TRIBUTES have poured in after the tragic death of a teenage sailing star who competed in the waters off Weymouth and Portland.

Jess Eales, inset, was found dead aged 16 in New Forest woodland just weeks after representing her nation at a youth sailing championship in Portugal.

The news has rocked the sailing community in her hometown of Lymington, Hampshire, and friends and coaches have spoken of their grief.

It came just weeks after she represented Great Britain at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships in Tavira, Portugal, where she finished 11th.

In April she won a gold medal at the Royal Yachting Association Youth National Championships at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Her death has shocked friends and colleagues who have praised her character and talent.

Mark Nicholls, RYA youth racing manager who worked with Jess, said: “She was a young sailor who showed promising talent. Our thoughts are with the family and friends at this sad and difficult time.”

Jess was found near Shirley Holms Car Park in Sway at around 9.30am on Thursday, July 31. Police said the death is not suspicious.