Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 728x90

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

PredictWind.com 2014Mackay BoatsZhik AkzoNobelb 660x82

Related Articles

Paul Goodison shows his speed in Italian Moth Series + Video
The Yellow fleet was sent out for a 1300hrs start in warm afternoon sunshine and flat water. Day 2 of the Italian Moth Series, the precursor to the McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds, Lake Garda delivered fantastic Moth sailing conditions for the 150 competitors, with spectators enjoying a grand stand view of the action from the Fraglia Vela Malcesine club foreshore. Catch the excellent video of the day with Bangin' the Corner's Randy Cunningham.
Posted on 23 Jul
420 Europeans - Top youth sailors ready to race in Athens
Beforehand, three days of registration and measurement, a practice race and Opening Ceremony will take place. The 2017 420 Open Europeans start on Tuesday on the waters off the iconic Olympic sailing city of Athens. Beforehand, three days of registration and measurement, a practice race and Opening Ceremony will take place. Hosted at the Nautical Club of Tzitzifies Kallithea, Athens, Greece the 420 Open European Championships line-up counts 179 teams from 22 nations, representing all six continents.
Posted on 23 Jul
McDougall McConaghy Moth World Championships Preview - Part 2
The Moth World Championship is arguably THE event in sailing this year because it has more gold medallists We left this conversation yesterday at the critical point. It's the usual conversation that the armchair pundits like to start talking about in the run up to a big sailing event. The Moth World Championship is arguably THE event in sailing this year because it has more gold medallists competing than any other sailing event... Well, it's definitely enough to rival the America's Cup I think.
Posted on 23 Jul
Italian Moth Series at Lake Garda – Am Cup sailors show form - Day 1
150 boats entered the Italian Series regatta, split into just two groups. A total of 6 races are planned, 3 per day. A huge fleet of Moths have already been practising on the lake over the last few days to get valuable time on the water to get to understand the vagaries of the local conditions. 150 boats entered the Italian Series regatta, split into just two groups. A total of six races are planned, three per day
Posted on 22 Jul
Rooster RS Aero World Championship – 16 nations from 4 continents
16 nations are represented from 4 continents in Carnac, demonstrating the eagerness of those sailors to be involved. Incredibly that World Sailing Status came only 18 months after launch with the RS Aero spreading rapidly to over 40 countries in its first year.
Posted on 22 Jul
US Sailing mourns tragic loss of young sailor
All of us at US Sailing are deeply saddened to learn that young sailing student died as a result of a powerboat accident All of us at US Sailing – our staff, Board of Directors, and volunteers – are deeply saddened to learn that a young sailing student tragically died as a result of a powerboat accident on Long Island Sound on Tuesday, July 18.
Posted on 22 Jul
Standby for take off at the WASZP International Games
The countdown is on until inaugural International WASZP Games takes place from 31 July - 5 Aug at host venue Campione The countdown is on until the inaugural International WASZP Games takes place from 31 July - 5 Aug at host venue Campione, Univela Yacht Club on picturesque Lake Garda in Italy. It is exciting on so many levels, with the event using some new race formats and a large emphasis on beach culture.
Posted on 22 Jul
Moth Worlds - McDougall McConaghy Moth Worlds Preview - Part 1
It's a wonderful time; it's a horrible time. We're less than a week away from the start of the 2017 Moth Worlds It's a wonderful time; it's a horrible time. We're less than a week away from the start of the 2017 Moth Worlds and it really is a time of mixed feelings for Mothies. It's getting the heart pumping just putting these thoughts down.
Posted on 22 Jul
Allen and PA Consulting RS Feva World Championships - Preview
As the dinghy park begins to fill up it is great to see so many old friends from previous RS Feva Championships. The Dutch, as usual, are the prefect hosts with many volunteers on hand to help unload, rig charter boats and keep everyone smiling (even in the rain).
Posted on 21 Jul
New Youth Sailing Champions honoured at end of Optimist Worlds 2017
In the Team Racing category, China achieved second place with Malaysia in third. China took second place and host country Thailand won third place. In the Team Racing category, China achieved second place with Malaysia in third.
Posted on 20 Jul