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

Police are not treating her death as
suspicious and an inquest will be opened in due course.

Picture credit: Paul Wyeth/British Sailing Team