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Colin MacRae Opens Up About the “Dramas” in His Life Outside of Below Deck Sailing Yacht
Here’s where you might have seen Parsifal III’s chief engineer prior to Below Deck Sailing Yacht.
Colin MacRae joined the Parsifal III crew in Season 2 of Below Deck Sailing Yacht as the vessel's new chief engineer. But that was hardly his first time in front of a camera.
In 2018, Colin began chronicling his adventures in working to repair a catamaran that had been damaged during Hurricane Irma on his YouTube channel, Sailing Parlay Revival. And sure, both his YouTube channel and Below Deck Sailing Yacht involve boats and cameras, but that's pretty much where the similarities end, Colin told Bravo Insider during an exclusive interview earlier this season. "It’s just completely different," he said. "When I’m on my boat doing my YouTube channel, I’m choosing what to film and I’m choosing what to show. On Below Deck, you have no control over what they choose to show and what they film even."
There's also the fact that Colin has to literally give up the helm to Captain Glenn Shephard on Below Deck Sailing Yacht, whereas he's the captain of Parlay Revival. "It’s a huge adjustment. It’s a big deal. Like, on my boat, we as a crew decide where to go and for how long, and who we bring on as crew and even who we let go as crew on the boat. I'm the captain," Colin said. "And then when I go on Below Deck, I've got to take orders and respect guests, and it's just a totally different environment."
But if Colin has to take orders from someone, at least it's Captain Glenn. "Oh, man, like no joke, he is a phenomenal guy to work for. He doesn't demand respect; he just kind of earns it. On the show, it looks like we don't have a lot of respect for him, in a way, like we just party so much and whatnot," Colin said. "But there's this line that we try to steer clear of, and he's very lenient. It's kind of like he gives maximum freedom, but we have to take full responsibility for whatever we do. I really adapt well to that leadership style."
It also helps that Captain Glenn is "hilarious," which fans may not get the full effect of just by watching Below Deck Sailing Yacht, according to Colin. "He is honestly just cracking jokes the entire time. The number of times that he’s got the entire crew in stitches," Colin said. "He could be a stand-up comedian, he’s that funny. Like, it’s just nonstop."
Colin did note a couple of similarities between working on the Parsifal III and Parlay, such as the "small living space" and the occasional bit of conflict. "There are dramas on my boat as well, for sure. We're just not filming it 24 hours a day," he added. "If we had cameras rolling on here 24 hours a day, it would be its own Bravo series, I think."
Though we've heard Colin admit to grabbing the proverbial popcorn when conflict breaks out on the Parsifal III, the chief engineer said he tries "to stay out of the drama as much as possible" on the show. "I didn't really go into there wanting to be part of the drama, and I managed to stay out of it," he told Bravo Insider. "So for the most part, I was really happy with how the season went, and watching it was really enjoyable."
One reason Colin doesn't seem to find himself in dramatic situations like some of his Below Deck Sailing Yacht crewmates is perhaps because he had a girlfriend for both seasons. Prior to Season 3, Colin began dating Silvia Latini. "She's from Italy. We've been together for like a year, and we did the long-distance thing while I was on the show and came back together. And she's now in Panama with me and standing around on my boat," Colin told Bravo Insider. "She's been supportive of the whole Below Deck thing, and you need that when you're out there and amongst all that activity on the boat."
We've seen so many long-distance couples struggle over the years on Below Deck, but Colin shared how he and Silvia were able to make their relationship work during the charter season. "You've got to have a lot of trust, and you've got to have a lot of respect for each other. The main priority when I go on those jobs is the work, you know? Everything else is secondary to just doing a good job," he said. "So I take it pretty seriously, and some things happened throughout the season that required me to be really on my game. It's a serious job being a chief engineer. It's no joke."
Colin is now able to share his Below Deck Sailing Yacht experience with Silvia as the episodes air, and he recalled what it was like to watch the Season 3 premiere with his girlfriend. "We sat down and enjoyed that," he said. "It’s always just funny watching yourself on television. It's a weird feeling."
What can also be a little odd is having complete strangers recognize you out in public, although Colin already had some experience with that, thanks to his YouTube stardom. "People come up to me on the streets or in marinas or wherever we are and just know my name and start chatting to me, and I never know if they're fans of the YouTube channel or fans of Below Deck," he said. "It takes a while to figure out where they know me from, but I'd say it's about 50/50: Half of them are from YouTube, and half of them are Below Deck fans."
Colin's experience with Parlay Revival has helped him navigate the sometimes choppy waters of being part of the Below Deck Sailing Yacht crew. "We have this big thing [on the YouTube channel] where we just live with no regrets. And, you know, everything happens for a reason. And as we sailed around, we had a whole bunch of catastrophes happen on my boat. We got struck by lightning, had broke bulkheads, and all this stuff," Colin shared. "So I took that attitude onto Below Deck, and I've got no regrets. It all just unfolded exactly how it should, and I enjoyed it."
Colin has so much faith in the "everything happens for a reason" credo because he's witnessed it firsthand, citing a time in 2020 when Parlay Revival was struck by lightning. "I lost like $25,000 worth of electronics on the boat," he said. "It just fried everything, but it all happened for a reason."
After the incident was documented on YouTube, a marine electronics company happened to see the episode and decided to send Colin and his crew new equipment for the catamaran. "Now we've got all upgraded, brand-new electronics on the boat. So what at the time seemed like a horrific accident turned out to be a blessing, because now we have all new gear," Colin shared. "So everything happens for a reason. You just have to take it all in stride."
At the time of his interview with Bravo Insider, Colin was in Panama, having just traveled from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean, his fourth time crossing through the Panama Canal. "It's always just an incredible experience," he said.
This was a crucial moment, as Colin and his crew were getting ready to decide on their next destination. "We did a regatta on the Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean side, and then we just came through the canal, and it's a big week for us, 'cause we're all gonna sit down — I've got six crew at the moment — and make a decision about what we're gonna do next," he said. "So we're gonna look into which countries are open, which countries have strict lockdown rules, and just make our mind up about where we're gonna go next."
The Parlay Revival crew had narrowed it down to two options: crossing the Pacific Ocean to end up in Colin's home country of New Zealand or heading toward Mexico and seeing all the "amazing countries" along the way, such as Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador, according to Colin.
Sailing around the world does have its drawbacks, including making it a little difficult to connect with other members of the Below Deck family. "I chat now and then with the other Colin [Macy-O'Toole]. He's a really, really nice guy. I [hung] out with Bobby [Giancola] and Alex Radcliffe in Fort Lauderdale when I was there," Colin said. "But yeah, not too many. I'm down in Panama in Central America and headed toward either Mexico or New Zealand, so I'm kind of feeling remote compared to all the other guys and the yachties."
After hitting 200,000 subscribers in February, Colin said he's looking forward to growing his YouTube channel as he continues to sail the world on Parlay. "The YouTube channel is all about trying to inspire people to follow their dreams. We went through a lot of hardships, and the boat itself is a hurricane-damaged boat. So by filming all of that and making episodes about it, I think we inspired a lot of other people to follow their dreams and really take on some projects that they may not have otherwise," Colin said. "We just ticked over 200,000 subscribers, and in the next couple of years I hope to think that we're coming up around a million subscribers and inspiring the world."
If Colin's life sounds pretty amazing to you, well, he wouldn't disagree. "It's mind-blowing, and we started with nothing. We had no experience editing videos. I didn't even have an Instagram account. It was just a pipe dream, and then we just stuck at it, weekly episodes every Sunday, and grew this audience. And if you think about an audience with 200,000 people in front of you, that's a lot of people, so we're so grateful and thankful for everything that's unfolded," he said. "But the future is pretty exciting."
Want more Below Deck Sailing Yacht? New episodes air every Monday at 8/7c.
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