AN ADVENTURER from Beckenham drowned when her boat was wrecked in storms during an Australian sailing trip.

Linda Yarr, 35, of Alton Court, Copers Cope Road, Beckenham, was sailing overnight with five other Britons off the coast of New South Wales when their boat was hit by a freak wave. It lost its keel and capsized after being smashed onto a reef.

Four of the six sailors three men and a woman managed to cling to a deflating raft for more than 32 hours before they reached land.

Another member, an unnamed 18-year-old girl, was missing feared drowned.

Miss Yarr and the 18-year-old were said to have been trapped below deck when the wave struck.

A Foreign Office spokesman said yesterday (Tuesday) the search for the missing girl would continue at first light.

Miss Yarr, and the five others, were on the 38ft Rising Farrister yacht for a seven-week sailing course. One of them was a qualified skipper and the other five were trainees.

Miss Yarr was in the RAF for six years which included a tour of duty in Bosnia and later worked in the City for French bank Credit Lyonnais.

Neighbours spoke of their shock at the tragedy. Natalie Vanerp, 26, said: “She was so excited about going. Linda was certainly the adventurous type. She decided she wanted to travel a few months ago so she quit work and set off on what she said was to be the trip of a lifetime'. Linda was lovely neighbour and we got on really well. This really is a shock.”

Speaking from his home in Airdrie, Scotland, Miss Yarr's father, John, said of her: “She was a brilliant daughter and a brilliant young girl who had everything going for her. She had the world at her feet.”