real about reality TV — the hyper-produced, hyper-edited shows were engineered to foment drama, where disparate personalities were pitted against each other, and people were voted off, fired, chopped, etc. The point of so-called reality TV seems to be a ruthless, catty popularity contest far removed from anything resembling a documentary.

With YouTube, enter the self-made series. Now, ‘regular people’ aren’t just the stars, they’re producing the show. Drama is no longer integral to the formula, and one of our favorite things about Delos is that it’s surprisingly, refreshingly, delightfully drama-free (in terms of personalities. The sailing is, at times, plenty dramatic).

Must-see TV? Sailing SV Delos has managed to create its own unique content, which has resonated with a huge audience. Here in episode 145, the crew "let nature take us over by getting naked and running around like children!" "We always make the episodes for us," Brady Trautman told us.

© 2018 SV ‘Delos’

"Man, the Reality TV world is a strange place," Brady wrote us. "Is it scripted? Are they actors? Are they paid? It seems that drama has always sold whether it’s movies or sitcoms, but it seems like a lot of extra work to create drama like that! We’ve always been really positive individuals and feel that life is too short to worry about the little things. If anyone is having an off day, it’s pretty easy to go for a swim to the beach, a paddle on the SUP, or just hang in your cabin. We can all feel each other’s energy and respect that we’re all individuals with different struggles and off days like everyone else. I think with YouTube growing soooo fast, reality TV is dying off (although I haven’t watched TV in a long time, so what do I know?). I do know that YouTube has created a space for literally anyone to create, and there are many inspiring, creative, positive YouTube channels out there, so it’s easy to push out the negativity and drama, you just have to make that choice."

In case you missed last week’s call-out, we’d like to know what you think about Sailing SV Delos and YouTube sailors in general.

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Randall Reeves is about a month away from San Francisco. The Bay Area native is returning home, and plans to make another attempt at the Figure 8 Voyage in the fall.