Breaking News: Captain Sandy From Below Deck Named Co-Godmother of Celebrity Cruises’ New Ascent Ship

Her sister, Michelle Dunham, founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism, will also be a godmother.

Celebrity Cruises has officially announced that its soon-to-debut Celebrity Ascent ship will have co-Godmothers, Captain Sandy Yawn and her sister Michelle Dunham, founder of the Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA). Captain Sandy is widely recognized for her appearance on Bravo TV’s hit series Below Deck. The sisters, born and raised in Fort Lauderdale, will join the industry’s first brother Captains, Dimitrios and Tasos Kafetzis, who were previously announced as the chosen duo to jointly take the helm of the new vessel earlier this year.

“We are honored to have Captain Sandy and her sister Michelle join the legacy of Celebrity’s Godmothers, as they are both inspirational women who have dedicated their lives to making a positive impact in the world,” Laura Hodges Bethge says, president of Celebrity Cruises. “Captain Sandy’s life story is one of resilience, leadership and strength as a pioneer in the maritime industry and as an inspirational role model for young women. Her sister Michelle is a tireless advocate for children with autism and shows us what is possible when you follow your vision for a better world. Both women live by Celebrity’s values, and we have no doubt they are the perfect choices for Ascent.” 

The latest of Celebrity Cruises’ acclaimed Edge Series ships, Celebrity Ascent, is launching this November. The previous Edge Series ships had notable godmothers, including Simone Biles, a 19-time World Champion and seven-time Olympic Medalist who christened the most recent ship, Celebrity Beyond, in 2022. The founder and CEO of international nonprofit Girls Who Code, Reshma Saujani, was named Celebrity Apex godmother in 2021. Malala Yousafzai, Nobel laureate and activist, introduced the revolutionary ship class when Edge launched in 2018.

One of the most cherished traditions at sea is the appointment of a Godmother who embodies the spiritual essence of a vessel. She is the woman who inspires, protects, and positively impacts the lives of everyone who sails onboard. Ascent’s official naming ceremony, scheduled for Dec. 1, 2023, will see both sisters bless and christen the ship, bringing good luck and protection to the crew and all passengers onboard.

Captain Sandy has overcome numerous obstacles in her life, including a life-threatening accident, cancer and addiction struggles before embarking on a successful career in the yachting industry. As a best-selling author and motivational speaker, she is committed to sharing her life experiences to inspire others to overcome their own challenges and pursue their dreams. Captain Sandy is a strong female role model determined to make her mark in a male-dominated industry.

Michelle Dunham co-founded the Jacksonville School for Autism (JSA). She established the school in 2005 with her husband, Mark, to give her son, Nicholas, the best learning opportunity. JSA is a not-for-profit private school and full-service K-12 educational center that caters to students and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. The school prioritizes whole child development and individualized programs encouraging family and community involvement.

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Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.