The father of the Irishman that drowned when he fell off a sailing boat in Long Island on Sunday has said that his son was a “shining light” in the family.

Eoin Curran, from Templeogue in Dublin was described by friends and colleagues as a “brilliant” software engineer. He was working with Internet search giant Google, and had recently been promoted from the firm’s Irish base in Dublin to their location in Brooklyn, New York City.

The 30 year old was taking his first lesson in the 23 yacht from the New York Sailing School when he fell overboard. He wasn’t wearing a lifejacket at the time.

The instructor, who was with Eoin, managed to make it back to the boat and send out a float for Eoin, but he lost sight of him.

Last night, Eoin's father, John, said: "He really was a special guy and I can barely bring myself to talk about this.

"We are devastated, we miss him so deeply. Eoin was just out having fun, going for a sailing lesson and this happened.

"No one could imagine the pain of getting a call telling us he was missing after a sailing lesson.

"We are keeping in regular touch with the coastguard in New York and everyone who is dealing with this is wonderful."

The search for his body has been discontinued by the US Coast Guard who gave up on the quest to find his body.

The brief storm took place on Friday and led to a series of power outages throughout New York City, as well as the issuing of a rare tornado warning.

Academically, Curran was in a class of his home, according to his peers. Dr Siobhan Clarke, a lecturer in computer science at Trinity, described Eoin as "the most talented student" she had ever taught. Curran achieved a first class degree in mathematics and went on to do a Masters in Computer Science, also in Trinity, Dublin.

"He used to sit and help other students and, well, he was just fabulous where his studies and work where concerned. He excelled at absolutely everything."

Eoin's roommate, Marcal Garolera (26), described him "as the nicest person I've ever known", and an "amazing" computer programmer.