An Auckland father-of-three has died tragically on "the water that he loved" after "sailing in a boat that he adored".

Keith Lane's body was washed ashore on a Waiheke Island beach and found by a member of the public on Sunday, February 16.

It's understood that hours after competing in a Waiheke yacht race, the 67-year-old fell overboard and drowned.

His grieving wife Rosie told the Herald that Lane was her "soulmate" and the sea had been an integral part of her husband's life.

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"He was very generous with his knowledge and time. He really was a just a nice guy. One of the good ones."

Keith Lane with his wife Rosie at her 60th birthday celebrations in Queenstown in 2019. Photo / Supplied
Keith Lane with his wife Rosie at her 60th birthday celebrations in Queenstown in 2019. Photo / Supplied

The couple had been married for 40 years and were best friends from the moment they met.

He died on the water that he loved, sailing in a boat that he adored, in good health after having dodged three near-death experiences in his life - but that was another long story, she said.

Rosie described her late husband as "a thinker and a loner, totally enjoying his own company a lot of the time".

They had three children together - Chris and twin girls Rachel and Becky.

Keith Lane with his children Rachel, Becky and Chris on holiday at Ohope beach, Bay of Plenty. Photo / Supplied
Keith Lane with his children Rachel, Becky and Chris on holiday at Ohope beach, Bay of Plenty. Photo / Supplied

"He [Chris] won Keith's heart very early on and Keith became an exceptionally loving father over time.

"He adored his daughters and they adored him."

At Lane's funeral, his daughters said: "He [Lane] wasn't just the best Dad in the world, he was one of our best friends."

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Lane's son Chris added: "Dad was one of the most supportive, selfless and generous people I've ever met, and he would constantly inconvenience himself to put others first without expecting so much as a thank you.

"I'm glad he got to live a full and happy life bursting with passion, laughter and the things he loved.

"He will be dearly missed by all."

Lane's business, The Gearbox Factory in East Tamaki, had announced his death.

"It is with great regret that I have to inform you that Keith Lane, manager and owner of The Gearbox Factory, has been killed in a tragic boating accident on Saturday 15/2/2020."

Lane had single-handedly participated in the Bucklands Beach Yacht Club on his Farr 1220 boat and was anchored at the bottom end of Waiheke Island, just around from Man O War Bay.

Keith Lane with his daughter Becky when she was five-years-old on a family holiday in Fiji. Photo / Supplied
Keith Lane with his daughter Becky when she was five-years-old on a family holiday in Fiji. Photo / Supplied

At some stage he fell overboard after 10pm on Saturday night, the post said.

He was found on a Waiheke Island beach about 7am the next morning.

A police spokesman said the sudden death of a man found at Arran Bay, Waiheke on Sunday morning had been referred to the Coroner's Office.

Police can't determine the cause of death as that is for the Coroner to rule, the spokesman said.


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He owned the business, which provided transmission and gearbox service and repairs from 1989 onwards and had 30 years of practical experience in the industry, the website said.

"Business will be carried on as normal by his surviving wife Rosie, supported by a fantastic loyal staff."

The Aucklander also enjoyed classic car racing and had also built several performance kit cars.