Please select your home edition
Edition
Hella Marine - NZ - 728 - July

49er duo of Ben Rhodes and Stevie Morrison part ways

by Lindsey Bell on 9 Oct 2013
Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes in action at the 2012 Olympic Games © Richard Langdon http://www.oceanimages.co.uk
British Olympic sailing duo Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes have called it quits on their 12-year 49er partnership and their bid for a third Olympic Games medal attempt together at Rio 2016.

Following recent discussions with the RYA Olympic Manager and the Olympic Steering Group, an 11th place finish at the recent 49er World Championship in Marseille reinforced the duo’s belief that their partnership – which encompassed World and European Championship titles as well as two Olympic Games – had reached its peak, with both sailors now eager to explore new sailing opportunities outside of the Olympic Classes.

'We’ve had a great run over many years but I think the result at the recent Worlds just cemented our thinking that our partnership had probably run its course,' the 32-year-old Rhodes admitted.

'The obvious high point for us was in 2007 – the year as a whole. I think we won pretty much every event we entered including the Worlds so that was a real peak. There’s nothing better than when things are going well and you’re doing that with your best mate. As Bart [Simpson] and Iain [Percy] always used to say, it’s a pretty cool feeling and you think yourself pretty lucky.'

'While we never achieved our ultimate goal of winning an Olympic medal, I think we gave it a pretty good go and I feel pretty proud of what we managed to achieve.'

The 34-year-old Morrison added: 'Ben and I have sailed together for so long and have been successful almost across generations of 49er sailors managing to stay on top of our game, so we’ve shown pretty good adaptability and good teamship skills.

'After the Worlds this year we had to look each other in the eye and look at ourselves in the mirror and say for whatever reason we’ve plateaued. As hard as that is to say, equally you’ve got to look back and say that we were the best in the world for a while, and not many people get to say that.

'We’ve had a really good career as a team but it’s time to move on and try exploring different avenues.'


The Exmouth-based sailors are both keen to explore sailing campaigns outside of the Olympic Classes, and have been excited by the move in professional sailing towards high performance boats.

'I’d love to keep sailing as much as possible and with the experience of high-level campaigning that I have, I feel I’ve a lot to offer a high-performance sailing team, whether that be in Extreme 40s or Melges boats or whatever it is. I’d be pretty keen to give everything a go!' Rhodes explained.

Morrison added: 'There are other guys from our team like Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy, Chris Draper who’ve gone on to the America’s Cup. It’s an exciting time for the sport of sailing with high performance boats becoming much more the benchmark of sailing, and that exactly suits our background and where we have come from in our sailing.'

While the soon-to-be first-time father Rhodes is hanging up his 49er trapeze harness for good and viewing professional life entirely outside of Olympic campaigning, Morrison admits that he would consider a return to the 49er and a further shot at Olympic gold in Rio, if the circumstances were right and the right crew were to come along.

In the meantime, Morrison has expressed the pair’s gratitude for the support they received during their campaign years.

'We’re really grateful to the RYA and Sparky who was the team manager when I first started out and has been very encouraging over the years. We also couldn’t have achieved what we did without the help of UK Sport and the National Lottery, as we couldn’t have operated at such a high level without them.

'On a personal level our friends and family have also been a massive support, as well as our personal sponsors G4S. For six years they were a huge support to us – they had a tough time after the last Olympics but the people we know have always been a huge help and have always been there for us when we needed them.'

RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park paid tribute to their years of application and sacrifice chasing their Olympic dream, saying: 'Stevie and Ben have been fantastic competitors at the front of the world 49er fleet for some years now. They have delivered great performances for Great Britain over the years, but ultimately didn’t manage to deliver their best performances at the Olympic Games.

'I am sure they will go on to deliver many more top performances in other forms of the sport, and wish them well for the British Sailing Team

Hella Marine - July 2016Doyle Sails NZ - Never Look BackMackay Boats

Related Articles

Princesa Sofía Iberostar – New wave of passion in Palma
Laser Radial champion Alison Young did not have the regatta she dreamed of in Rio. But she is back in the boat she loves For many of the 833 sailors racing at the opening day of what is effectively the start of the new four year Olympic cycle of European regattas brings a unique excitement.
Posted on 27 Mar
Princesa Sofia Iberostar – Karpak consistent as format test begins
A 15-20 knots in first race rose to more than 20 knots, before dropping from 15 down to five knots in the second race. Karpak got away to the best start at with a 3, 2 scoreline, leaving him at the top of the fleet, on a day when many sailors picked up wildly different scores as the wind played tricks with the fleet in the second race.
Posted on 27 Mar
2018 Zhik 29er World Championship - NOR and entry open
Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club today announced the release of the Notice of Race for the Zhik 29er World Championship 2018. Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club today announced the release of the Notice of Race for the Zhik 29er World Championship 2018. Eligible skippers are invited to apply for entry to this premier event.
Posted on 27 Mar
German cycling great gets to ride in 16ft skiffs
Voight was a guest aboard leading Manly skiff Fluid Building after accepting an invite from skipper Clint Bowen. Jens Voight has twice won stages of the Tour de France and once held the world record time for distance ridden in an hour, but nothing prepared him for jumping on a 16ft skiff last Saturday. Voight was a guest aboard leading Manly skiff Fluid Building after accepting an invite from skipper Clint Bowen.
Posted on 25 Mar
OK Dinghy World Ranking List – No change at top
European Champion, Bo Petersen (DEN) continues to lead from Thomas Hansson-Mild (SWE) and Greg Wilcox (NZL). For the first time in the history of the OK Dinghy World Ranking List, not only are the top three three unchanged, but the entire top 20 of the March 2017 release are unchanged from the previous release.
Posted on 23 Mar
Winds of change at the Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR
634 boats, 842 sailors from 53 nations will participate in the different Olympic classes, according to confirmed entries Around 700 boats will participate in this edition of the Majorcan regatta, which kicks off on Friday 24 for ORC, J80 and Dragon (with three racing days until Sunday) and on Monday 27 for Olympic Classes.
Posted on 20 Mar
18ft Skiffs - Club Champs - Race 12 - Tough fight for podium
The Smeg team successfully retained the title of Australian 18 Footers League club champions The Smeg team of Lee Knapton, Ricky Bridge and Mike McKensey successfully retained the title of Australian 18 Footers League club champions when the 12-race series concluded on Sydney Harbour today.
Posted on 19 Mar
50 boats for Forward Sailing Wellington O'pen Cup
The inaugural Forward Sailing Wellington O’pen Cup will be hosted by Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club (EBYMBC) this wee The inaugural Forward Sailing Wellington O’pen Cup will be hosted by Evans Bay Yacht & Motor Boat Club (EBYMBC) this weekend (17-19 March). With 50 younger sailors entered this will be the biggest O’pen BIC sailing event ever held in New Zealand and will see EBYMBC bulging at the seams.
Posted on 15 Mar
Paving the Way for Paralympic Sailing
The second Paralympic Development Program wrapped up in Hong Kong this week 'Some day I will retire, but I will have a fleet of sailors behind me who will carry on the work!' Philippines sailor Cherrie Pinpin is a determined woman! As one of nine sailors and five coaches to have just completed World Sailing's first ever Asian Paralympic Development Program (PDP) clinic, Pinpin is even more resolute about spreading the word on sailing both at home and across Asia.
Posted on 15 Mar
Finn Class to test new format at Trofeo Princesa Sofia IBEROSTAR
This is in response to discussions that the winner should be decided on the final race, or even first across the line. The format that will be used in Palma is one of several on the table and will allow the class and World Sailing to better understand the consequences and processes of introducing such a system.
Posted on 13 Mar