Please select your home edition
Edition
Naiad/Oracle Supplier

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

Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierBarz Optics - Floaters

Related Articles

VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA - Day 1
73 boats have signed on for the 2016 VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA in Weymouth. Seventy-three boats have signed on for the 2016 VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA in Weymouth. With the odd lightning strike off Chesil Beach and a huge storm over Dorchester, the fleet were released to leave the shore once it was deemed safe enough to sail in Portland Harbour, with racing getting underway just 20 minutes after the scheduled 1pm start time.
Posted on 27 Aug
2016 Sail Canada Senior Championships - Day 4
After not sailing on Sunday due to heavy winds, sailors returned to the water today at Sail Canada Senior Championships 2016 Sail Canada Senior Championships - After not sailing on Sunday due to heavy winds, sailors returned to the water today at the Sail Canada Senior Championships at Cork OCR. Today’s conditions were ideal, with a breeze of 18-19 knots from the southwest, and sunny skies.
Posted on 23 Aug
2016 U.S. Team Racing Championship – Final report
Team Trouble saved their best for Sunday’s knockout rounds and rallied to win the historic George R. Hinman Trophy 2016 U.S. Team Racing Championship - Team Trouble, comprised of Charles Higgins (Norfold, Va.), Johnny Norfleet (New York, NY), Isabel Strachan (Annapolis, Md.), Matt Allen (Hamilton, Mass.). Gabriel Smith (Annapolis, Md.) and Arielle Darrow, saved their best for Sunday’s knockout rounds and rallied to win the historic George R. Hinman Trophy at the 2016 U.S. Team Racing Championship, hosted by Sa
Posted on 23 Aug
2016 Samson North American Championship - Day 5 - Final day of racing
The forecast was dismal for racing, but the PRO Hank Stuart and the Race Committee showed great patience. 2016 Samson North American Championship - The forecast was dismal for racing, but the PRO Hank Stuart and the Race Committee at the Rochester Yacht Club showed great patience. The fleet went out in a light breeze and were held in postponement for about an hour.
Posted on 22 Aug
Park's pride as Brits leave Rio Olympic Sailing as top nation
With 17 countries claiming the 30 medals from 10 events between them, Park thinks Rio lived up to its reputation With 17 countries claiming the 30 medals from 10 events between them, Park thinks Rio lived up to its reputation as one of the most difficult places in the world to sail. At London 2012 the same numbers of medals was spread between 15 countries.
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio 2016 - Epic 470 medal races bring six days of racing to a climax
Racing got underway in a frisky 17-21 knot breeze featuring plenty of leaderboard moves as different teams took the edge Pao de Acucar, the medal race course, positioned close to Flamengo Beach and the 396-metre tall Sugarloaf Mountain is surrounded by a landscape which plays tricks on the wind. No lead is safe, no amount of leverage without risk. The unpredictability of the race track was evident in both 470 Women and Men races, with rollercoaster position changes for some.
Posted on 19 Aug
Patience and Grube leave Rio Olympic Sailing on high
Luke Patience and Chris Grube believe they showed their “true qualities” after ending their Rio 2016 in fifth overall After vowing to end the regatta on a high, the Brits were true to their word finishing third in today’s double points Medal Race, as Croatia’s two-time World Champions, Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic wrapped up gold.
Posted on 19 Aug
Great Britain is the top performing nation at Rio Olympic Sailing
After yesterday’s postponement for lack of breeze, an eighth in double points Medal Race ensured they were the champions Two golds for Giles Scott (Finn) and Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (470 Women) plus Nick Dempsey’s RS:X windsurfing silver ensured Britain has topped the best sailing nation table for four of the last five Olympics.
Posted on 19 Aug
2016 Samson North American Championship - Day 4
Championship racing kicked off today for 2016 Samson Lightning North American Champs and there was wind in Rochester! 2016 Samson Lightning North American Championship - Championship racing kicked off today for the 2016 Samson Lightning North American Championship and there was wind in Rochester! After some light air days on the water for qualifying racing, crews were all three on the rail today in a nice 10 knot breeze from Northwest at 330. With the breeze from the Northwest this caused chop across the course.
Posted on 19 Aug
Rio Olympic Sailing – Mills and Clark joy after gold finally won
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark admitted their relief after finally sealing their 470 Women’s gold in Rio today. An eighth in today’s double points Medal Race confirmed what had been delayed for 24 hours after yesterday’s postponement for lack of breeze – that the British 470 Girls’ had upgraded their London 2012 silver to Rio 2016 gold.
Posted on 18 Aug