DREAMS were shattered for Team GB’s Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes when Olympic bronze slipped from their grasp on home waters.

The Exmouth duo made early gains in yesterday’s double-points medal race but their lead faltered when their Austrian high-performance 49er Skiff rivals got past them.

Childhood friends Morrison and Rhodes were ‘gutted’ that 12 years of hard work had ended without a spot on the podium but praised the support of all their family and friends who had gathered on the Nothe spectator site to cheer them on.

Rhodes, 31, said: “Off the start and on the first run we almost crossed the Austrian guy and had we done that it would’ve been a different story, if we had crossed there then who knows.

“We’re pretty gutted but going into the race it didn’t feel like a controllable situation, there were too many people in the running on a shifty course.

“There was too much going on, you just had to take what we were given and accept that a bit.

“We sailed pretty well but we had probably lost the medal earlier in the week, we had a couple of capsizes and mistakes back there.

“We had the opportunity to have made it less of a battle but that’s sailing.”

He praised the thousands of spectators and added: “The race was what it was but the support was amazing, it’s been pretty incredible, we obviously went to China four years ago and felt pretty seperate, we didn’t get the background noise behind GB.

“It was pretty incredible when you see that sort of support, it’s not very often in sailing, we probably won’t experience it again.”

Australia’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen claimed overall victory, having gone into the race already assured of gold – due to their top results from the previous 10 races.

The New Zealand team of Peter Burling and Blair Turke had also secured silver with a day to spare but there was a six-way scrap for bronze, with Britain's contenders in the mix.

Helm Morrison, 33, said: “I don’t think we haven’t won a medal because we weren’t good enough, we haven’t won it because we made a couple of mistakes.

“Those two capsizes were worth 24 points, if you look at the results sheet now that’s quite a bit difference.

“We haven’t got a medal but I still believe we are and were good enough.”

Morrison said they had not ruled out campaigning for the 2016 Games in Rio, saying he did not ‘feel that old yet’.

He said: “It’s an addictive thing trying to be the best, Nathan and Goobs [Jensen] have done a fantastic job, we’ve had four hard years trying to catch them up.

“This week in terms of boat speed we’ve caught them up, it might be a fun next four years.”