Olympic 49ers Morrison and Rhodes to fight another day despite capsize

Steve Morrison and Ben Rhodes are 12th
Steve Morrison and Ben Rhodes are 12th

Eastbourne sailor Stevie Morrison insisted they will be fighting on for another day after a second race capsize in what was an otherwise impressive comeback, on day three of the Olympic Regatta at Weymouth and Portland today (Tuesday 31 August).

After showing the rest of the fleet they were suffering no ill effects of their slightly disappointing opening day yesterday, Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes powered their way to an impressive third place in their first race of today, race three overall.

But just when it was looking like it was going to be a good day at the office, and with the boys sat handily in third coming into the fourth mark, they dramatically found themselves upended, suffering the capsize that resulted in them dropping from third to 18th.

Stevie said: “Yesterday was uncontrollable and today was controllable. We made a mistake, which is why it is more disappointing isn’t it? But it doesn’t mean you don’t go back home, go to bed and wake up and fight on another day. We know we are very good we’ve just got to go out and do that.

“We are more disappointed today because it was a mistake we could have not made but you don’t get any prizes for crying so you may as well just carry on fighting. There are a lot of positives to take from today with a lot of people up and down, and the Australian boat capsizing as well.”

Ben added: “49er racing is really tight and really short racing. There wasn’t a lot happening with the wind today and tiny little inches really do count. For 99% of the racing we were going in the right direction and we were keeping track of all those inches, but then obviously we had a major setback where a few yards were lost.”

Race three showed the boys at their determined best. Knowing that they needed to make their mark on the regatta today, after posting two 12th places from their opening two races yesterday, the pair got off the line confidently rounding mark one sixth and gradually moved up through the fleet to claim a very welcome third place.

But it was race two where things took a dramatic turn. Again they started with the bit between their teeth, breaking away from the line and heading up the first beat in fifth. But disaster struck when the capsize left them completely helpless with the rest of the fleet sailing past them as they righted the boat.

An 18th place finish in that race leaves them 12th overall after four races in their 15 race opening series. They will look forward to getting five races under their belts so that they can discard their biggest score of the regatta so far.

Morrison continued: “We are going really fast and sailing really well. It’s only the second day and there is a very long way to go. It’s no time to give up yet. Tomorrow is another day and the fleet scores are really up and down. Today we’ve used up our wildcard. Everything now counts from here on and were looking forward to it.”

The 49ers (race five and six) are scheduled to resume at 12pm tomorrow (Wednesday 1 August) 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).