Below Deck Season 11 Premiere Recap: Anchors Awry

Below Deck Season 11 premiere recap
Photo by: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo via Getty Images

Welcome to the Below Deck Season 11 premiere! In this week’s episode, called “New Capt, New Rules,” not only is there a new captain on board, but there’s a whole new crew. Captain Kerry takes over the helm and realizes he has a crew that needs whipping into shape. The new bosun makes an error that could have led to disaster (and he should have known better). And the new chef needs to pick up the pace. Here are some of the highlights from Below Deck Season 11, Episode 1.

There’s a new sheriff captain in town

Below Deck Season 11 premiere
Photo: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

The show opens with Captain Kerry piloting his own speedboat toward the yacht. “I was born for this life,” he tells us. “Adventure and danger for me is just another day … The easiest part of being a captain is driving the boat. The hard part’s the crew.”

Kerry’s worked on yachts all over the world, but this is his first time in Grenada. “Grenada’s a stunning location, but it’s very, very challenging. The winds are incredible. [There are] a lot of reefs in the area, many of them aren’t marked. It’ll slice you open like a tin can. This is not going to be a pleasure cruise, but I like it that way.”

Once everyone’s checked in, Captain Kerry calls a crew meeting in the Sky Lounge. At the top of his list is his crew’s physical safety and mental health. “But don’t take my kindness for weakness,” he adds. “I will f*ckin’ turn in a heartbeat if you start taking the piss.” In other words, Captain Kerry better not catch you messing around and not doing your job.

“You work hard, you’ll be rewarded,” he adds. “You f*ck around, you’re off the boat.” Seems fair. The first charter starts tomorrow, so it’s time to get the boat in order.

Preparing for the first charter

Below Deck Season 11 premiere recap
Photo: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

When provisions arrive on the dock, everyone helps carry the groceries into the galley. But Chef Anthony gets to put everything away. It’s a lot of work, and storage is spread all over the boat.

“Come on, Anthony,” he pep-talks himself. “Because we can, and if we can we f*ckin’ do.” He’s got to find places to store all the food, and then be able to remember where he put it. He’s running up and down the stairs to the below-deck storage. It’s kind of exhausting.

“In my restaurant in France,” he says, “it was, like, 18 employees. So I can just work, work, work, work, and be a chef and stay in the kitchen. As a yacht chef, you are the only one. You know? It’s all over the place. I gotta, like, run to the bottom, to the top, go back up to the galley … Maybe it’s not too late to run, Anthony.”

Meanwhile, Captain Kerry wants to be sure everything is perfect for the charter guests. So he makes a quick tour, alongside Jared and Fraser, to see how things are coming along. He even looks inside the toilets in the guest cabins to make sure they’re clean. That’s a pretty detailed inspection.

“I can’t run the entire boat by myself,” Kerry admits. “A good crew can make a bad captain look good. And a bad crew can make a good captain look bad.” In the end, he tells Fraser, “I’m very happy. I think the guests will be as well.”

Chain of fools

Below Deck Season 11 premiere
Photo: Bravo

Once the guests are settled, it’s time to leave the dock. Reaching their anchorage, Captain Kerry tells Lead Deckhand Ben, “We’ll get the first shot [of the anchor chain] out fast. Then we’ll decide how much more we’re gonna put out.”

“Thanks, Cap,” Ben says and heads out the door. But apparently, he fails to convey this information to Bosun Jared who puts two and a half shots in the water.

When Jared tells the captain he’s dropped two and a half shots, Kerry swears, “Sh*t,” under his breath. He radios back, “I asked for one shot when I was talking with Ben … One shot, not two and a half.”

Jared radios back, “I apologize. I did not receive that transmission … I should have asked.”

“If I haven’t [told you how much chain to put out],” Kerry continues, “you need to ask me. Let’s start pulling up some chain. There’s too much chain out.”

But Ben tells Kyle a different story. “I was going to do the anchor,” he says. “But then, Jared comes down and he’s like, ‘I’m gonna go do the anchor.’ And now he’s blaming me.”

Meanwhile, Captain Kerry says, “I’m worried we just dumped everything on top of the anchor.” That could cause a problem if the anchor gets caught in the chain … [If] the boat moves back, it can dislodge the anchor. You drag that anchor, you hit the rocks, someone’ll get hurt. Thankfully, you can correct it … [But] it makes us look like amateur hour.”

Eventually Jared radios, “That’s one shot at the water line … straight up and down.”

The captain tells him, “All right, let’s lock it down there.” But Jared’s gonna hear more about this later, you can be sure. This conversation is not over.

Miscommunication corrected

Below Deck Season 11 premiere
Photo: Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

While the guests are enjoying lunch, Jared and Ben are down in the laz recapping the anchor issue.

“I thought he was gonna tell me over the radio when I was dropping it,” Jared says, “how many shots, but…“

“Yeah, thanks for throwing me under the bus, though,” Ben responds.

“What do you mean?” Jared asks.

“When he said, ‘I told Ben one shot…”

“I didn’t hear that,” Jared says.

Ben reminds him that he said, “I didn’t get that info.”

“My bad, bro!” a shocked Jared answers. “I didn’t hear ‘Ben’ at all!”

In an interview, Ben clarifies, “I didn’t tell Jared to drop one shot. But if you’re ever on the bow, ready to drop the anchor, you check in with the bridge on how [much anchor to drop]. He should know that. Maybe he’s nervous, I’m trying to give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s Charter One. We’re just getting all the cobwebs out.”

Tears in the galley

Below Deck Season 11 premiere
Photo: Bravo

“I’m really impressed by [Anthony’s] food,” Fraser interviews. “However, the galley looks like a bomb’s gone off!” Who’s gonna clean that up? In the end, he sends Cat to help Cheffie clean up.

While the guests are entertained, Captain Kerry decides to do another walk-through of the boat. Wow. People think Captain Sandy’s a micro-manager! This guy’s doing toilet inspections.

“Interior, interior,” he radios. “Can I have someone, please, down [in the] starboard aft cabin?” Uh oh. Did he find more smudges on the mirror?

Turns out somebody forgot to do the fancy fold on the toilet paper. But the rest is “quite pretty.” Whew! I was scared for them for a minute.

While Cat’s still trying to get the galley straightened up, Barbie is giving her little tasks and has her running up and down the stairs doing her bidding. Finally, Cat tells Barbie that Fraser told her to get this galley cleaned up for Chef, so she can’t help her right now.

Barbie says, “Fine,” and walks away. But then she does a very passive aggressive interview about how Cat’s “so slow … Pick it up, girl.”

Cat’s feeling the pressure and after Fraser tells her she can take a break, he finds her crying in the crew mess. “You okay?” he asks her. “What’s wrong, darling?”

She tells him she’s just feeling overwhelmed and exhausted, and he assures her she’s doing fine and there’s just a learning curve. He gives her a hug and tells her to enjoy her break. He says she should go up on the deck and get some air before going back to work.

Running back up the stairs, he mutters to himself, “She’s not gonna last.”

Dinner disaster

Below Deck Season 11 premiere
Photo: Bravo

Dinner is running late. The guests are at the table, but Chef’s still putting the finishing touches on his food.

“Maybe it’s because I am French,” he says. “It’s in my culture. But perfection [is] very important for me … It’s like with a woman, you need to take your time, you know? If you wanna make her happy, and so with food, I guess it’s the same.”

Fraser’s stressing. Dinner was scheduled for 8:00. It’s now 9:50 and the entrée has yet to be served. Captain Kerry is observing from the doorway of the galley. That’s got to be stressful.

“Welcome to Hell,” Anthony jokes.

Finally, the guests receive their main course at 10:22. A graphic on the screen tells us it’s been an hour and 22 minutes since the last course. This doesn’t bode well for Chef Anthony.

A little later, Captain Kerry is on the bridge listening to the radio chatter. Fraser is asking Chef if he can speed up the next course. Ben is asking if Jared has the list of things Kyle needs for tomorrow. Cat is asking Barbie for help, but Barbie puts her off.

Kerry admits he’s just getting to know everybody. “The jury’s still out, but I’ll change you out if you can’t do your job.” I’m sure he will.

Below Deck airs Mondays at 8/7c on Bravo.