Morrison upbeat despite slow start at Olympic sailing

Steve Morrison
Steve Morrison

Eastbourne sailor Stevie Morrison insisted there was “no cause for panic” after he and Ben Rhodes started their Olympic sailing regatta with two 12th places today (Monday 30 July).

Morrison and Ben Rhodes are competing in the 49er class at Weymouth and Portland. They sit 12th overall after two races but with 13 races plus a final double points medal race to come the boys are confident they can turn things around.

Morrison said, “It’s the first day of a 16 race regatta, if you start crying and throwing the toys out of the pram after what happened today you’re not someone who is going to go on and win events.

“It’s a long event, a long battle – we haven’t had the best start but you can start a marathon with a blister and still win the race if you’re tougher enough to deal with it and that’s what we’ve got to get on and do.”

The 49er Brits enjoyed good starts in both races and were looking strong in fourth place going up the first leg in race one. But they got punished by a big wind shift, reaching the first mark in 11th, and then struggled to make any gains on the leaders.

It was a similar story in race two, after slipping out to the right of the course off the start, the duo were placed handily in 5th at the first and second marks.

But a gamble on the second upwind leg didn’t quite pay off and the boys dropped down the fleet, eventually crossing the line in the same position as in the first leg.

A pragmatic Morrison, “It’s very early on and a very long regatta. We made some mistakes quite obviously and we are quite frustrated with the second race where we got ourselves in a pretty strong position.

“The first race came down to one very quick decision, strategy wise we were good in both races, but just towards the end of the second one the wind suddenly started to play a lot on the left hand side and we had been tending to favour more of the middle, theoretically a more conservative route.

“Unfortunately in the 49er, when something changes it changes fairly dramatically because you’re going so fast.

“It’s a bit frustrating but it’s happened, we’ve got to deal with it and carry on. We only need to go out tomorrow and have two really good races and suddenly it’s not an issue. We’ve always got the potential to go out and win two races in a day so there is no need to panic or change the game plan yet.”

The 49er class is scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow (Tuesday 31 July) with two races on the Portland Harbour course.

The Olympic Sailing Regatta runs from Sunday 29 July – Saturday 11 August. The 49er medal race is scheduled for Wednesday 8 August (1pm).