Sailing - Olympic duo to go separate ways for Rio 2016

Olympic silver medallists Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell admit their little and large partnership won't work at Rio 2016 and insist they owe it to each other to go their separate ways.

Sailing - Patience and Glanfield end maiden season with another win

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Britain's Luke Patience with former partner Stuart Bithell (Reuters)

Skipper Patience and crew Bithell claimed silver in the 470 class at London 2012, pushing Australian duo Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page all the way before settling for second.

Patience and Bithell were ideally suited for the windy Olympic venue in Weymouth with the skip light and small and the crew taller and heavier however they believe they'll be the opposite in Brazil.

Winds are light in Rio, a key factor in their decision to part company, with Patience looking for a new crew in the 470 and Bithell flying the nest to become a skipper in the 49er class.

Patience, who won 470 silver with Bithell at the World Championships in Perth this time last year, is currently weighing up who his new crew will be and believes it would have been foolish to continue as is.

"We've always been one of the heavier 470 teams on the circuit, and even with a four-year long rabbit food diet, we're still going to be naturally too heavy as a crew to realistically be threatening for gold in Rio," said Patience.

"Stuart and I have had an amazing journey, and I'm so proud to have stood on the podium with my mate this summer. Although we won't be sailing together towards Rio, we're both so excited about the road ahead."

Meanwhile Bithell admits he can't wait to make the transformation from crew to skipper, citing the likes of double Olympic champion Sarah Ayton as his current inspiration.

"As a junior sailor and youth sailor I was always a skipper, steering the boat, so I'm following in the footsteps of my role models like Ian Walker and Sarah Ayton who both went to the Olympics as crews and then very successfully moved on to be skippers," said Bithell.

"I'm taking that role on and the 49er is the perfect boat for me to do that. It will reward my tactical strengths and is a very exciting new challenge."

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