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Captain Lee Says an Emotional Goodbye to the Crew, But Will Return Later this Season (UPDATED)
Before temporarily departing St. David and handing the reins to Captain Sandy Yawn, Captain Lee gave his crew a heartfelt speech.
UPDATED (December 21, 11:22 A.M.): Captain Lee expressed his gratitude for Captain Sandy in an interview with PEOPLE. "That's a very difficult situation that I put her in," he said. "You're taking over somebody else's boat and somebody's else's crew. That's hard enough as it is — now add on top of it the fact that you're also filming a TV show ... I recognize how hard that is."
Captain Lee continued, "The fact that she was willing to jump in; that she sucked it up and came on board and did what I asked her to do? I owe her big time for that. For her to step forward and take it on says a lot about her."
The original story continues below.
Addressing Fraser Olender, Ross McHarg, Hayley De Sola Pinto, Rachel Hargrove, Alissa Humber, Camille Lamb, Luis Antonio “Tony” Duarte, Katie Glaser, and Ben Willoughby, Captain Lee explained, “As you know, I’ve been struggling with my mobility. So I made a decision to leave the boat. My mind’s there, my heart’s there, my body just won’t cooperate. I’ve never quit… [but] this time I have to.”
In true Captain Lee fashion, he made sure to throw in a joke about giving himself “a plane ticket home.” The only difference between his and those that have actually been handed out before? “It’s round trip,” he said. “I’m gonna go back to the States, get this straightened out, and as soon as I do, I’ll be on the first plane back here and tell whoever’s on board to get the f--k off my boat.”
Reflecting on his inability to get around the St. David even with crutches or a cane, Captain Lee went on to apologize to the crew as he believed he “probably overstayed” his time because he’s “pretty f--king stubborn.”
Leaving, however, is “the right decision,” Captain Lee added in a confessional. “I am no longer an asset; I am a liability right now for the crew. I’m gonna hold them back. And that hurts. That cuts me right to my core. It’s brutal.”
“I’m big on always doing the right thing, no matter how difficult it is,” he continued. “That’s what I preach to the crew. If I’m not going to do it myself, I don’t have any right to say that to somebody else.”
And while the decision was indeed difficult for the captain, Below Deck fans can rest easy knowing that he comes back later this season. “I will put in the work. I will deal with the pain,” he said. “I am going to come back and finish what I started.”