They say that we don’t meet people by accident. I am not sure why I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Colin MacRae and the Parlay crew but they have certainly impacted my life in the best possible way.
I originally met Colin MacRae and Jamie Vandenbulk at the Newport International Boat Show, where they were promoting their YouTube channel Sailing Parlay Revival. I immediately recognized Colin being the fangirl of Bravo’s Below Deck that I am. I knew nothing about Parlay or that their YouTube channel even existed. I thought they were there promoting Below Deck. This is one of those moments where the hand-to-forehead emoji would be appropriate. To be fair, Colin was there with Daisy Kelliher (Chief Stew on Seasons 2-4). I guess I should have figured it out sooner considering they were donned head-to-toe in Parlay Revival gear, but I was too starstruck to notice at first.
If you don’t know the incredible story of Parlay, here are Cliff’s Notes: SV Parlay is a hurricane-damaged Lagoon 450 Catamaran that Colin bought in Tortola, BVI after Hurricane Irma. The insurance companies deemed the vessel a constructive total loss. Determined to fix her up, he and his friends hauled her out of the water and completely rebuilt the boat. They continue to fix her as they go, chronicling their journey on their YouTube channel, Sailing Parlay Revival, which releases a new episode each week.
Like me, most people initially recognize Colin from seasons 2-4 of Bravo’s Below Deck Sailing Yacht. He was chosen to be on the show because of his passion for sailing and his extensive work as a Chief Engineer on super yachts (and let’s be honest he is not terrible to look at either). Although he loves being on Below Deck and is grateful for the platform it has provided, his passion is not reality TV or being a Bravolebrity.
It is the incredible work that he and his friends have done on Parlay and his dream of circumnavigating the globe, which is about to become a reality. They are getting ready to embark on the first big leg of their trip, (and arguably the most important) crossing the Pacific Ocean. The biggest journey of their lives will begin shortly, as they have been working tirelessly to finish last-minute preparations for the crossing. The jobs never seem to end.
I have always felt that they talk about this passage nonchalantly, like “Oh no big deal, when we cross the Pacific…” Are you kidding me? It’s a HUGE deal. The mere size of the Pacific Ocean presents its own challenges. Let’s not forget that it covers a third of the entire world. Not to mention its intense currents, dangerous coral reefs, violent storms and other severe weather conditions, just to name a few. The trip itself is over 2,000 nm and will take about a month as they will depart from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and head to the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. If they aren’t nervous, I will be nervous FOR them…x10. I hope that Poseidon treats them kindly.
Colin MacRae - Hailing from New Zealand, Colin has been a Chief Engineer on super yachts for 15+ years and is the owner and captain of Parlay.
Jamie Vandenbulk - The First Mate, Jamie is a staple on Parlay and Colin’s right hand. “You’d struggle to find a more hard-working dude than this guy,” Colin says of Jamie. All of his hard work and support were recognized when Colin renamed the boat a Jamie465 (rather than a Lagoon450) because he helped to extend the boat during its reconstruction.
Brittany Amodeo - Brittany is a self-described creative thinker and a professional wanderer. She originally came aboard to film and edit videos for their YouTube channel. She has since taken their videos to the next level by infusing her creative talent into their brand. Fans of the channel love Brittany and have come to expect her presence in videos and at events
Colleen Meehan - No stranger to sailing on Parlay, Colleen has been part of the PR crew 3 times. When she is not on Parlay she works as a bosun on superyachts and is excited to be going on this adventure with her friends.
David Shih - A fellow YouTuber, David became friends with the Parlay crew after following their channel and was inspired to buy his own hurricane-damaged Lagoon450 but needed Colin’s help to fix it up. You can read that amazing story in a recent article he wrote for Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine. For another great channel to follow, subscribe to David’s channel David Shih Sails.
Fillipo Gasparini - Also no stranger to Parlay, Fillipo was their former videographer. He works in the film industry and is happy to join the crew again to help Parlay cross the Pacific.
Katie Hawkins - A childhood friend of Colleen's, Katie is new to the sailing world having never sailed before, and decided to join as crew and embark on a journey of a lifetime.
Steven MaCloud- A huge fan and supporter of Parlay, Steven won a contest for Parlay patrons to cross the Pacific as part of the crew. No stranger to boating, he recently helped David Shih deliver his Lagoon 450 from Panama to Texas.
I am still not entirely sure why our paths crossed. Maybe it was to remind me to live life to the fullest. Maybe it was to satisfy my wanderlust or allow me to live vicariously through them. It is probably a little of all of those things. However, I have no doubt that one of the reasons was so that I could help share their incredible journey and hopefully inspire others the way they have inspired me.
I once asked Jamie how long he thought it would take to complete the trek around the globe. In his amazing Australian accent he said with a laugh, “I don’t know, Darling, it could take 5 years.” He was half kidding because the length of time really depends on so many factors including the weather, where they decide to stop, how long they stay, etc. But this first big passage across the Pacific will kick off the trip, and no matter how long it takes to complete the entire trip, it will be the journey of a lifetime.
To follow their adventure go to the Parlay Revival YouTube Channel!
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