THE family of missing sailor Jeff Cole have paid tribute to a "friendly, confident and reliable" man after his body was found off the coast near Sidmouth.
Mr Cole disappeared while sailing from Weymouth to Swanage on September 21.
Sam Cole, Jeff's daughter, confirmed her "wonderful father" had now been identified.
She paid tribute to her dad and said the news was a relief as it meant they could have closure and plan a wonderful celebration of his life.
She said: "We are relieved – that's all we wanted. Out of something so awful, it is the best news. He was our rock – the rock of the family."
She said that now they had him back, and after following the normal procedures, there would be a huge celebration of his life.
She said: "Then everyone who knew him can come along and celebrate. It will be a celebration of his life – it won't be a miserable thing. We will be doing something unusual."
Mr Cole's wish was to be buried with his son, Lee Cole, a talented musician who passed away 10 years ago.
Emergency services launched a difficult and lengthy operation to recover the body. The Devon Air Ambulance landed nearby but was unable to recover the body. And a Sidmouth lifeboat crew also made attempts but was forced back.
A team of around 18 coastguards at low tide around midnight made the recovery and stretchered the body to shore.