Instructors Biographies

Alain Aube

 Alain is 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. 

Alain is our Sailing School Director in charge of sail training programs. 

Alain is bilingual and as such is our French speaking Instructor.

Dave Johnston

Dave has been Keelboat sailing since the mid Nineteen-Eighties.
Instructor since 2009 in areas including the Great Lakes, Ontario, Canada and the Caribbean windward and leeward islands.
Charter Boat Captain since 2010 and have spent many weeks in Croatia and Greece, Adriatic Sea, Mediterranean, the Caribbean from British Virgin Island to Grenada, Georgian Bay, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario.
Delivery passages as Captain, St. Maarten to North Carolina, Caribbean’s windward and leeward islands, crisscrossed the great lakes including Lake Erie, Huron, Ontario and the barge canals south of Lake Ontario.
As Captain, type of boats chartered, taught on or delivered include monohauls – Jeaneau Sun Odyssey 54DS, Bavaria 51, Beneteau Oceanis 49, Hunter DS45, Dufour Gibsea 443, Beneteau Oceanis 43, Beneteau 43.4 Cyclades, Dufour 39, Catalina 34, Catamarans – Lagoon 500, Robertson Caine Leopard 45, Knysna 45, Nautitech 40 and Fountaine Pajot 38.
Dave own a Beneteau 43.4 Cyclades Monohaul, which he sailed throughout the Caribbean’s windward and leeward islands for the past 4 seasons. He has spent many winters down south teaching sailing and skippering sailing vacations. Approximately 15,000 sea miles experienced as Skipper.

Grant Bykowy

Grant first sailed as a teenager on small Hobie-Cats in his native Saskatchewan. After moving to Ontario, he began learning to sail Keelboats with Grassroots Sailing in 2012, and has been an active member and Board member of Grassroots ever since.  Grant is an active sailor, having gone on several charters with Grassroots including to St. Martin and Antigua. He chartered/skippered his own yacht in Croatia in 2019 and also has his own boat – “Taken for GrantEd” on Lake Simcoe.

Grant has a true love for sailing and being on the water – and believes that sailing is at the same time one of the most relaxing and challenging pastimes!

Troy Gilliland

Troy has been mentoring with Grassroots Sailing for 10 years.

He is a certified instructor and has been teaching for 5 years. 

Troy is very safety conscious and enjoys ensuring new students are safe on the water.

He really enjoys showing first time boat owners how to skillfully operate their new vessel, and how best to enjoy their time on the water.

Dmitry Usyatynsky

Dmitry grew up on the water beside one of the biggest rivers of Europe – the Dnieper. 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. He is the first Russian-English speaking sailing instructor in Canada. He also speaks Ukrainian.

“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 has been taking folks on charters to many wonderful sailing locations in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean.

Mark Girard

Mark 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 an Olson 25 with over 1000 logged hours of racing and cruising based out the Barrie Yacht Club. He also owned a Niagara 26′ up to 2019, and 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.

Ihab Louis

Ihab joined Grassroots Sailing in 2010. He is very passionate about navigation. He loves teaching and sharing his knowledge with fellow sailors and learners.

He enjoys sailing with his family on his Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 409 on Georgian Bay and participating in the Georgian Bay Regatta every year.

“You know that feeling… when you keep looking for something… and when you finally find it, you develop inner peace and satisfaction…as when you reach your final destination after a long journey…that is Sailing to me!”

Ihab is Bilingual and is fluent in both English and French.

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