Please select your home edition
Edition
upffront 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

Barz Optics - Kids rangeNorth Technology - Southern SparsNewport Boat Show 2016 660x82

Related Articles

2016 VR Sport.TV International 14 World Championships – Day 4
Day four at the VRsport.tv International 14 Championships was a world away from the carnage of day three. Day four at the VRsport.tv International 14 Championships was a world away from the carnage of day three. The sun was high in the sky, there was a fresh breeze out in the bay, and the atmosphere at Carnac Yacht Club reflected the conditions.
Posted on 30 Aug
VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA - Day 3
Monday saw another delay in the morning, but this time due to a lack of wind. Monday saw another delay in the morning, but this time due to a lack of wind. Signs were promising though with a clear sky out to sea, the wind switching to the South West, and clouds building over the land.
Posted on 30 Aug
Zhik sailors win 17 sailing medals at 2016 Olympic Regatta
The 2016 Olympic games are over and what a Games they have been - Zhik sailors dominated Zhik sailors won almost 60% of the medals contested at Rio de Janeiro. It was a regatta which tested sailors and gear - with one day being the most severe conditions ever experienced at an Olympic regatta. For the Zhik team riders on the waters of Rio, four years and more of hard work and dedication have paid off for many.
Posted on 29 Aug
2016 VR Sport.TV International 14 World Championships – Day 3
Boats were quickly rigged, and rigorously checked for any signs of wear which could lead to a breakage. The Carnac Yacht Club was filled with a sense of purpose this morning. Boats were quickly rigged, and rigorously checked for any signs of wear which could lead to a breakage. Whilst all this was going on, whitecaps were beginning to develop across the bay, and the conditions were shaping up for what would later be referred to by Andrew Perry as a “big boys day”.
Posted on 29 Aug
2016 VR Sport.TV International 14 World Championships – Day 2
It was a day of two halves here at the VRsport.tv International 14 World Championship 2016 in Carnac. 2016 VRsport.tv International 14 World Championship - It was a day of two halves here at the VRsport.tv International 14 World Championship 2016 in Carnac.
Posted on 28 Aug
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 VR Sport.TV International 14 World Championships – Day 1
The Day 1 of VR Sport.TV Intl 14 Worlds was a demonstration of why this is most popular development classes in the world 2016 VR Sport.TV International 14 World Championship - The first day of the 2016 VR Sport.TV International 14 World Championship was a demonstration of why this is one of the most popular development classes in the world. Just under eighty boats are registered and with strong contingents from across the globe including Australia, USA, Germany and the UK.
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