Sailors from around the world have paid tribute to a professional sailor who has died in a boating accident.
The death of Zane Gills, who lived in Lymington, Hampshire, was announced on Facebook by his wife, Sarah.
An Australian national, the 37-year-old reportedly died in an accident on a boat in Barcelona, Spain, ahead of New Year’s Eve.
Mrs Gills wrote: “It’s with disbelief I have to share with you that Zane has tragically died in an accident. We are all totally shocked and devastated by the news. He was an incredible man and will be very sorely missed.
“We ask respectfully for space at this time and we will inform everyone of funeral arrangements in Lymington and Australia soon.”
Mr Gills, originally from Tasmania, Australia, was a well-known sailor and had taken part in many events, including the round-the-world Volvo Ocean Race.
The race organisers tweeted: “The Ocean Race family and the entire sailing community is saddened to learn of the passing of Zane Gills, who raced with Team Telefonica in the 2011-12 edition of the race.
“We offer our deepest condolences to all of his family and friends.”
Spanish team Desafio MAPFRE posted a picture of Mr Gills helming the boat, saying: “A great bowman, an excellent sailor and unbeatable person RIP.”
Mr Gills was also a bowman on iCap Leopard, the world’s fastest monohull boat at the time.
Friends from the sailing community, from New Zealand to the United States, paid tribute to the sailor.
“He will be remembered as that guy with the best smile. He will be missed all around the world,” wrote Robin Marsh in New Zealand.
Emma Sheltrum wrote: “He clearly touched so many people’s hearts. I’ll never forget the Leopard days.”
Mr Gills also played rugby with local Lymington team the Mariners, who will play a game on 11 January in his honour.
“Zano was one of the nicest guys anyone could ever hope to meet and a strong, reliable and wonderful team mate,” wrote Nick Bubb, teammate and a trustee of the John Merricks Sailing Trust.
Simon Oliff added: “He was revered as the best of men by all the Mariners who trained, played and celebrated with him.”
Mrs Gills has asked for anybody with photos or videos of Zane to be sent by WeTransfer to [email protected] so she can put together a video of his life.