Below Deck Sailing Yacht's Colin MacRae Reveals What It's Really Like Being Chief Engineer

The Parsifal III crew member demystifies the job we haven't seen much of on Below Deck before.

Colin MacRae Below Deck Sailing Yacht

One of the things that differentiates Below Deck Sailing Yacht from the other Below Deck franchises is that we get to know everyone working aboard the yacht. That includes the chief engineer, who usually doesn't appear on-camera in Below Deck and Below Deck Mediterranean.

Since we haven't really gotten a chance to see the chief engineer in action prior to Below Deck Sailing Yacht, fans might not be as familiar with what it takes to be in this position, as they have with, say, the captain, chef, interior team, and deck crew roles. Luckily, Below Deck Sailing Yacht Season 2's chief engineer Colin MacRae is here to reveal all about what it's really like to hold this position aboard the Parsifal III.

During an Instagram Live chat with fellow Colin, Below Deck Med alum Colin Macy-O'Toole, on March 1, the chief engineer opened up about his background in yachting and what it was like working aboard the Parsifal III for the first time this season of Below Deck Sailing Yacht.

"I've been yachting for 12 years, but that was my first sailing superyacht, so a lot of the systems in that were, like, totally new to me. So, it was quite a big learning curve. We did our quarantine and started the show and basically went straight into charter number one, and I had to learn all the systems on the yacht in, like, a few days. So there was a lot of pressure there," Colin shared. "At the same time, superyachts are all quite similar. Their systems are fairly, when you've been doing it for a while, you've seen most of the things on the boat, so I've gotten quite comfortable."

Having a leader like Captain Glenn Shephard also helped make the transition to a sailing yacht smooth for Colin. "Working for Captain Glenn was just incredible," Colin said. "He is such an amazing human being. I would happily work for him again."

However, being the only engineer on the Parsifal III did take some getting used to. "I've usually had second engineers working for me in the second half of my career, so as the sole engineer on the Parsifal III, there was a little bit more to do, basically," Colin said. "It's quite nice having a second engineer that you can boss around, but it was all me." 

But Colin said that he did work closely with the deck crew, which includes first mate Gary King and deckhands Sydney Zaruba and Jean-Luc Cerza Lanaux. "I ended up spending a lot of time on deck," Colin said. "So you're gonna be seeing a lot of me running around helping the guys."

Colin noted that he felt the pressure "big time" as his first time working on a sailing yacht was documented by cameras this season, which may explain why he — and the rest of the Parsifal III crew — blew off a little steam in between charters. "You know, between charters, there's a lot of partying that goes down, so you're trying to work with a hangover," Colin said. "I've never drunk so much in my entire life than we did in that six weeks."

Even though the Parsifal III yachties weren't able to party on their nights off the same way that we've seen Below Deck crews do in the past due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Colin said that being in a "bubble" during the charter season helped foster a fast camaraderie among the crew. 

"It kind of brought us closer. I think every single one of us still talks that did the season," Colin said. "There were ups and downs, and there were definitely some dramas — a lot of dramas — but we all ended up friends in the end. It was such a great experience."

Want more Below Deck Sailing Yacht? New episodes air every Monday at 9/8c.

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