Jess Eales’ body was discovered last week near a car park in the New Forest

One of Britain’s best young sailors has

been found dead in woodland in the New Forest.

Jess Eales, who turned 17 on July 30th,

was discovered near a car park at around 9.30am the next day.

The promising sailor had recently

represented Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in

Portugal, finishing 11th against more than 365 competitors.

Meanwhile, in April, she won a gold medal

at the RYA Youth National Championships in Weymouth and Portland. 

RYA racing manager and performance director

John Derbyshire told the Telegraph: “Jess was a very happy smiling girl and a

part of our sailing community but that is only one of the aspects of her life,

she also had her school, her family and friends.

“This has been a complete shock to everyone

who knew her, her family are just reeling and as a parent I don’t know how they

are managing to deal with this.”

Meanwhile, RYA youth racing manager Mark

Nicholls said: “The RYA is aware of the sad passing of British Youth Sailing

Squad member Jessica Eales.

“She was a young sailor who showed

promising talent which can now unfortunately never be fulfilled. Our thoughts

are with the family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”

The 17-year-old, who learned to sail in

2009, competed in the RS Feva XL class before progressing into the 29er skiff

class.

Police are not treating her death as

suspicious and an inquest will be opened in due course.

Picture credit: Paul Wyeth/British Sailing Team