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‘Below Deck’ Season 11 Finale Ends With Captain Kerry Having Regrets About Promoting Ben Willoughby

'Below Deck' Season 11 Finale Ends With Captain Kerry Having Regrets About Promoting Ben Willoughby
Ben Willoughby and Kerry Titheradge Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Below Deck‘s Captain Kerry Titheradge had some regrets about making Ben Willoughby the bosun by the time season 11 came to an end.

During the finale, which aired on Tuesday, May 28, Ben tried to make amends after going against Kerry. The previous episode ended with Kerry realizing that Ben and deckhand Kyle Stillie were insubordinate by not cleaning their rooms for a cabin inspection.

“I’ve shown both of you guys respect. I’ve been out there busting my f—king ass to help you guys out. And this is the way you say f—king thank you?” Kerry told the exterior team before adding in a confessional, “This is total disrespect and it does not follow chain of command.”

The captain specifically questioned Ben’s behavior. “I’ve given Ben the opportunity to be a leader and he is failing,” Kerry admitted. “You’re the f—king bosun, mate. You’re going to be up here one day. Go down and get your room sorted out. And if you don’t there will be consequences.”

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Kyle, meanwhile, claimed he didn’t understand Kerry’s version of a cabin inspection.

“We just genuinely didn’t get around to it. It is really f—ked up,” Kyle said before joking to the cameras, “In my experience, cabin inspections means hide the narcotics. To me, my cabin is clean.”

Despite standing behind his decision in the penultimate episode, Ben later had regrets about going against the chain of command.

“I’ve never been in hot water and in this amount of trouble in yachting before. I think he is taking this like a f—k you,” Ben explained. “But it’s just the fact that we are so busy, it is the last thing on my mind. I probably would have done it but I didn’t give a s—t. After sleeping on it, I feel like I need to apologize to Captain Kerry. At the end of the day, would I run a vessel differently? Probably. But he’s the captain so it’s the right thing to do.”

Ben subsequently issued an apology to Kerry, saying, “It’s just about last night, mate. I had a bit of time to think about it and seeing you as upset as you were, we were wrong. Sorry, mate. I really apologize.”

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In response, Kerry attempted to explain his reasoning for the inspection.

“If someone can’t follow my orders when things are easy, what is going to happen if there’s a fire and I tell you to get the hose and fight it? Hugely disappointed,” he replied. “But I appreciate you coming up and talking to me. That means a lot. I hope this is a learning experience for you.”

Kerry added: “It takes a lot of courage to grow. For Ben to dig deep and apologize wholeheartedly and take responsibility, it takes a lot. And for that I commend him.”

'Below Deck' Season 11 Finale Ends With Captain Kerry Having Regrets About Promoting Ben Willoughby
Kerry Titheradge Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Later in the episode, Kerry and Ben reunited as the charter season wrapped up. Ben thought they ended on a good note but Kerry’s confessional revealed a shift.

“I had a lot of hope for Ben this season. From the very start, I believed he should have been the bosun,” he explained. “But by the end of the season, I doubt I would put him there. Hopefully, he can learn from this, pull his socks up and do himself a favor.”

Ben faced some big changes throughout season 11 after going from a lead deckhand to bosun when Jared Woodin was fired by Kerry. After the onscreen promotion, Ben teased to Us Weekly that his working relationship with Kerry is what changed the most throughout the season.

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“Captain Kerry [has] very much of a military stance. [It is] more authority-based. So that was a bit of a learning curve for me,” he admitted in March. “It doesn’t really work with the style that I like with my leadership. So we did have a little bit of friction there and you might see a little bit of that coming up.”

As new episodes continued to air, Ben took to social media to hint at his dissatisfaction.

“I once used to love Below Deck. There’s too much that isn’t seen. I’m at a crossroads as [to] whether the truth needs to be told or I don’t let this consume me anymore,” he wrote via Instagram during a fan Q&A one month later. “[I’m] not enjoying this season due to a number of factors. I never wanted to step foot on St. David again under those circumstances.”

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Fred Jagueneau/Bravo

Ben also alluded that season 11 took an unexpected turn for him. “Reality TV isn’t easy by any means. I just hope that the audience can see that people are edited in a way that suits the story line,” he added. “It fits an agenda to gain attention/viewing. In saying this, I wouldn’t change my experience as I’ve met so many great people along the way. It’s simply unfortunate how much is kept off air.”

Meanwhile, Kerry hasn’t publicly addressed Ben’s shady posts about their dynamic. He instead tried to end the season with a positive message.

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“I came here knowing I had big shoes to fill,” Kerry, who replaced Captain Lee Rosbach on this season of Below Deck, shared during Tuesday’s finale. “We had some epic highs and there were some lows, I would rather just forget about. But that’s yachting and I am grateful for all of it. That was one hell of an adventure.”

Below Deck season 11 is currently streaming on Peacock.

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