About Us

Who is Grassroots Sailing Centre?

Grassroots Sailing Centre is a member-operated not-for-profit Keelboat Sailing School and Sailing Club, operated by fellow experienced sailors who are passionate about pursuing the sport and lifestyle of sailing. We are continually seeking out and providing opportunities for people to enjoy the sport and improve their skills at a reasonable cost.

Keelboat courses are offered primarily out of Cooks Bay on Lake Simcoe and are conveniently located to serve York Region, North Toronto, and Simcoe County. We also schedule liveaboard courses on beautiful Georgian Bay and in the Caribbean. For members who seek adventure, international Charters are available in Caribbean destinations such as Antigua, St. Martin and the Florida Keys while Mediterranean destinations include Greece and Croatia.

Grassroots Sailing has developed a number of opportunities for sailors to gain access to the sailing community and develop their knowledge and skill level. Whether you want to sail around your local lake or around the world, we can take you as far as you want to adventure out in this amazing place we call Earth. Take the leap off that wheel called “getting ahead”, contact us and we will show you how. Whether you are thinking about experiencing Keelboat sailing for the first time or dusting off your skills and getting back out on the water, check out your ONE STOP for adventure on the water, Grassroots Sailing Centre!

Our Instructors Certifications

Alain Aube

  • Basic Cruising Standard
  • Intermediate Keelboat 
  • Advanced Cruising
  • Coastal Navigation
  • Basic Keelboat Instructor

Mark Girard

  • Basic Keelboat Standard (2010)
  • Intermediate Keelboat (2011)
  • Advanced Cruising Standard (2016)
  • Coastal Navigation (2010)
  • Basic Keelboat Instructor (2014)
  • Intermediate Cruising Instructor (2017)
  • Marine Weather systems (Basic and Advanced)

Ihab Louis

  • Basic Cruising Standard
  • Intermediate Cruising Standard
  • Advanced Cruising Standard
  • Basic Coastal Navigation
  • Intermediate Coastal Navigation
  • Basic Coastal Navigation Instructor
  • Intermediate Coastal Navigation Instructor 

Dmitry Usyatynsky

  • Coastal Navigation
  • Basic Cruising Standard
  • Intermediate Cruising Standard
  • Advanced Cruising Standard
  • Basic Cruising Instructor
  • Intermediate Cruising Instructor 
  • Master of Yachts (commercial) 

Grant Bykowy

  • Basic Cruising Standard
  • Intermediate Cruising Standard
  • Basic Coastal Navigation
  • Intermediate Coastal Navigation
  • Start Keelboat Sailing Instructor
  • International Certificate of Competency (ICC)

Dave Johnston

  • Sail Canada Advanced Cruising Instructor #32652
  • Advanced Cruising Standard
  • Basic Coastal Navigation
  • Intermediate Coastal Navigation
  • International Certificate of Competency (ICC) ICCI-A145546
  • International Yacht Training (World) Bareboat Skipper
  • International Certificate of Competency Instructor #20807
  • VHF Restricted Operator’s Certificate Marine with DSC Endorsement #693 443 JOH
  • Standard First aid with Level C & AED

Troy Gilliland

  • Basic Keelboat Standard
  • Intermediate Cruising Standard
  • Basic Cruising Instructor

Our Grassroots Fleet: Lake Simcoe


Catalina 22 Sport
Primary vessel with a large cockpit which is used for our School and our Sailing Club for Start Keelboat Sailing courses, Basic Cruising Standard courses, Mentoring, and Club Racing.


Northern 7.5

C&C designed Cruising sailboat is used as sailing club platform for Recreational Sailing, Mentoring,  and Club Racing.


Our Partner Fleet: Georgian Bay and Caribbean

Lady Nathalie

Beneteau 43.4 Cyclades

The Beneteau 43.4 Cyclades is a well-appointed sailing vessel designed with safe, comfortable cruising in mind.

Lady Nathalie meets Canadian Standards for Safety equipment and Sail Canada recommended equipment.

Georgian Bay

Lady Nathalie, a 4 cabin Keelboat located in Penetanguisheneon Georgian Bay during the Summer. Used for Big Boat Mentoring, Charters, Sail Canada Basic Crusing Standard (liveaboard), Intermediate and Advanced liveaboard Courses.


Lady Nathalie, is moved South for the Winter for Courses, Charters, Regattas. Also used to enable advanced skill development passagemaking between the Caribbean and the Great Lakes.

The vessel has 3 double (queen size bed) guest cabins and a separate cabin for crew. It comes with two heads (washrooms) with showers and an outside stern shower. There are a number of windows, allowing lots of natural light to enter the main cabin. Separate helms and a wide swimming platform afford lots of room in the cockpit area for all to enjoy the romance of the sea. Her home port is in the West Indies. Typical Vacation and Learn to Sail charter destinations are in the Sint Maarten/St. Martin, Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla and St. Barthelemy cruising area.

Our Location

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