Bravo channel addicts were happy to see Below Deck Mediterranean come back for a second season with an almost all-new cast, including captain Sandy Yawn.
With over 27 years’ yachting experience, Capt. Sandy has commanded yachts from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf. One of only a handful of female captains in the yachting industry, she has overcome the stereotype and conquered every imaginable obstacle at sea — from being chased by pirates to containing major fires on board. This undeniable resilience has helped tremendously in pushing her to the top of the industry.
Sandy’s guests always come first and she will do everything in her power to satisfy their every need. She expects perfection from her crew and demands seven-star service. She’s a proud supporter of the Jacksonville School for Autism and is involved in many other organizations focused on helping children. It was a pleasure to sit down with this Floridian, who is a proud member of the LGBT community, for this Hotspots exclusive interview:
Q: Do you remember the first time you were on a boat and the first time you were on a yacht?
A: I don’t, but I know that it was a sailing yacht. I was meant to wash, polish and clean the teak. It was hard work, but I loved it because it was outside on the water. I grew up on boats, we fished, water skied and played pos the water every weekend. My mom and dad loved to fish!
Q: At what age did you realize you wanted to be a captain?
A: I was working on a boat and the job was to get the boat ready. That meant clean the interior and wash the exterior. I worked all positions except the captain position! I thought, ‘all he does is drive the boat, I can do that!’ I always knew I could inspire and lead people and wanted that job.
Q: How does it feel to be one of only a handful of captains that are female?
A: It feels great to be a captain and at the same time very disproportionate! We need more females on deck. But I love being a trendsetter and pioneer and an example for women. We can achieve whatever we set our minds and hearts to do.
Q: What has been your favorite charter of all time?
A: I had a one month charter departing from Antibes (a resort town between Cannes and Nice on the French Riviera) traveling to Venice Italy, Croatia with a final destination of Greece.
Q: What is the oddest thing that has happened on a charter?
A: Some things we just can’t speak of, we are like the three monkeys: “See no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil!” What happens at sea stays at sea, but with that said once we had a client who wanted my crew to join him in his cabin!
Q: How did it feel to get cast on Below Deck Mediterranean?
A: I was a little worried at first because I take my job, reputation and career seriously and was worried my colleagues and peers in the business would think I sold out to Hollywood. I quickly realized that I just needed to do my job with cameras, and that television is an amazing platform for me to inspire and empower women.
Q: Why do you think you have been so successful as a captain?
A: I am a team player, I treat crew like people. I was once a crew member and worked my way from the bilge to the bridge. Most crew today start as a junior on deck or in the interior and don’t get the benefit I did working with one owner doing all the jobs. I know what it takes and always look at the big picture. Today, I have the experience and wisdom and have pretty much seen and done it all. I also believe I have an aura of calm and control that makes people feel safe.
Q: What would people be surprised to know about you?
A: On my days off I go boating! And I may be a bad-ass but also have a loving, soft side that people don’t see.
Q: What’s ahead for Captain Sandy?
A: Wow, I have no idea! I just live one day at a time and roll where life sends me! I’m living one day at a time, with a lot of gratitude, and am very excited for the future.
Below Deck Mediterranean airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo.