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How Below Deck 's Eddie Lucas & Rachel Hargrove Handled Captain Lee's Absence

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Not the captain they were expecting.

Below Deck season nine kicks off tonight with a bit of a surprise to the crew of My Seanna: Captain Lee Rosbach is absent due to a medical "condition."

"Mostly when I first hear he wasn't going to be there I was concerned," First Officer Eddie Lucas told E! News exclusively. "I was worried about his health and worried about what was going on. This is the second season in a row where he wasn't there at the very beginning and so I was just worried that something was wrong. And since he wasn't there at all I was worried about the severity of the health issues this time, so definitely concerned about that. There was the issue of now I've got a new captain that I've gotta learn and prove myself to and kind of understand his ways of doing things and that's difficult to work with sometimes."

Eddie admits he was in a "little bit of a panic at first" having to get used to Captain Sean Meagher's leadership style.

Craziest Guests on Below Deck

Chef Rachel Hargrove had an easier time with Captain Lee's absence.

While at first she admits "I was like, 'Oh f--k!''" she added, "I kinda knew Lee was gonna be absent so I wasn't like completely freaked out. Sean's awesome he's just a different dynamic than Lee."

Captain Lee previously put fans' worries to rest and assured he won't leave his wheel un-helmed for long when season nine premieres.

Captain Lee Rosbach, Eddie Lucas, Rachel Hargrove, Below Deck
Laurent Bassett/Bravo

"I am much better," he exclusively shared with E! News. "The timing was mainly screwed up. Because we have such a tight shooting schedule, it was imperative that the guests' charters start and end on time so it didn't have a domino effect and impact every charter after that."

Captain Lee confirmed that his condition "was not related to COVID at all."

"It was a totally unique year," he added of season nine. "It's unlike any other season that we've had, and I really enjoyed it."

Below Deck premieres tonight, Oct. 25 at 9 p.m. on Bravo.

(E! and Bravo are both part of the NBCUniversal family)

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