Meet the Trautman’s: A Family That Lives on the Sea

Brian and Karin Trautman have been traversing the big blue ocean for 10 years on their sailboat, named Delos. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Brian and Karin Trautman have been traversing the big blue ocean for 10 years and now sail along with their baby, Sierra. Their boat, called Delos, is an SV 53 ft sloop rig ketch. The couple reminds one of the famous Rose Swale and her husband Colin, who bought a 30 ft catamaran and sailed around the world with their two young children in the early ’70s.

Onboard Delos

Brian and Karin met in New Zealand. Brian is from Arizona and is a former software engineer who always had a dream to travel. It came true when he met the love of his life. Not long after, he sold everything he owned and bought the sloop.

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Delos is a beautiful sailboat decorated all over with simple Buddhist designs. It has enough solar and wind power to keep them sailing for a few months. They have a desalination apparatus to turn saltwater to freshwater, dried and canned food, plus some creature comforts as well. This is perfect for the couple who love living “off the grid.”

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
The sailboat is provisioned with dried and canned food plus some creature comforts as well. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Around the world

Brian and Karin have sailed 83,000 nautical miles (equivalent to circling the Earth at the equator more than 3 times). Inside the cockpit, which they call their “porch,” is the helm and all the controls necessary to sail Delos. It’s a safe place where the family spends their daytime.

Under the cockpit is the engine room that Brian calls his “office” and inside the engine room, there are over 150 gallons of diesel, an 8 kW generator, scuba diving tanks, and a massive desalinator. Everything has its place and fits perfectly like a puzzle. Also, in case of an emergency, Delos has plenty of survivalist supplies, ditch kits, a huge life raft, and manual pumps.

Living on the edge

There are two bedrooms that are situated in the tail end of the boat. The two bathrooms are equipped with showers, flush toilets, and a holding tank. Features include a few watertight bulkheads that stop water from flooding in the area. The middle cabin is the navigation station where radio apparatuses are kept.

There are email modems, a VHF radio, speed and depth equipment, and an Internet server device. With a GPS and a special emergency apparatus that can beam their exact position to a satellite, they are truly well set up and prepared. Sierra usually stays in a zipped playpen when Brian needs all hands on deck.

(Image: Screenshot / YouTube)
Delos is equipped with email modems, a VHF radio, speed and depth equipment, and an Internet server device. (Image: Screenshot / YouTube)

Karin loves to cook on her gimbal system stove. It swings, helping to keep the food in the pot when the waves get rough. She recalls a time when they hit a sandbank in the middle of the night during a bad storm. “One must be on guard; it’s like living on the edge,” Brian chimes in.

He spends at least 2 whole days a week checking everything on the boat and does all of the maintenance himself. On the “back porch” of Delos are a couple of 14-watt solar panels, a wind generator, broadband Internet equipment, and the electric motors that control the sails.

Off-grid and self-sufficient

The family sails 10 percent of the time and remains anchored for the rest. Delos sails about 8,000 nautical miles per year. To keep their home afloat, they create YouTube videos with crowdfunding support from what they affectionately call the “Delos Tribe.”

Now, the pair are checking weather patterns and marking the seasons. They are saying goodbye to the warm tropics and are setting their sights on the Arctic. For that, Delos must be readied and outfitted with all the necessary equipment, including a heater. It is something they will definitely need to keep warm on their long journey to Greenland.

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