"Ship's about to hit the fan," to quote Captain Sandy Yawn, on the latest season of Below Deck Mediterranean. The Below Deck spinoff follows yacht charters in the most lavish of European cities, and this year, the yachties are taking the French Riviera. Below Deck Med will welcome chef Mila Kolomeitseva, new deckhands Jack Stirrup and Travis Michalzik, and new stews Anastasia Surmava and Aesha Scott.
But it'll also see the return of Chief Stew Hannah Ferrier, recently promoted bosun Joao Franco, deckhand Colin Macy-O'Toole, and of course, the beloved Captain Sandy.
But who is Captain Sandy, what is her net worth, and does Captain Sandy have a girlfriend? Read on for the answers to those questions and more.
Captain Sandy's impressive bio came long before her Below Deck fame.
Fort Lauderdale native Captain Sandy is one of only a handful of female captains in yachting today. Which should come as a surprise to no one who's seen the show and knows how misogynist and sexist the industry is.
See, for example, any time the female deckhands get asked to work on the interior, or every single time the crew address the captain simple as "Sandy," which would never fly with Captain Lee. But breaking the glass ceiling of yachting isn't the only thing Captain Sandy has accomplished in her 30 years of experience.
She's also beat cancer and a life-threatening motorcycle incident, not to mention the time she was chased by pirates in the Red Sea. How is she so resilient and how does she manage to keep her cool?
"I choose not to come from a place of power and control and it really, really works," she says.
"I like to empower my crew to be the best they can be ... I lead by showing the crew what I expect, not telling them what to do," she continued in an interview with Bravo. "When I am pushed, I don't push back, I navigate."
Captain Sandy has also recently had to navigate the waters of having her relationship made public.
Does Captain Sandy have a girlfriend?
It wasn't too long ago that Captain Sandy was looking for love in Los Angeles, where she lived before relocating to Denver "for love."
"It's hard to have a relationship being a yacht captain," she told Bravo in May 2018. "I want someone who wakes up happy, just is happy to be alive."
"Someone who wants to live, wants to experience, wants to travel, wants to try different restaurants, wants to go see shows," she continued. "And I love music. Someone who loves concerts because I am a concertgoer."
We're delighted her wishes were answered. Captain Sandy just announced her relationship with gospel singer Leah Shafer.
The couple met in November and struck up a conversation on Facebook. "She sent me a nice message that said, ‘I came across your show, congratulations, many blessings,'” Captain Sandy told Cheat Sheet. Captain Sandy learned that Leah was a gospel singer and says that she knew she was The One the minute they met.
Leah, who's the mother to a 13-year-old daughter, added, “It just happened, when you meet another soul that you connect with at such a deep level, it is unexplainable and so beautiful.”
But she's been receiving hate mail since declaring her relationship.
Shortly after Captain Sandy's interview with Cheat Sheet, she took to Twitter to write, "After the Cheat Sheet article about my relationship with Leah Shafer, she has been shamed, she is no longer welcome in some churches, oh wait and I'm the devil."
It's devastating that this happy couple is experiencing homophobic backlash, but they're staying positive in the face of adversity. “It’s looked against it, loving the same sex," Leah admitted about her gospel singing community. "I think you can’t help who you fall in love with. God is love. He doesn’t care.”
What's Captain Sandy's net worth and how can you follow her on social media?
If you're a fan of the show, you know that the crew bring in some hefty tips after each charter season. The tips are often in the tens of thousands of dollars, or euros, in the cast of Below Deck Med.
But that's just chump's change compared to what the yacht captains bring in. Yacht captains have to clear a security and background check in addition to having an MMC (Merchant Marine Credential). According Cheat Sheet, Captain Sandy makes anywhere between $120,000 and $210,000 a year.