A learning experience. Below Deck‘s Captain Sandy reflected on her working relationship with Fraser Olender — and revealed that the chief stew was almost let go in season 10.
“There was a moment [where I considered firing him]. Absolutely. Because listen the walls are thin and [it is important to not] jump on their bandwagon. Change that narrative. That’s your role as the superior here,” Sandy, 57, exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, February 27, while promoting her book Be the Calm or Be the Storm: Leadership Lessons. “You’re absolutely responsible for your team. So I didn’t go to the [interior] team members [with my issues]. I went to the chief stew and said, ‘This isn’t happening. You hired them. Fix it.'”
The Florida native continued: “Like, if you need help, ask me. But until then, I stay out of it. I will only help if I see that the client is suffering in service. If I see something going wrong or there’s disharmony on board in my eyes — that’s when I step in.”
During season 10, viewers saw Fraser and Sandy struggle to see eye to eye after she temporarily replaced Captain Lee. After firing Camille Lamb and Alissa Humber, the Below Deck Mediterranean star raised eyebrows when she referred to Fraser as the “cancer” affecting St. David.
“I had cancer and I will say this — I should have chosen different words,” Sandy admitted to Us on Monday. “I’ve been a captain for many years [and] those were the terms we used. So [in terms of] evolving, I would change my terminology for sure. [It was a] bad choice of words.”
The Be the Calm or Be the Storm author addressed what she felt the England native could have done better in the interior.
“We all need humility in our roles. So, humility isn’t [about] being humiliated. It’s just being humble,” she explained. “And Fraser on the bridge admitted to me that he had never done this before. When you’re in that position, I always have an open-door bridge policy. I would’ve helped him and guided him and tried to say, ‘Hey, delegate and let them make mistakes.'”
Sandy noted that Fraser appeared “afraid” in his new role, adding, “I think that was a hard thing for him because in his mind [he thought he was] supposed to know everything. But I don’t wanna take a risk because they don’t know anything. As a captain, I still defer to my team. I don’t know everything about everything. And there’s no shame in that.”
For the Bravo star, it was important to see Fraser learn to take “pride” in learning on the job. “I think Fraser was confused. He really never had that leadership support,” she concluded. “If you just open the doors and let them go figure it out on your own — that doesn’t exist. Then you have what you have.”
Fraser previously discussed how he adapted to Lee’s replacement, telling Us last month, “I think they have, overall, very different management styles. I knew Captain Lee and I knew how he worked. I knew how he liked things to be run. He also trusted me and he gave me the confidence to be creative and enjoy my take on [it].”
At the time, Fraser revealed it “took some time” for him to “get used to” how Sandy ran the boat.
“But equally, she taught me a lot about myself and I think at the end of the season [you’ll] understand what I mean by that,” he shared. “She really opened my eyes to things I previously wouldn’t have dealt with so well — without her making sure I did.”
Onscreen, however, the Below Deck newcomer called out his issues with Sandy before they mended their rift. “Pure rage. I’ve never been in a fight and said, ‘It’s not the right time to speak to me,'” he told cameras in a February 7 episode. “I’ve never felt so sickened by a captain in my entire life. I’m in actual shock.”
Sandy, for her part, has used her new book to share the lessons she learned about leadership throughout her career.
“The fans were asking for a book on leadership, and I thought [I would] just throw a little bit of my personal life in there,” she told Us. “I wanted to show them that you could go from who I used to be [but] that when people invest in other people you can actually change your life and become a super yacht captain. I had no idea that was possible.”
Below Deck airs on Bravo Mondays at 8 p.m. ET. and Sandy’s book Be the Calm or Be the Storm: Leadership Lessons is available now.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi