‘Below Deck’: Captain Lee’s New Chief Stew Reminds Fans of a Familiar Yachtie

Below Deck kicked off its eighth season, but a much-loved cast member was missing. Captain Lee Rosbach is taking on the seas with a new crew this year, sans longtime chief stew Kate Chastain. Chastain had been with Lee for six years prior to her departure, and Lee said on the show’s premiere that her replacement has “big shoes to fill.”

The show opened by introducing Francesca Rubi as Chastain’s replacement — but fans can’t help but liken her to another familiar yachtie.

'Below Deck' chief stew Francesca Rubi
‘Below Deck’ chief stew Francesca Rubi | Watch What Happens Live With Andy Cohen/YouTube

Kate Chastain left ‘Below Deck’ after six seasons

Chastain had become a large part of the Below Deck image she was as important to fans as Captain Lee. But in February 2020, Chastain announced that she would officially be retiring from yachting. Chastain said after the season 7 reunion that she was “starting to carve out a progressive new land-based role” in the industry, mimicking Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s announcement of their royal departure. Fans were shocked, but Lee was also taken aback by her decision.

“That was out of left field,” Lee said in an interview with Hollywood Life. “She let me know that she wasn’t going to come back, but she thought it was time to move on.” Lee called Kate’s departure “bittersweet” and said that he already misses her.

Kate Chastain and Captain Lee Rosbach
Kate Chastain and Captain Lee Rosbach | Karolina Wojtasik/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank

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Fans think Francesca Rubi resembles ‘Below Deck Med’ star Hannah Ferrier

Chastain’s replacement is a woman named Francesca Rubi, who hails from Australia, and Lee was right in saying that she has a lot to live up to in terms of outshining the great Kate. But Rubi wasn’t on the show a few minutes before fans were saying she reminds them of someone else: Below Deck Med star Hannah Ferrier. Fans took to social media to express the similarities between the two.

“I think Francesca sounds a lot like Hannah,” one user wrote under an Instagram photo. Others felt she was a perfect combination of Hannah and Kate. “How did y’all get a Hannah/Kate mix as the chief stew this season … She’s Kannah!!” another person commented. “Francesca may sound like Hannah but she sure works harder by far,” someone else wrote.

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People are content with Chastain’s replacement — so far

After the show’s first episode, people generally seem to have good things to say about Rubi. The consensus on Twitter and Instagram was that she certainly sounds like Ferrier, but her work ethic more closely resembles Chastain. Fans are willing to give Rubi a chance, and Lee said that she “seems confident” in her new role.

Still, fans miss Chastain, with some brainstorming ideas as to how she can remain with Bravo. “You should do a show that has [Chastain] opening a training school to be chief stew,” someone wrote on Instagram. It’s unclear if Chastain will ever make another Bravo appearance, but who knows — maybe she’ll grow tired of a life on land.