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Sam Holmes- Biography (Wiki)

Sam Holmes is a popular sailor and YouTuber.

He has more than 200 thousand subscribers on his YouTube channel by the name Sam Holmes Sailing.


Sam Holmes was born on 27 June 1988.

He grew up in Wake Forest, North Carolina, United States.

Sam is half Swedish and has siblings.

At 15, he learnt sailing 420 dinghies at a sailing camp but later, didn’t sail much until his adulthood.

Much like him, his brother was also into sailing.

After growing up, Sam bought a boat on Craigslist and started relearning sailing and started sailing frequently.


Sam studied Industrial Design from a school in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Then, he worked at Walt Disney Imagineering.

Sam’s job involved designing theme park attractions, laser scanning, digital rockwork sculpting, working on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Pandora – The World of Avatar and Fantasyland Disney.

He also worked for Shanghai Disneyland Park.

Quitting his job & sailing to Hawaii-

As Sam had medical conditions and was tired with his job, he decided to quit his job and sail from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

So, he started preparing himself for this trip, he bought a 22-foot boat and started practicing sailing.

Then, in 2018, Sam bought a Ranger 23 sailboat, a 1976 23-foot boat.

Prior to quitting his job, he sailed every week in his Ranger 23 sailboat for months to make himself comfortable riding this boat. He did a lot of shorter trips around the Islands of Southern California.

Sam also readied his boat with solar panels and a self-steering gear.

In 2019, he quit his job at Walt Disney Imagineering and started sailing solo on his boat from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

This was Sam’s first big voyage and he spent 27 days alone at sea aboard his boat.

After quitting his job, he returned to his job on a contract basis but later resumed sailing.

Deciding to keep sailing-

After sailing from Los Angeles to Hawaii, Sam stayed in Hawaii for a few months and then resumed sailing Hawaiian Islands.

Thanks to his Los Angeles to Hawaii trip, he fell in love with sailing and decided to keep sailing.

As Sam felt his Ranger 23 sailboat to be too small, he sold it and bought a bigger boat, a 1979 Cape Dory 28.

He sailed to many locations like São Jorge, Graciosa, Terceira Island, Ireland, Bermuda, Bahamas, Punta Gorda, Fort Myers Beach, etc.

Sam also sailed across the Atlantic and the Gulf Stream.

Sam Holmes Sailing-

Sam started his YouTube channel by the name Sam Holmes Sailing on 18 April 2006.

He published his first YouTube video titled ‘Ballstronaut’ on 6 June 2006.

Later, Sam started publishing several videos of himself performing adventure sports.

On 18 July 2019, he published a video titled ‘Solo sailing Los Angeles to Hawaii on 23ft boat’ documenting his trip from Los Angeles to Hawaii.

This was his Sam’s viral video and as of January 2023, it has accrued 4.7 million views.

Thanks to the success of this video, he started earning from his YouTube channel and this started paying for his expenses.

Thanks to this, Sam realized the earning potential of YouTube and so, continued publishing videos onto his YouTube channel.

A successful YouTuber-

As of January 2023, Sam has 208K subscribers on his YouTube channel.

He earns from a variety of sources like advertisements on his YouTube videos, selling merchandise, affiliate marketing and he also accepts donations on Patreon, PayPal, Venmo and Cash App.

Sam films, edits using iMovie and publishes his videos on his iPhone.

He also uses a drone and also has a website and he shares his tracking through it.

Learning on his own-

Sam learnt the required skills to maintain his boat by trial and error.

He started learning by doing experiments and projects on his first boat, a $750 22-foot boat.

Sam was keen to learn how to fix the things on his boat as he didn’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a boatyard to fix his boat.

Later, as his YouTube videos started becoming popular, he also started receiving advice from his viewers for his boat projects.

Books, autopilot & sleep-

While sailing, Sam reads books downloaded on his Kindle and also enjoys downloaded videos, podcasts and music on Spotify and he also takes naps to kill the time.

He uses a wind vane self-steering system to self-steer his boat and it is completely mechanical and doesn’t use electricity.

Sam also uses the electronic autopilot which steers the boat on a magnetic compass course and this runs on battery power.

In the oceans, as it is too deep to anchor, he doesn’t anchor his boat during the nights instead he keeps on sailing but for every ten to twenty minutes, he wakes up to look for any boats.

Sam has an automatic identification systems (AIS) receiver on his boat which receives signals from big boats transmitting position signals and warns him of any possible collisions.

But as small boats don’t transmit signals, he stays alert so as not to collide with them.

Sam loves catching and eating flying fish.


While in his freshman year of college, Sam was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.

This greatly impeded his quality of life but thankfully, the infusions of Remicade helped him.

Every six weeks, Sam was infused with Remicade and this continued for ten years until he developed antibodies against this drug.

Later, he tried many drugs and diets but none of them helped and eventually, his quality of life deteriorated to the extent that he couldn’t leave the house and work.

So, Sam decided to get his large intestine removed and three surgeries were performed upon him.

In the first surgery, his large intestine was completely removed and a stoma was created and he had to use an ostomy bag.

Wearing an ostomy bag didn’t hinder Sam from swimming and sailing.

In the second surgery, a J-pouch was created.

And in the third surgery, his stoma was reconnected.

In one of his 2020 YouTube videos, Sam stated that his third surgery went well and he is recovering from it.

Even though he struggled with ulcerative colitis, it didn’t stop him from following his passions of sailing, diving, backpacking, trekking, travelling and competing in an international paragliding competition.

Sam also suffered from kidney stones.

Personal life-

In a podcast, Sam stated that he had a girlfriend and in a 2019 YouTube video, he stated that he is single.

He is 5’10 tall.

Sam loves sailing solo, hiking, biking, paragliding and kitesurfing.

So, how are you inspired by the success story of Sam Holmes?

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About Author

Hello folks, I'm Naveen Reddy.
I love writing the inspiring success stories of people.