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Murray Double was named by police yesterday as the man who died suddenly at Deborah Bay, north of Port Chalmers, on Tuesday about 5.20pm.
Ms van der Linden said she knew immediately it was her 68-year-old husband who had died when she read about the death on the Otago Daily Times website.
Mr Double had been late for dinner which was out of character. She tried ringing his phone, but the call went to a message, saying the call could not be connected.
The news was awful, she said.
She described Mr Double as a quiet man, who was honest, straightforward and kind.
He always helped his neighbours and enjoyed family.
For many years Mr Double worked as a mechanical engineer, including at Scott Technology and helping to set up Datum Engineering, before retiring last year.
Mr Double was born in Southland and had moved around before settling in Dunedin in the early 1980s.
He was dedicated to his interests and had come to boating after being involved in flying gliders and tramping.
Mr Double made the front page of the Otago Daily Times in April 2004, when his earlier yacht sank off the coast of Moeraki.
At the time, Mr Double promised he would return to sailing and his most recent boat, Greeka had been kept at Deborah Bay, where he was found in the water.
It was presumed he had slipped, but it was possible he had a medical event, Ms van der Linden said.
It was not clear if he had been on the wharf or Greeka before he fell into the water, she said.
In a statement this morning, police said the death was not considered suspicious and would be referred to the Coroner.
They said their thoughts were with Mr Double's family and friends.