THE greatest sailor in Olympic history came to Arundells on Friday to officially unveil a special memorial to two men who died when Sir Edward Heath's racing boat sank in 1974.

Sir Ben Ainslie, who has won four Olympic gold medals, paid tribute to Christopher Chadd, who was Sir Edward’s godson, and Nigel Cumming who drowned when the Morning Cloud III sand in bad weather.

The restored bow of the boat will now be placed as a permanent memorial to the men after being purchased on ebay by one of the Friends of Arundells.

Sir Ben said: "It is my privilege to unveil the restored bow section of the third Morning Cloud, it is an imaginative project and I know that it has only been made possible by the dedication of many individuals and companies.

"Most importantly it serves as a reminder of the tragic deaths of Nigel Cumming and Christopher Chadd but it is also an important addition to the unique collection of sailing-related trophies, paintings, models and memorabilia held at Arundells.

"I knew his history both as a Prime Minister and as a sailor and I was really delighted and honoured to be invited here to be part of it."

Sir Ben added that Sir Edward was "inspiration for many British sailors" after winning the Admiral's cup in 1971 and he hoped that his America's Cup team could follow in his footsteps.

He added: "The boats that we sail now now foil out of the water so they are very different but ultimately they use the wind and the water so not that much has changed.

"I think that would be an eye opener for him [to sail a modern boat] but anybody who loves sailing is really taken with this new style of America's Cup racing, it is very exciting."

The bow of the Morning Cloud only came into possession of the house by bizarre coincidence after Sally Tattersall saw it on sale on the online auction site ebay.

The description of the sale made no mention linking it to Sir Edward but Sally decided to take a punt on it and made a bid of up to £200.

In the end she paid £153 for the bow and it was verified by Claire Lallow on the Isle of Wight who used old photos to authenticate it.

The family of Christopher Chadd were present for the unveiling along with the Bishop of Salisbury Rt. Rev. Nicholas Holtam who blessed the memorial.

Jonathan Chadd, brother of Christopher, said: “The Chadd family has been fully supportive of the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation Trustees in creating, in these beautiful and peaceful gardens, a most fitting memorial to Christopher and his fellow crew member Nigel Cumming, who lost their lives when Morning Cloud sank."

The bow will now be on public display in a secluded area of Arundells’ gardens.