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Tribute at sea to powerboat pilot

An emotional tribute has been paid at sea to a powerboat pilot who died after his boat overturned during a race.

Ian Stirling, 59, from St Austell, Cornwall, died on Saturday after his boat hit a wave during the European and British Powerboat Championships in Harwich, Essex.

On Sunday afternoon, around 50 powerboats went to the scene of the accident where flowers were laid on the water and a minute's silence was held.

John Puddifoot, powerboat racing manager of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), described the tribute as "very moving".

The powerboats were led out by a police boat, past watching crowds, and formed a circle close to the crash scene.

A RYA spokeswoman said a chequered flag was raised to signal a minute's silence.

Flowers were then laid as a tribute to Mr Stirling and the larger of the power boats fired up their engines to roar a salute.

More than 40 sailing boats also gathered on the water and lowered their flags to half mast in his memory.

Mr Puddifoot said: "Mr Stirling was a highly experienced pilot with 25 years of powerboat racing at a European and world championship level.

"He is going to be greatly missed within the powerboat racing family. Our deepest condolences go to Mr Stirling's long-standing partner and family at this very sad time."

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