Kate Chastain and Ashton Pienaar had a pretty harmonious working relationship during Below Deck season six. While Chastain’s return for season seven was no surprise, viewers didn’t necessarily anticipate Pienaar’s.
The show typically maintains the captain and chief stew, while rotating some past, but usually new crew members each season. As the chief stew and deckhand, Chastain and Pienaar seemed to have an amicable relationship last year. They didn’t have any direct drama and, for the most part, Pienaar meshed well with the entire crew.
This year he returns as the bosun. Chastain joked that perhaps he earned that position after his near-fatal drowning last season. While the two had a good season last year, what about this year?
Chastain enjoyed working with Pienaar last season
Chastain and Captain Lee Rosbach discussed the new season on Bravo’s The Daily Dish podcast. The hosts asked about Pienaar’s return and Rosbach said Pienaar is doing well in his new role as bosun. But when it came to how Chastain felt, she was more cryptic. “I really enjoyed working with Ashton last season,” she said. “So I was very excited for him to become bosun because I thought he’d be a great leader.”
She continued, “But a leadership position is more stressful. So, I liked working with Ashton last season.” Rosbach adds, “There’s that telltale pause.” In an earlier interview with ET she talked about the job’s stress. “You know, yachting is just a very stressful situation,” she said. “Close quarters, long hours and some people just can’t make it the whole season for one reason or another.”
While Rosbach and Chastain didn’t go any further, Chastain’s recent tweet about Pienaar may help to fill in the blanks. “Ashton the misogynistic male stripper telling Courtney she’s an old soul is freaking hilarious.” She also shared a photo of the crew, which included Pienaar and joked about how everyone started to hate each other for silly reasons. “Throwback to night 1 before we all started hating each other for nonsense reasons,” she tweeted.
Pienaar may have pushed her to the point of quitting too
Viewers already know there is no love lost between Chastain and chef Kevin Dobson. But the season trailer also shows Chastain and Pienaar getting into a fight where she storms away saying she quits. Rosbach told Bravo’s The Daily Dish that Chastain has never walked off the yacht until now. “Because that’s so out of character for Kate, I’m wondering who pushed that button?” he said. “And wherever that button is, I want to stay the hell away from it, because I was surprised.”
While Chastain didn’t attribute her departure to one person she hinted that crew members were being disrespectful. “This season there’s more drama than most seasons, I think. I didn’t realize it until looking back and saying, ‘Oh my gosh, that happened and that happened,’” she told ET. “And it just got to a point where I felt like the people I was working with were too disrespectful and too much, and I wanted to be out of that situation.”