By Emily Goddard

Joe Glanfield has announced his retirement from sailing at the age of 34 ©Getty ImagesFebruary 13 - British Olympic sailing medallist Joe Glanfield has announced his retirement from the sport at the age of 34.

He returned to sailing last year after a four-year break, following his silver medal wins at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 in the 470 class with Nick Rogers, teaming up with London 2012 silver medallist Luke Patience in a bid to secure Britain's first Olympic gold in the class at Rio 2016.

However, despite enjoying a successful year - in which the pair claimed silver at the European Championships and podium finishes at three World Cup and international regattas - Glanfield has decided to call time on his career to focus on his family life.

"As Luke and I sailed it became quite clear what we felt was required to win a gold in Rio, and I increasingly felt as though it was going to be difficult for me to do exactly what was required," he said.

"With both of us having won silver medals before, as soon as you start to get the feeling that you can't do the campaign that's needed to win a gold then it starts to become a bit pointless.

"For me once I saw a conflict between doing a gold medal-winning campaign and living the life I want to live with my family then it became clear to me that the answer was to stop now and allow Luke to get on with someone else.

"My life has moved on more than I anticipated from four years ago.

"What I would need to be prepared to sacrifice and compromise is a bit higher than I am prepared to."

Luke Patience is now searching for a new crewmate as he continues to work for his dream of gold at Rio 2016 ©Getty ImagesLuke Patience is now searching for a new crewmate as he continues to work for his dream of gold at Rio 2016 ©Getty Images

Glanfield, who is now planning a move into coaching, added that there was no sadness involved in his decision to quit the sport, but said he felt sorry for Patience, who is now searching for a new crewmate as he continues to work for his dream of gold at Rio 2016.

"We all do this for very specific individual reasons, and if one cannot reach a comfortable place for the reasons they were doing it then they cannot perform at their best," Patience said.

"I completely understand Joe's reasoning behind that - he felt like he couldn't be at his best and that's not OK for him.

"I totally understand and respect that.

"For me, I live and breathe the Olympics - I'm obsessed.

"My drive and motivation for the goal hasn't wavered at all through this.

"I'm still fully there in my head.

"I have a plan from here and an outcome that I would like to get to to carry on my path towards putting together a successful Olympic campaign that can get to the startline of race one in Rio and be in a position to challenge for a gold medal."

The Royal Yachting Association's (RYA) Olympic manager Stephen Park said the body will now work to support Patience in finding the right new crew.

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January 2012: Sailors Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell join Team GB at London 2012