Fancy a working trip on a yacht to the Scottish Isles from Derry Quay?
DAN Gallagher was four years-old when he first set foot on a boat. Now in his mid-50s with decades of sailing experience behind him, Dan is taking to the seas with his own charter business offering skippered voyages from the River Foyle to the North Coast and the Scottish Islands.
The father of two sons from Derry, has spent most of his working life in the marine industry and has sailed over 30,000 miles, including two transatlantic crossings.
Earlier this year after almost 12 months of searching for the perfect vessel, Dan purchased “The Coriolis,’ a 42 feet yacht and set up his charter business, ‘Sailing North’.
His boat takes her name from the term the Coriolis effect, which describes the pattern of deflection taken by objects not firmly connected to the ground, as they travel long distances around and above the earth.
The Coriolis effect is responsible for many large-scale weather patterns.
From her berth on the city’s Queen’s Quay, Dan plans to offer skippered voyages to islands such as Rathlin, off the North Coast or the Scottish Isles of Islay or Jura.
Voyages can also take passengers east past the Giant’s Causeway and further afield around the North Coast.
Beginners and experienced sailors are catered for and sail training will also be of offer for those who wish to undertake specialist sailing courses.
Dan was introduced to the sea by his parents Thomas and Maureen and cut his teeth sailing dinghies in Moville Bay.
Over the years he became an experienced sailor with many races and accolades under his belt.
‘The Coriolis’ is a dream he had long held and Dan said he’s looking forward to his first summer offering people the chance to sail.
He explains that the ‘Coriolis’ is a Sweden Yachts 42 which is designed for true sailing performance.
“The idea of ‘Coriolis’ is to be a platform to showcase the area we have and that is one of the best cruising grounds in the world from the North Coast to the Scottish Hebrides.
“People can take taster sessions to be on the water and if they want to advance their sailing skills we can run Royal Yachting Association accredited programmes.”
He has recently returned from a trip to Islay, off the Scottish coast, a voyage which takes about eight hours from Derry.
He explains that heading into the North Channel from Shroove is a challenging area to sail but is a fantastic experience.
And he insisted that the idea of his venture is for people on board to take a full role in all aspects of the voyage and become a team player, experience the journey as part of the team and challenge themselves.
Weather forecast is the main tool of his trade and all journeys depend on what the forecast is.
“Sailing into the North Channel means respecting the weather and the seas,” he says.
But he adds there are few words to describe the joy of making a passage under sail and arriving at a new destination .
Below deck is a magnificently crafted interior in fine wood with three double cabins and a galley for cooking. Everything has been designed for comfort and convenience, and a high standard of on-board living.
“It definitely doesn’t feel like work. Once you set sail, you leave society and the ups and downs of life behind and just experience the magic of being on the ocean,” he smiled.
For more information see www.sailingnorth.co.uk