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Sarah Young: Neighbours of Highbury businesswoman pay tribute after she drowns in Pacific Ocean

PUBLISHED: 14:24 04 April 2016 | UPDATED: 14:24 04 April 2016

Sarah Young, 40, of Highbury, was washed into the Pacific Ocean by a large wave as she tended to the mainsail aboard her 70ft yacht on Friday. Picture: onEdition/PA Wire

Sarah Young, 40, of Highbury, was washed into the Pacific Ocean by a large wave as she tended to the mainsail aboard her 70ft yacht on Friday. Picture: onEdition/PA Wire

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Amateur sailor Sarah Young “had all sorts of plans for the future” before she died at sea on Friday, neighbours said this afternoon.

Sarah Young, of Highbury, was Sarah Young, of Highbury, was "very adventurous", a neighbour in Calabria Road said this afternoon. Picture: onEdition/PA Wire

Ms Young, 40, who grew up and lived in Calabria Road, Highbury, was competing in Clipper Round The World, a global yacht race. She was swept into the Pacific Ocean by a large wave as she tended to the mainsail board of her boat.

The tragedy struck just four months after the death of mother Thelma, 82, who she lived with.

Ms Young, who owned her own company, Bespoke Establishments, was recovered from the water by crewmates but they were unable to resuscitate her. She was laid to rest at sea yesterday, in line with centuries-old maritime traditions.

Neighbour Peter Hall had known Ms Young since 1983, when she was eight years old.

“It was such a horrible shock,” he told the Gazette. “She had been through the stage of her mum dying and now this. She was last home when Thelma died. Just before she returned to Australia after the funeral in December, she knocked on our door to tell us: ‘I’m off.’ That was the last time we saw her.

“We watched her grow up: through school, university and then having a life of her own. When her dad died, that’s when Thelma starting living alone and so we started having more contact with Sarah. I would see her for simple things, like helping her when her car battery was flat.

“She was very independent, and adventurous, and seemed to have a big circle of friends. She loved trekking, mountaineering and diving. The yacht race was something she always wanted to do, and she had her mum’s blessing.

“I can’t think of anything worse than being out at sea like that – but Sarah loved it. I know she had all sorts of plans for the future and then she was just snuffed out like that. It’s awful.”

As Ms Young was buried yesterday, the 12 competing teams held a minute’s silence aboard their vessels. Three readings were delivered, including the ballad Sea Fever by the poet John Masefield.

The decision to bury at sea was made with the blessing of Ms Young’s aunt, who lives in New Zealand, and friends.

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