One of the most popular things in lockdown to do has been to binge through shows we’ve not had the chance to check out before and, amongst them is the wildly-popular reality series, Below Deck!

Now with it’s spinoffs Below Deck Mediterranean and Below Deck Sailing Yacht, it’s clear that whilst we’ve all been stuck at home, we’ve enjoyed checking out what the crew on board some luxury vessels have to do to earn their wages.

Season 2 of Sailing Yacht kicked off on March 2nd 2021, bringing an all-new crew on board Parsifal III to work under the ever-charming Captain Glenn Shephard.

We got the chance to chat to Chief Stew, Daisy Kelliher about the season we’re watching play out, as well as her drama with a guest away from the sea, why she wasn’t “ratting” on the boat’s chef and more!

Chief Stew Daisy Kelliher spoke to Female First all about Below Deck Sailing Yacht
Chief Stew Daisy Kelliher spoke to Female First all about Below Deck Sailing Yacht

You’ve got quite the family history when it comes to sailing! Can you tell us a little bit about that?

My family are really into it. My grandparents sailed; they had quite a few children and taught them all how to sail so, it’s always been naturally in my family.

My Grandad and Grandmother raced together and then my Grandad represented Ireland in the Olympics, which is all very cool! So yeah, it’s been a strong part of our family and my parent’s realities as well.

It’s just been a natural part of my life.

Can you tell us about your earliest memories on the ocean? Would it have been when you were a child?

Oh gosh! Yeah, I mean I would’ve been really, really young. I would have been a baby the first time I was on a boat!

The first time I remember sailing? Probably more when I was six or seven, that’s the first time I can remember being on a sail boat, but I was definitely on them when I was much, much younger.

Those working on yachts always seem to have some wild stories to tell, so what would you say have been some of your most memorable moments from sailing, either with or without guests on board?

I’ve done some pretty cool things. Without guests, I think maybe it’s not wild or strange, but I did work up in Alaska for a season and I remember whales feeding around us for hours. That was a very humbling experience and a different perspective from the ‘crazy’ guests; I felt very, very lucky to be involved with something like that.

With regards to crazy guests or anything, I haven’t really had any. For me it’s just part of the job and what you do and, even before yachting, working in hotels and events, everything just feels normal. So I don't really have any crazy experiences so, I think the things with travelling and seeing animals like whales…

One of my Dad’s favourite stories from when we were in Alaska, we went up a big glacier and got ice from the glacier, took it home and had margaritas with ice from the glacier! These sort of experiences you just can’t make up. They were all really, really cool.

Obviously working on a yacht is close quarters in the real world! So what was it like having these extra bodies on deck in the form of the Below Deck filming team?

It was definitely challenging and interesting, as you said. These boats are big, but they’re not that big! So that was definitely an extra obstacle but, they’re really great at their job, they’ve been doing it a while and they know how to stay out of the way.

We’re just so busy that they really are awesome, they just move and we don’t have to worry about them too much, but it was an extra factor; just not too much there. They didn’t want to interrupt our job as much as possible so, it wasn’t too bad.

It was a bit strange and at first you kind of worry about them, but then you’re tired and don’t really care, so long as you can keep going with your job and try not to worry about it too much.

We did see a coronavirus scare early on in the season, in Episode 3. How has the industry had to adapt to the pandemic?

Yeah, it’s been pretty difficult for everyone in this industry and having to work around it. I think we’re a little lucky in the sense that, first it was a big scare and a lot of people lost their jobs which was very unfortunate but, we’ve been able to adapt a little easier as we’re in almost a bubble-style system anyway.

You’re out at sea for weeks and it’s easier to keep away from the public than it is for other people; we don’t have to commute to work and things like this. So, I think we’ve adapted reasonably well and luckily with us being essential workers, we have flight extensions and these sorts of things.

So overall, like everybody we just adapted and got to grasp with it. Because we’re not interacting with the public we don't have to wear masks and things like that; we’re just in our own bubble system. It’s still a work in progress, different boats have different protocols but, we’re a bit luckier than other industries that have been effected.

Captain Glenn [Shephard] seems like one of the nicest people in yachting! What was he like to work with this season?

He is! He’s so nice. He really is what he seems like on the screen, he’s just very relaxed, does his job, doesn’t like to micro-manage; a really good person to be around. Not only is he relaxed and keeps to himself, he’s actually very funny and can make people laugh. He’s just lovely. A very approachable, very diplomatic Captain and I loved working with him.

In the past Below Deck fans have seen Chief Stews and their Stews get on great; we’ve seen them fighting and get involved in drama; which direction are you and your Stews heading in moving forward this season?

As a team, we don't get involved in drama, the three of us! I loved my girls. We really had a very strong team. Dani [Soares] was an incredible Second Stew and Alli [Dore] was a great green Stew; even though she was green to this industry, she had a lot of initiative and worked very hard, and was just very pleasant to be around.

The three of us were a great team; I’d work with them any day! There was no drama with us but, I can’t speak for the rest of the crew! Us three? We were great, we were fine!

Moving on to those others! Chef Natasha (De Bourg) wasn’t too happy when you went to Captain about the mistake with the poached eggs. How would you describe your relationship with her to this point?

Me and Natasha are fine. The whole eggs thing, it’s funny how much it got blown up! That to me was not ratting on someone; if I wanna rat on you I’m gonna have a meeting, make a formal complaint; that was literally just… I have various relationships with my Captains and part of that is communicating and constantly letting them know what’s going on so that nothing’s a shock and, that’s genuinely what it was.

I was frustrated but that wasn’t me trying to get her in trouble, that was me going ‘this might come up’.

I think me and Natasha, we’re fine. We both knew what was happening, it’s not a shock! So I’m not really upset like ‘Natasha doesn’t like me!’, we’re not stupid. So there’s no hard feelings. We’re completely fine with each other and, I kinda laugh. I think it’s kinda funny. It is what it is, but I didn’t actually mean to go up… That wasn’t ‘I’m gonna get Natasha in trouble!’

We saw you struggling to find some common ground with Gary [King] when you mentioned that the exterior team could help out inside when they weren’t busy. Why do you think that is?

That’s a bit of a weird one as well. Unfortunately, when you watch the show you only know a very small part of our industry so, there’s a lot of backlash but, it’s a known thing in the industry that the Stews are busier during charter, and the deck crew help and then off charter, the deck are busier so the Stews help. As you’re seeing such a small part it looks like we don’t help but of course we help, just not during charter.

Gary knows this. I have no idea why he didn’t wanna help. It was not something I was used to and, whether I handled it the right way or not, I don’t know, maybe not. I’m used to very helpful deck crew. The deck crew were really helpful. I think they unfortunately got a bit roadblocked by Gary so, my problem wasn’t with the others, it was with Gary.

I don’t know why he didn’t… I just think he genuinely doesn’t like washing dishes. I don’t like washing dishes either but, they’ve gotta be washed!

With the frustrations that you see on the show, it was because often it was when they were sitting down. I didn’t go to them when they were cleaning or doing water sports, or if they were in bed having a break. It was when they were sitting down and when Gary was messing around in the laundry room, or when they went out for a cigarette.

When Gary says his team has no breaks, you are all legally obliged to take breaks and hours of rest, correct?

Yes. So, it’s a common theme for some reason with deck crew and interior. We do have to take our hours of rest; what you do in them is up to you but they are legally there.

Stews for some reason, I think because we physically work so hard during charter, are very good about taking those breaks. I’m very strict with my Stews about taking them, they go down and have their naps.

The deck, it’s not just Gary but on a lot of boats, like to go for cigarettes, hang out in the crew mess, which is absolutely fine but, it’s not a great thing to do because you also have the Chief Stew or the Captain or something, asking for help because they presume you have free time.

So, Gary didn’t work 19 hours straight, that’s a complete exaggeration if I’ve ever heard one, but he also did choose not to go to his cabin and rest. It was more hanging out in the crew mess but it never works. You need to remove yourself, go to your cabin and, take a nap.

There’s the legal requirement from, dare I say it! Maritime law.

Barrie [Drewitt-Barlow], one of your guests has spoken out online. He said he’s not happy with one of the scenes on the show, how his relationship has been portrayed and singled you out in particular. Would you like to respond to that?

I have seen it. I mean, what can you say, it’s on Google? I don’t really know what to say. They were a really nice family, I had no issues with them at the end and they were definitely challenging, but I liked them all a lot. That’s all that matters in the family, but, that’s not really my problem that that’s on Google.

I think he said I picked the ‘most clickbait’ story and, you know, yeah I didn’t click on The Independent, because it wasn’t on there, it was on the MailOnline so it probably was clickbait!

Finally then, away from the show in particular, what advice do you have for those who want to move into yachting and make a career out of it?

The industry’s great. I absolutely love it and I’m happy to help anybody looking to get into the industry. The series depicts one very small part of what we do and it’s not for the faint-hearted. It’s quite a physically and mentally-challenging job. To get the job, you are put through the paces and you either make it or you don’t.

Just network and graft and keep going for months, and eventually you’ll meet the right person at the right time who’s willing to give you a job. It’s definitely not easy going into the industry, but it’s a great way to see the world and meet incredible people.

Anybody who wants to do it, you can do it so, go out there and do what you have to do!

Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2 is available to stream on hayu now, with new episodes dropping on Tuesdays.

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