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Captain Sandy Yawn has worked with so many crew members in her five seasons of Below Deck Mediterranean so far, and she still keeps tabs on many of the yachties even when they are no longer working together, texting them or reaching out after they post major updates on Instagram, she shared during an interview with Bravo Insider in June.
One of those former crew members is, of course, João Franco, whom Captain Sandy saw potential in when he first joined her crew as a deckhand in Season 3. Captain Sandy later promoted João to bosun in Season 4 and even helped him get his first captain job when that charter season in the South of France came to a close.
João would go on to work as a captain following Below Deck Med Season 4, where he was at the helm of a 30-meter yacht for about a year-and-a-half. Just this past April, João successfully passed his officer of the watch exam and is working on a boat out of Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Captain Sandy told Bravo Insider what it was like seeing João advance in his yachting career after Below Deck Med. "That’s great," she shared. "I encourage all crew, if they really want a career in a maritime crew, they should all pursue that."
She went on to similarly shout out current Below Deck Med bosun Malia White and alum Bugsy Drake for their continued success in the industry. Malia had been working on a boat in Mallorca, but is now recovering in Florida following a recent scooter accident. After releasing her first book, The Art of Tablescaping: Deck Out Your Table with the Queen of Theme, this spring, Bugsy is still serving up dinnertime decor inspo on her Instagram. "They’re still in yachting," Captain Sandy said of Malia and Bugsy. "For me, it’s like, it’s the best industry on the planet as far as I’m concerned."
Captain Sandy also complimented Wes Walton for his "incredible" recent work in the industry. The Season 2 bosun is now a chief officer (3000 GT), according to his Instagram bio, and he was recently nominated for an industry award honoring his work as a first officer. After working on a vessel in Singapore earlier this year, Wes is now in the Mediterranean.
However, Captain Sandy has been particularly impressed with all that Season 2 deckhand Max Hagley has accomplished since his time on Below Deck Med. "Max could not tie a line. Did you know that Max practically is a first officer on a vessel?" Captain Sandy revealed to Bravo Insider, adding that he has been living and working aboard "a smaller vessel" these days. "He does everything, and he’s based in Spain."
Earlier this year, Max also showed his appreciation for Captain Sandy, calling her a "fantastic soul" while sending the warmest birthday wishes. "I love the way you look at life and the positive attitude you have towards EVERYTHING!" Max captioned a throwback photo of himself and Captain Sandy in a post on Instagram on February 23.
Captain Sandy confirmed to Bravo Insider that Max is the past crew member whose success in the yachting industry has surprised her the most, because when he joined her crew as a green deckhand, "he was not a boat guy," she recalled. "He’s advanced from a guy, to me, from a guy who couldn’t secure a line — and I didn’t realize that until I watched the show — to someone who’s actually doing all [the] jobs that a bosun and a first officer [do]," Captain Sandy said, recalling what she has heard from Max during their recent conversations.
Not to mention, Captain Sandy is also a fan of Max on a personal level. "Yeah, I love that guy," she said. "And he’s so funny, his personality. I would love to have him back on board."
Want more Below Deck Med? Season 6 airs Mondays at 9/8c on Bravo with early access to new episodes on Peacock.
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