Ireland’s-own Daisy Kelliher brings something fresh to the Below Deck Saling Yacht cast. The feisty Chief Stew isn’t afraid to tell it like it is or get knee-deep into the drama. She joins the Parsifal III crew with experience under her belt and a legacy of yachties in her family. Confident in her position and abilities, Kelliher runs a tight ship, even if her personality is sometimes at odds with her fellow crewmates. She spoke to us about season 2 and what it’s really like on that boat.
Slice: How did you get into yachting — was it through your family, or was it sparked through a separate interest?
Daisy: It was definitely my dad who encouraged me. I was 18 and figuring out what I wanted to do — he suggested it to me, I was like “no.” [laughs] And because I wanted to travel, he said, “Why don’t you go study hotel management?” Which I did. And then I went and worked in London for two years and it was great, but I wasn’t earning great money — working long hours. And my dad kind of came in again and was like, “I really think you should give this a go. I think you’d really enjoy it.” I figured out what I needed to do and at 25, I went down to the South of France and got myself my first job and I’ve been doing it ever since.
S: What is it about working on a yacht that brings so much drama and romance? Is it like this on all the yachts you’ve worked on?
It’s just such an intense environment — it’s so difficult to describe unless you’re in it. It’s actually not for everybody. It’s either [this or] you work at a big company and you go home at night to your friends or your partner. It’s just a different environment. It is so hard to describe unless you’re in it.
You’re putting 10 people in a boat and you’re making them do everything together. You’re all the same age and you’re probably quite good looking… that’s going to lead to drama.
It’s just such an intense environment — it’s so difficult to describe unless you’re in it.
S: How did you feel sailing in the midst of a pandemic and in such a small space? We’re seeing those issues are popping up throughout the season.
It wasn’t too bad and I’m quite used to staying on boats for long periods of time. I’ve been on boats for three months at a time and barely going ashore — so that wasn’t too unusual. I also know other people, who because of COVID, their owners or the captain didn’t want them to leave the boat; a lot of people have been locked down about things like this. It just didn’t feel unusual at the time. Don’t get me wrong, by the end of it, I was ready to see some different faces.
S: As we’ve seen from the previews, there’s tensions that brew between you and Natasha on the yacht. So what is it about Natasha that rubbed you the wrong way?
I think we both have very strong personalities and we work, in some ways, quite similar — both relaxed and chill — but I also think Natasha is a bit headstrong. Sometimes I think her lines blurred between what the guests wanted and what she wanted to do. I was frustrated by that, especially because it’s my job to communicate what the guest wants — that’s one of my primary roles on the boat. So I think we butted heads and were just frustrated with each other. We did find a way to work with each other. I definitely think we did a great job by the end of it, but it wasn’t about feeling frustrated and pissed off at each other. You know, it’s just normal. It’s just a personality clash.
S: What can we expect from the rest of the season? There’s some people who are wondering if the season can even go on with the pandemic, but what can you tell us?
It just ramps up, and honestly, this is just kind of a taste of what’s to come between COVID, arguing, our relationships, our friendships. We did a great job and everyone came out healthy and happy and we smashed out some awesome chargers, but the first three episodes is honestly just a taste of what’s to come. Oh God, it just escalates from here.
The interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.