Below Deck’s Captain Lee Rosbach – or Captain Lee for short – has revealed how he felt when former Chief Stewardess Kate Chastain announced she was leaving Below Deck and her yachting career. Chastain first appeared on Below Deck as the Chief Stew on season 2 and stayed for six seasons until she announced her departure in February 2020.
Chastain said she would no longer be the Below Deck Chief Stew starting on season 8. The 37-year-old reality star took to Instagram to update her fans. Chastain posted a picture of herself in her yachting uniform with a graphic that read, “Live your best life.”
In the caption, Chastain wrote, “After many months of reflection and internal discussions, I have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new land based role. I intend to step back as a senior member of the Below Deck Family and work to become financially independent, while continuing to fully support His Majesty Andy Cohen.”
Although Chastain has left, the Below Deck show must go on. Francesca Rubi has replaced Chastain in the newest season of the Bravo show. The show features many new faces, including stewardesses Elizabeth Frankini and Isabelle “Izzy” Wouters, as well as deckhands James Hough, Shane Coopersmith, and Chef Rachel Hargrove. Captain Lee Rosbach and Bosun Eddie Lucas are the only familiar faces on the new season, which premiered on Monday, November 2 on Bravo.
Captain Lee Rosbach Admitted Kate Chastain’s Departure Caught Him off Guard
Former Chief Stew Kate Chastain was Captain Lee Rosbach’s right hand woman for over six years. Captain Lee even confessed that she has become more of a family member than a co-worker over the years, according to Entertainment Tonight. When Chastain announced she was leaving her yachting career behind, Captain Lee told ET that he was, “caught off guard” by her decision.
“I just never, ever saw it coming,” Captain Lee told ET. “I was totally unprepared. I was like, OK… and it was a long conversation. I mean, this went on for, you know, better than an hour or so, and I was just flabbergasted, for lack of a better term, it just hit me hard. And then I started to think about the ramifications of it, you know, because they were huge. … It’s kind of like, OK, she’s gone. So where does all this weight fall now? Am I ready for this?”
Captain Lee added that with Chastain gone, he was thankful to have his loyal Bosun Eddie Lucas return. “We’ve gone through a morph, to say the least,” Captain Lee told ET. “There is a definite learning curve for a lot of people. It was good to have Eddie back. I was sad to see Kate go, and I didn’t know how the chemistry would work between my new chief stew and myself, or between my new chief stew and everyone else because, you know, when you work with somebody as long as I worked with Kate, you can you get a sense for how she’s going to interact with certain people in certain personalities. And so, you get a feel for how things are going to transpire or not during the course of the season.”
Captain Lee Weighed in on His New Chief Stewardess
While Captain Lee was sad to see Chastain leave, he still had to come to terms with working with a new Chief Stew. Francesca Rubi replaced Chastain, and fans met her for the first time on the Below Deck season premiere. Prior to the season premiere, Captain Lee appeared on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen where he discussed the differences between Rubi and Chastain.
“I’m not even gonna go there,” Captain Lee told Cohen on October 5. “Kate is always gonna have a very, very sweet spot in my heart because we worked together for a long period of time, and she was my right hand. There was nothing that I couldn’t delegate to Kate that I just couldn’t pass it off and walk away from it and know that it was gonna get done. To try and compare the both of them after just one season with Francesca is not being fair to Francesca.”
Rubi herself echoed Captain Lee’s statement, saying she and Chastain are different. “From what I’ve seen Kate do on the show, and how she works, she’s a fantastic chief stew, [but] I don’t think you can compare the two of us,” Rubi told ET on November 2. “I think we both have different work experience backgrounds, on yachts and off yachts.”
She added that she hopes people can resist comparing her to Chastain. “We’re totally different people,” she told ET. “We’ve also grown up in different worlds. You know, she’s from the U.S., I’m from Australia. We operate differently. We’ve grown up differently. I think the thing that we do have in common is working really hard, and earning respect from our peers and captain, and that takes time and she has had a lot of time.”