Ahoy yachties! Welcome to Season 2 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht! Just one week after closing out Season 8 of the flagship franchise, we’re headed to Croatia aboard Parsifal III with Captain Glenn Shephard. Who is just nothing but a Canadian sweetheart and probably my favorite of the three Below Deck captains. And I promise that’s not just because of my obvious bias because we share the same name. He really is the best. Croatia, as a location, is also the best. And if the last time we were here is any indication (for Below Deck Mediterranean‘s iconic second season), we’re in for quite a ride.
Personally I’m thrilled to be covering Season 2 because I know a lot of people may have slept on Season 1, or didn’t it a chance. I didn’t watch it at first either. In fact, it was actually my very first binge of quarantine. Which is insane to think about now that it’s officially March and we’ve been doing this for a year now. But needless to say, I fell in love with the show. And it opened the door to me spending more time than I’d like to admit during the last year revisiting past seasons of both Below Deck and Below Deck Med as a way to escape and self-soothe during the pandemic.
We’ve seen Real Housewives (and former Housewives) on Below Deck charters, including Cynthia Bailey, Alexis Bellino, and Kary Brittingham (pre-Real Housewives of Dallas). What would it be like if they were actually cast members, working long hours and wearing khaki skorts? It would certainly be a short-lived experience, but it would probably be interesting to watch.
We’ve seen Bravolebrities pretend to be waitresses at SUR, but there’s no faking it on one of these Below Deck charters. They really do have work to do. Could you imagine a Real Housewife rocking one of those polyester polo shirts? Below Deck alum Kate Chastain sure can. She’s even come up with some names to be her second and third stew.
Adrienne Gang may have been the chief stew for the first season of Below Deck, but it’s longtime cast member Kate Chastain that’s become synonymous with the show. Does anyone even register the name Francesca Rubi?
Kate’s pithy and direct commentary about her crew mates is greatly missed, but at least we have her on Galley Talk.
Kate Chastain has had to make a life on land for herself after quitting Below Deck last season. The original chief stew that regaled us for years with her pithy, dry sarcasm is the queen of Bravo talk shows now. She co-hosts Bravo’s Chat Room with Gizelle Bryant, Porsha Williams, and Hannah Berner. Kate also appeared on Galley Talk with other Below Deck Alums.
Recently, Kate was looking for some new artwork to adorn her wall for the show. She attempted to purchase a piece, but found that her supposed clout from Below Deck did not transfer to negotiating a sale with an in demand artist.
Many Below Deck alums disappear into post-reality TV obscurity. Ashton Pienaar could have been remembered as the deckhand who entertained his castmates with outrageous Smashton moments and narrowly escaped death when his foot got tangled in a tow line and he was dragged overboard.
Unfortunately, Ashton returned for season 7 as a newly appointed bosun. His zeal for the job was quickly dampened by lack of management skills and being triggered by Chief Stew Kate Chastain. Smashton became downright scary and threatening towards Kate and deck hand Rhylee Gerber. He had quite a bit of damage control to do at the reunion, and revealed that he had started counseling to deal with issues he identified after watching himself on screen.
What do you do when you hate your second stew? There’s no denying the tension in the interior has been building for several charters now. And this week, all of that drama finally starts coming to a head. So if you’re Francesca Rubi, that means making a blatant power play to reassert your control over Elizabeth Frankini. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned over the last eight seasons of Below Deck, it’s that the chief stew always demands respect and deference. And she’ll get it by laying down an iron fist. (Miss you, Kate Chastain!)
Last week’s episode ended with Francesca complaining once again to Captain Lee Rosbach about her underling. Because at this point, there’s nothing Elizabeth could do that Chess won’t find some issue with. I say that recognizing that Elizabeth has certainly made mistakes this season. But I can’t help but root for the underdog in this feud, and Francesca hasn’t exactly been a supportive boss. Last week, Captain Lee warned her that finding a new stew could bring a whole other rash of problems. So instead, she decides she’d rather keep Elizabeth on the boat and punish her another way.
What’s the most dire way to kick off a charter? Oh, I’d say without a deckhand. Or better yet, without a chef! And that’s exactly the predicament the Below Deck gang finds themselves in following Shane Coopersmith‘s firing and Rachel Hargrove walking off the boat. One of those exits was entirely expected. The other was absolutely not. But either way, they both leave Captain Lee Rosbach down two crew members and scrambling just hours before the season’s fourth charter.
For obvious reasons, this is a terrible position to be stuck in. Because, sure, you may be able to get through a single charter with one less deckhand. But there’s no way any yacht survives without a chef. Who’s going to make the food? Unlike other seasons in the Below Deck universe, there’s no stew-turned-secret chef to miraculously step up and save the day. And the morning of the charter, Lee can’t even seem to get the yacht staffing agency on the line for help.
Many viewers weren’t so sure about this season of Below Deck. The loss of Kate Chastain in the role of chief stewardess certainly has shaken things up. Newest chief stew, Francesca Rubi surely has her own way. She seems, like, *fine* at her job, but she really doesn’t bring any interest. Say what you will about her, but at least Kate brought some intrigue. And we always knew what she was thinking.
Maybe some viewers enjoy the level, balanced, blah that Francesa is bringing. There’s certainly enough other chaos to go around, after all. Yet somehow, in all the insanity, Francesca decides to shoot her shot to have second stew, Elizabeth Frankini, fired. Is she serious? Of course the answer was a firm “maybe, but not now” from Captain Lee Rosbach. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any less engaging in stew-land.