Irish Sailing Hero - Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year Dan McGaughey

Irish Sailing Hero - Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year Dan McGaughey

Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year shares his story from beginner to champion.

Dan McGaughey, won this year’s Volvo Youth Sailor of the Year thanks to his performance internationally in the Topper class, culminating in placing 3rd at the Topper World Championships in Loctudy, France. Dan is from Donaghdee Sailing Club in Northern Ireland, and we put a few questions to him below:

Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?

I’m in Year 12 in Bangor Grammar School, and currently studying for GCSEs. I began sailing aged 11 at Donaghadee Sailing Club, and started out with club racing every Sunday in a Topper.

What type of sailing do you enjoy the most ?

​​I now enjoy sailing my Laser but I would like to try something faster like a Moth or Nacra.

How does sailing  make you feel?

​​ Frustrated at some points but a good race makes it all worth it.

What’s been your best sailing achievement so far? 

It has to be coming third in the Topper Worlds as it was my main goal for the season and to have trained so hard for that goal then be able to finish the way I wanted was amazing.

What’s been your proudest sailing moment so far ?

​​My proudest moment was at the British Topper Nationals when i came 5th in one of the races. It was my proudest moment as it was very light winds around 6-7 knots which in the previous years had been my downfall . I had worked a lot on my light winds and for that to show in a race made it a great moment. 

When you’re not sailing, what do you like doing?

I like to mountain bike and water ski.

Do you have a message you would like to give to younger sailors?     

​​I would just say to enjoy it as much as possible and if you work harder than everyone else you are bound to get the results that you want. 

If you are inspired by Dan go to to find out more on how you can get out on the water.