Your Instructors

Our instructors are experienced professionals who are trained and certified by Sail Canada. They are fully committed to providing you with the skills and understanding to enjoy this wonderful sport while also ensuring that your learning experience is both fun and memorable. These instructors have sailed many of the world’s best cruising destinations and they will be more than happy to share their experiences with you. Some of them have also raced sailboats at the local, national and international levels.

 

Ron Schute – Founder

Ron Schute is the very proud owner of Ottawa based Advantage Boating. Ron formed Advantage Boating in 1992. The company has since grown into Canada’s top adult sailing school, boasting thousands of graduates and a fleet of 20 vessels, with programs offered across Canada and in the Caribbean.

Ron’s sailing career began at the age of 7 in a styrofoam sailboat called a Sunfish. At 9 years old, he graduated to a Jr. Club boat called a Cadet. They were shaped like a shoe box and plowed rather than plied the waters. Neither pretty nor quick, Ron quickly yearned for something bigger and faster. Bigger and faster he got!

At 13, Ron joined the team of Robin Hood, a beautiful 36 foot, laminated cedar racing machine. It was during a 50 miler race aboard this boat that Ron really received his sailing baptism. With strong winds at their back and moving like a freight train a diagonal gust of wind hit the boat and pushed the leeward rails deep into the water. At this point, Ron found himself hanging on to the safety rails, buried up to his armpits in foaming water and struggling to keep his hair dry!

It’s been over 40 years since that memorable race and Ron continues to love everything associated with sailing and being on the water, apart from getting his hair wet. If sailing sounds interesting and you’d maybe like to get your feet wet, just a little, then get in touch with Ron. He can be reached directly at ron@advantageboating.com.

We can also lend you a Sou’wester if wet hair is a concern for you too, although we’re pretty sure, that’s just Ron!

Doris Parolin – Sailing School Director

While Ron Schute is the owner of the company, instructors and clients alike will affectionately tell you that it’s Doris who really runs the show. On a daily basis, Doris works very hard to ensure that expectations are exceeded for both the clients and her instructor team. She is very boot’s to the ground, or in our case, top siders to the deck.

Doris first stepped into a sailboat when she was about 13 and attending Camp Otterdale. Shortly thereafter, her parents were repeatedly encouraged to buy a Laser. Her father and mother, being very safety conscious parents, conceded to the purchase under the condition that it only be sailed in Dow’s Lake, which is part of the Rideau Canal system. Dow’s Lake is virtually land locked, only 4 feet at it’s deepest and prone to wind shifts thanks to passing city buses.

Petitioning her parents for more consistent winds, the family initially moved to the Lac Deschenes Sailing Club and then just a little further east to the Nepean Sailing Club. It was while at Nepean that Doris started to teach. She’s been involved with teaching now for over 20 years.

She remembers with fondness the story of two students, a mother and a teenage son. The boy was 16 and he really wanted his own boat. His mother, a timid non-sailor issued a challenge. “Get me to enjoy sailing and I’ll buy him a boat”. Doris accepted the challenge (no pressure!) by beginning with teaching his mother the very basics, which in her case, was learning how to swim. Doris was happy to report that the mother learned how to swim and learned how to sail and shortly thereafter, the young man learned he was going to acquire a brand new Laser, thanks in no small part to Doris!

Doris has also shared the love of sailing with her own family. When not flying the flag on behalf of Advantage Boating, she can frequently be found somewhere on the Ottawa River with own family cruising and racing their C&C 27. To learn more about Doris’ passion for sailing, contact her directly at doris@advantageboating.com.

Eric Calvert

Eric Calvert is an exceptional teacher who can help you navigate the waters to becoming an accomplished sailor. Professionally, Eric is a teacher and a writer and we like to say that he wrote the book on coastal navigation… literally! The industry recognized book we use for coastal navigation, both in the classroom and online, was written and co-authored by Eric.

The first pages of Eric’s personal story can be traced back to the early days of sailing with his Father in a reliable little boat called a Sunfish. Eric’s Father was an excellent instructor, but being self taught, he never learned nautical terminology. Consequently, Eric and his Dad had only two names for anything on a boat; “This thing” and, “That thing”!

Eric eventually outgrew the little Sunfish and he bought a much bigger fish, a boat called a Shark. A new wife agreed to sign on as crew but only under the condition that Eric expand his nautical vocabulary beyond his Father’s very economical 2 phrase terminology. Being a smart skipper, Eric took his wife’s suggestion to heart and he went back to school.

Eric’s vocabulary has expanded considerably since then, so much so, that now he teaches for the same company that first taught him, over 20 years ago. Eric loves to share in his passion for sailing, much like his Father did. If you’ve ever been curious about navigating through waters where you’ve never been before then Eric can teach you how.

To learn more about nautical and navigational, “Things” contact Eric directly through Advantage Boating at info@advantage boating.ca

Gerry Davies

While most of our instructors began sailing at a very young age, Gerry Davis is living proof that you’re never too old to learn how to sail. While she has spent a lifetime on the water, she only took up sailing at the age of 50. Nine years later, she’s seen the blue seas of the Atlantic Ocean pass under her keel on numerous occasions and her teaching credentials are now second to none.

Gerry’s love of water and the outdoors can be traced back to time spent with the family, “Car Camping”. Gerry naturally gravitated towards the water and in particular, canoeing on both flat water and white water. Studies in outdoor education at the University of Ottawa just seemed to be a natural extension of the passions she discovered in her childhood.

Gerry has worked in outdoor and experiential education ever since. In addition to her university degree, she has also completed advanced classes in seamanship and navigation with the prestigious U.K. based, Royal Yachting Association. These overseas credentials are in addition to all of the equally demanding advanced instructor certification courses she completed through Sail Canada.

All of this experience and training means she’s equally comfortable navigating a cold Atlantic or battling choppy waves on the Mediterranean or riding out brief but intense summertime squalls on the Ottawa River. Gerry Davis has oceans of experience and she will tell you personally that you are never too old to learn how to sail!

Curtis Dickinson

Curtis Dickinson, like the majority of our instructors, began sailing at a very young age. He may, however, have started the youngest of anyone. Curtis’ parents say that their son’s feet first touched the deck of their wooden Lightning at the age of one.

Even at a young age, Curtis seemed to enjoy the sport and his parents continued to nurture this interest as he grew. When Curtis was 4 and his brother was 6 their father fixed up a small sailing dinghy called a Signet for the boys. His parents enjoyed chasing the boys around on the water while sailing their Lightning.

Decades later, Curtis’ love of sailing continues to flourish. He has raced countless types of boats, including Fireballs at a national level and he has raced around Vancouver Island. He has sailed on both coasts of Canada and earned his Yacht-Master Offshore ticket while sailing in New Zealand. His personal love of sailing has also extended into his professional life as when you sail with Curtis, you are also sailing with a Naval Architect.

Curtis is an absolutely exceptional sailor but with one little quirk. No matter how big or how small the boat, Curtis likes to sail barefoot. He tells us it’s like having a third hand and when you see him grab a sheet with his toes for the first time, you’ll understand why!

If you would like to talk to Curtis more about his personally developed, advanced sailing techniques, then he can be reached at info@advantageboating.ca.

Reg Guilbert

Reg Guilbert started sailing almost by accident. A good friend was a sailing instructor. At the very last minute another student bailed on a course and Reg was asked to fill the gap.

It turns out that Reg loved sailing! He loved it so much that he even convinced his wife to join him on a subsequent course. That was the fall of ’83 and Reg has been sailing ever since.

Reg brings a wealth of keel boat sailing experience to his classes. His family rented a Hunter 28 in 1994 and for two weeks, they cruised all around Lake Ontario with Canada’s inland sailing capital, Kingston, being their home base. In addition to the Hunter, Reg has also sailed 24 foot Mirages, CS 30’s, C&C’s up to 38 feet and now a 32 foot Kirie Elite.

While the love of sailing is a given, Reg very much enjoys meeting the wide diversity of people who attend his classes.  His students no doubt benefit from his extensive on the water experience but as well from all of the studies he’s completed in the classroom. For example, he completed Coastal Navigation in ’96, Celestial Navigation in 2007 and Basic Cruising Instructor certification in 2007.

When you take lessons with Reg, nothing will be left to accident. If you would like to feel the passion of sailing for the very first time, then get in touch with Reg. He can be reached through Advantage Boating at info@advantageboating.ca

Mike McEvoy

It’s said the Canadian Navy likes to recruit sailors from the prairies. That’s because the recruits are used to seeing featureless vistas and unending horizons. While the sea is rarely featureless it’s horizons can stretch as far as the eye can see and instructor Mike McEvoy is living proof that great sailors do come from the flat expanses of the west.

Mike grew up in Alberta and learned how to sail on a lake just west of Edmonton called Lac Ste. Anne.  His training began at the age of 6 under the tutelage of his Father. Mike remembers sailing a boat his Father built which came with brand new Egyptian cotton sails. An inevitable capsize started the cotton shrinking and this necessitated a rescue mission from his Father. The day eventually finished up standing beside a warm oven eating freshly baked bread at the local bakery. Warm memories after a cool dip.

Many years have passed since those early days in the bakery and Mike is now one of Canada’s most accomplished instructors. So much so that in the spring, he helps train brand new basic cruising instructors on behalf of Sail Canada. In the summer and fall he can be found teaching Basic and Intermediate cruising to new recruits in Ottawa and Kingston and when the waters eventually freeze-up in Canada, he heads down south to teach and lead our big boat flotillas in the British Virgin Islands.

While we have no affiliation with the Canadian Navy we do share their philosophy that, when sailing, there really is no life like it. If you would like to expand your vistas and horizons, both north and south, then Mike would love to show you how. He can be reached through Advantage Boating at info@advantageboating.ca

Gregory Pilsworth

Instructor Gregory Pilsworth is a third generation sailor. His Dad learned how to sail at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto. His Dad’s Dad also sailed out of Toronto as an engineer onboard Great Lakes steamships.

At the age of 12, Greg was enrolled in sailing lessons at the Britannia Yacht Club. This is where he first met his friend, Ron Schute. Divergent career paths kept them apart for many years but in 2014, Ron asked Greg to join the instructor team at Advantage Boating.

Teaching with Advantage Boating, however, was not Greg’s first foray into being an instructor. In order to help pay for university, he taught sailing at the Britannia Junior Club. In the process Greg acquired his Green, Blue and Red certifications with the Canadian Yachting Association and accumulated over 1000 hours of teaching experience.

Even when not teaching it was hard to shake the teaching role. On their first date, Greg found out that his future wife had taken sailing lessons. In order to evaluate her training, he asked her, partly seriously and partly with tongue-in-cheek, “Which way you faced when tacking a boat”. The answer came back, phrased with a healthy dose of sailor’s salt, that you, “Faced forward and would there be any more stupid sailing questions?!” Greg wisely concluded the evaluation.

Greg and his wife now sail their C&C 29, Magic, out of the Britannia Yacht Club. When not out with the family, he loves to teach others how to sail. He’s a very patient instructor who reminds his students that there is really only one stupid sailing question and he’s already asked it, so don’t be shy! All your sailing questions can be addressed to Greg at info@advantageboating.com.

Jon Wright

All it took was one weekend. One weekend in an aluminum boat with, “Alcan” stamped on the transom. One weekend with the Sea Cadets, far removed from the sea, on the Mississippi River near Carleton Place.

That’s when instructor Jon Wright knew he was hooked on sailing. After that weekend on the Mississippi he navigated his way to Dow’s Lake in Ottawa. That’s where he started sailing Albacores and he was hooked again… literally! In a gusty moment the boom of another student’s boat hooked on Jon’s life-jacket and lifted Jon out of his boat, after which time, he was unceremoniously dunked in Dow’s Lake.

This dunking in questionable waters may have dampened the enthusiasm of other students, but not Jon’s. He continued to improve his skills to the point where he became a Head Youth Instructor with the Canadian Yachting Association. That was over 25 years ago and he’s been teaching youth and adults ever since.

Jon is an exceptional teacher with a healthy dose of humility. He remembers one day, early in his teaching career, when an animated discussion diverted his attention and both teacher and students suddenly found themselves aground. The day’s immediate lesson plan was hastily thrown overboard in favour of a new lesson on how to remove yourself from a slightly embarrassing, but never forgotten, grounding.

If you’ve ever been curious about sailing, then we’re confident, all we’ll need is one weekend with Jon and you’ll be hooked forever. Not by the lifejacket though! Jon can be reached through Advantage Boating at info@advantageboating.ca

Nicholas Schute

Will Seymour

Radek Skabas

Camden Southerland

Mike Green

John Morrow

Dave Nickerson

Eric Hill-Keast

Gregg Kennedy

Robin Cloutier

Bert DeVry