Hayling sailing star Jess Eales, 17, found dead in woodland

Jess Eales
Jess Eales

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A CHAMPION sailor who trains at Hayling Island has been found dead.

The sailing community is in shock after the news of the tragic death of 17-year-old Jess Eales, who was a hugely popular member of Hayling Island Sailing Club.

Jess was found in woodland near Shirely Holms Car Park in Sway, in the New Forest.

Jess was found at around 9.30am on Thursday, July 31 – the day after she had celebrated her 17th birthday.

The tragedy comes just weeks after she represented Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Tavira, Portugal, which she described as the ‘biggest week of her career’.

More than 365 of the world’s Olympic hopefuls from 63 nations competed in the sailing in the Algarve where Jess finished 11th.

In April she won a gold medal at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Youth National Championships in Weymouth and Portland.

Mark Nicholls, RYA youth racing manager, said she showed ‘promising talent’ that would sadly never be fulfilled.

His thoughts were with friends and family of the sailor, who came from Lymington.

Police attended the scene and a spokesman confirmed the death is not being treated as suspicious.

Officers have passed on a file to the coroner and an inquest will be opened.