Sailing Insieme – Uniting Blue Water adventures with the dayjob
Julia and Markus Luckeneder from Austria are not doing blue water cruising in the same way most adventurers do it.
Their first big attempt at touring the Globe ended in 2021 when a new lockdown struck the Pacific Islands and eventually forced the couple to abandon their adventure and sell their boat to return to Austria.
Yet, they did not give up.
They are back on a new adventure with their second boat, Insieme II and most importantly: A new concept. Insieme II is a Sunbeam 42 CC which doubles as a sailing office in the Caribbean when Julia and Markus check in remotely to take care of business in their webshop, www.sailinginsieme.com.
- To be honest, we are still figuring out some parts of working in the boat office, but it works well. Our Achilles heel is the timezones, and with a five-hour difference between us and our main markets out of Austria and Germany, we get up early. So we have busy mornings, but then we can spend the afternoons roaming around the islands and enjoy our surroundings. It is a stark contrast to our first voyage which was more of a sabbatical, but we had to make ends meet if we wanted to try it again – so we found a way to make an income while sailing, Julia tells.
Their new plan has once again led them across the Atlantic to the Caribbean, but the travel did impose one big headache: The Atlantic. Crossing the ocean meant they would have very limited internet access for three weeks. It took much planning and they worked ahead, but it ended up going well.
- Crossing the Atlantic and running a company at the same time was a wild challenge. We were hard offline for three weeks and had to put it all in the hands of our employee back in Austria – it went well, but it was stressful for sure, she says.
From watching YouTube to being a content creator
The couple have had a rather short way into their new life as more or less full-time sailors. They first caught the bug in 2019 when Markus stumbled upon a video on YouTube, where a German youtuber singlehandedly crossed the Atlantic. It all initiated the idea of cruising the Caribbean for Julia and Markus, who previously had been to Curaçao on holiday.
- At first, we did not really have a plan or a dream of sailing as such. We had never sailed before, nor did we know anyone who did. But Markus struck this video on YouTube, where some guy crossed the Atlantic single-handedly in some 30-footer. To be fair, it was not really the best advertisement for sailing, as he really took a beating out there. Yet, there was something to it, and it dawned on us, how cool it could be to visit the Caribbean while island-hopping all the way on our own boat. That was the very start of what has become a kind of obsession for us since then.
Learning the ropes
The idea did however soon turn into reality. Julia and Markus set about learning the ropes and bought Insieme. This was their first yacht, and after what can only be described as a crash course, they did their first Atlantic crossing half a year later.
- I would not recommend a crash start like ours to anyone, but we made it happen and we have learned so, so much since we began. We did these baby steps and continuously made longer and longer journeys. The first time we crossed the Atlantic, it was really a tough challenge, so it felt much different to do it for the second time. We felt much more on top of things and it was just a magical way to travel. Just the two of us and no major incidents or problems at all – perfect.
Travelling in business and pleasure
As Covid-19 struck the Pacific Islands hard again in 2021 and enforced a new lockdown, Julia and Markus had to pause their plans of travelling further. They sold Insieme and returned to Austria. They did however soon start thinking of new ways to travel and set about finding a replacement for Insieme, which they now have in the shape of the Sunbeam 42 CC, named Insieme II. Insieme II runs an Elvstrøm Sails wardrobe.
The most important part was however to find a new way to fund it all. And despite being stopped in their tracks by Covid-19, Julia thinks the pandemic also made a positive contribution which made it possible to try again.
- Our first adventure ended very abruptly due to the lockdown, but I won’t say that Covid was solely negatives for us. It made it the new normal to work on the distance and online work quickly became the norm. It made it possible for us to start a shop and run it on the distance, which is what we do today. Making the shop was an idea that came out of our YouTube-channel. We have always been very careful picking the right partnerships in the industry, and being an actual reseller of the products makes it clearer that we earn something from our videos rather than having to answer the questions as to what is sponsored and what isn’t.
Their ecommerce venture has recently stepped into gear with a new project as Julia and Markus have just been appointed Elvstrøm Sails subdealers. Sailing Insieme generally supplies gear and tech oriented towards kitting out yachts for the big adventures – just like the owners like to do. It sprung out of their very successful venture on YouTube, which has attracted a crowd of over 34.000 subscribers – mainly from the German-speaking countries:
- Our shop is in essence the one we would have loved to know when we started sailing. Our dream is to make Sailing Insieme the one-stop-shop for bluewater cruising – not only in terms of the gear, but also for advice and consultations. We love to share the knowledge we have gained over the years and indeed to help other people that are in the situation we initially were in, Julia says and adds:
- We stuck to presenting our vlog in German – it feels more fluent and impulsive, which was really important for us. It does also mean that we cater to a different crowd than most adventure sailing channels on YouTube and Social Media do. We do always go sailing hoping to inspire others, and it was essentially the whole idea behind our vlog.
You can follow Julia and Markus on www.sailing-insieme.com.