About Us

Our Philosophy

Grassroots Sailing Centre is a not-for-profit sailing school and sailing club, run by sailors, for sailors, who are passionate about sailing. We are continually seeking out and providing opportunities for like minded people to enjoy the sport and improve their skills at a reasonable cost. 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.

Who is Grassroots Sailing?

Grassroots Sailing Centre is a member operated not for profit Keelboat Sailing Club & School, operated by fellow experienced sailors who are passionate about pursuing the sport and lifestyle of sailing.

Keelboat Courses are offered primarily out of Cooks Bay on Lake Simcoe and are conveniently located to serve North Toronto, York Region and Simcoe County. We also schedule live aboard courses on beautiful Georgian Bay. 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.

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

Alain Aube

One of our Basic Keelboat instructors, he is passionate about racing and teaching sailing. He has a keen sense of safety and enjoys seeing his students and club members progressing and learning about sailing. He was introduced to Grassroots Sailing in 2002 when he obtained his basic cruising keelboat. He currently holds the Sail Canada Basic Cruising, Intermediate Keelboat, Adavnced Cruising plus Coastal Navigation and the Basic Keelboat instructor as credentials.

Alain is one of our directors in charge of sail training programs. Alain is also bilingual and as such is our French speaking instructor.

Mark Girard

Mark is one of our Basic Keelboat & Intermediate Cruising instructors and is passionate about racing and cruising with his friends and family as well as teaching sailing on Lake Simcoe and the Caribbean. He is an owner of a Niagara 26’ and an Olson 25 with over 1000 logged hours of racing and cruising based out the Barrie Yacht Club. He also owned a Hobie 16 for several years. Mark is an active member of BYC being elected vice Commodore for 2018 and was regatta chair for several years. From a credentials standpoint, he has completed the Sail Canada Basic Keelboat Standard (2010), Intermediate Keelboat (2011), Advanced Cruising Standard (2016), Coastal Navigation (2010), Basic Keelboat instructor certified (2014), Intermediate Cruising instructor certified (2017) Marine Weather systems (Basic and Advanced).

Dmitry Usyatynsky

Dmitry grew up on the water beside one of the biggest rivers of Europe – the Dnepr. Back then his father introduced him to the boating lifestyle and the various challenges of big river navigation. But open ocean sailing was always another dream. Now Dmitry is an experienced charter captain and holds the Coastal Navigation, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Cruising Standards as well as the Basic Cruising and Intermediate Cruising Instructor Certificate. He is the first Russian-English speaking sailing instructor in Canada. “Sailing is the 4th dimension in our lives. The lifestyle gives anyone a whole new world to explore and the opportunity to perfect ourselves”, he always tells his friends. Dmitry also speaks Ukrainian. Dmitry is a licensed Master of Yachts(commercial) and has been taking folks on charters to many wonderful sailing locations in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Dmitry is also one of Grassroots Sailing Centre’s directors.

Rick Butler

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Dave Johnston

Dave Johnston has been with Grassroots Sailing since 2006 and is a Sail Canada Certified Instructor for the Beginner and Intermediate Cruising and Advanced Cruising Standards. Dave also teaches the International Certificate of Competence Certificate that is now required in many Mediterranean countries. The many positive comments from his students are a testament to his teaching skills. He holds the Coastal Navigation, Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Cruising standards as well as his Restricted Operator Certificate (Maritime) & DSC. He has been a sailor for over 25 years and is an experienced Charter and Delivery Captain both in the Great Lakes and the Caribbean. Nicknamed MacGyver, Dave seems to have a knack with figuring out fixes for various technical difficulties around a boat. When not sailing he enjoys singing a few Karaoke songs and can play a solid game of Billiards.

Ihab Louis

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Our Fleet

U4RIC

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Waterbaby

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Braveheart

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Lady Natalie

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