‘Below Deck’ Season 8 Cast: Who Returned for Season 9 and Are Any Crew Still in Yachting?

Only three crew returned for season 9 from the Below Deck Season 8 cast. Once again, Captain Lee Rosbach is at the helm, despite being initially sidelined. Also returning is first mate Eddie Lucas. Lucas received a promotion from bosun to first mate toward the end of season 8. Plus, chef Rachel Hargrove returns for her second season on the series. But what about the rest of the cast? Where are they now and did any of the season 8 crew stay in yachting?

‘Below Deck’ Season 8 cast stews pivoted to fitness

Chief stew Francesa Rubi returned to Australia when season 8 came to a sudden halt due to the pandemic. She got in some surfing and fitness and recently shared that she is studying to become a certified Pilates instructor. “I am so excited to share that I am studying to become a Pilates Instructor,” she shared in April. “For the last two years I have been practising Pilates and I have seen my body change to a leaner, lighter and stronger body.”

Below Deck Season 8 cast returning for season 9: Captain Lee Rosbach, Chef Rachel Hargrove, and Eddie Lucas
Below Deck Season 8 cast returning for season 9: Captain Lee Rosbach, Chef Rachel Hargrove, and Eddie Lucas |Laurent Basset/Bravo

Close friend and second stew Ashling Lorger is also a skilled surfer and has shown off some surf shots on Instagram. She’s spent her time off the show traveling and using her Instagram to become an influencer. But like Rubi, Lorger lives in Australia which was in lockdown for a considerable period of time.

Elizabeth Frankini filmed a romantic comedy

Third stew Elizabeth Frankini acted in a romantic short. “This weekend we are finally going to film ‘They Prefer Richards’ – a short romantic dramedy about learning your lesson the hard way,” she shared on Instagram in Dec. She also spent time partying in South Florida and connecting with other Below Deck crew members. Frankini was fired only hours before the last charter of the season, which never occurred due to the pandemic.

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She also famously shaded Captain Lee Rosbach after she read his blogs and his assessment of how she handled her job. “I just want to say that Captain Lee, he’s miserable and judgmental,” Frankini told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in Feb 2021. “And after living through this experience like I wouldn’t want to work with him again either. He’s completely checked out, which is understandable.” 

The ‘Below Deck’ Season 8 deck team stayed on land

The deck team seemed to remain on land after Below Deck. Shane Coopersmith, who admitted he only went on the show to raise awareness about climate change continues with his mission. In addition to doing a little surfing and showing some pretty impressive skateboarding moves, Coopersmith continues to post videos about sustainability to engage with his 6,526 Instagram followers.

James Hough also seemed to be staying closer to home after Below Deck. He shared photos on Instagram of being with family and friends, so it appears he too is taking a break from yachting. Rob Phillips, who joined the deck team after Coopersmith was fired, continued with his global adventures. He claimed that he was unable to make it to the reunion because he had no cell service in the Fiji jungle where he was staying and a storm was coming. But since then he’s shared photos and videos from the Caribbean and British Columbia.

Isabelle “Izzy” Wouters, who became lead deckhand on the series, also got the travel bug and did more exploring on land. Like other Below Deck alum, she’s become interested in van life and is thinking about investing in a van home someday. She’s also been on a safari and shared gorgeous shots from her adventure.

The only crew member who may still be in yachting is Avery Russell, the promising deckhand who left for a family emergency before the first charter. Russell’s few Instagram posts show him on a boat with hashtags, “yacht life.”

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Below Deck Season 9 premiers on Monday, Oct. 25 at 9/8c on Bravo.