A few months ago, PMYC Sailing Squadron team welcomed the newest RYA Chief Instructor in the team, Mischa Wykurz. Just as he is adapting to the fast-paced and active schedule, we caught him in a short break for a few quick introductory questions. Enjoy the read!
PMYC: Hi Mischa, welcome to the PMYC community! Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What’s your background?
MW: I absolutely adore nature and the outdoors! I have been very fortunate to become qualified to teach people a whole variety of exciting outdoor sports and activities. I grew up in the wonderfully diverse city of London and frequently visited beautiful mountainous locations during my childhood.
I studied Sports Science (Outdoor Activities) at university in the Snowdonia
National Park in North Wales where I specialised in high altitude research. There I gained my Climbing and Mountaineering qualifications and learned to sail on the infamous Menai Strait. It was on the straits that I also became a sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and powerboating instructor.
Alongside my watersports roles, I have spent the last 6 years training towards completing my BASI Level 4 International Ski Teaching Diploma whilst working as a ski instructor in the Alps. Much of my work has been with International schools with whom I have been lucky enough to lead 30+ educational expeditions to some spectacular and exciting locations around the world, including the regions such as Northern and Central Africa, the Indian and Nepalese Himalayas, and various fascinating parts of South East Asia.
PMYC: How come you decided to come and live in Montenegro?
MW: I love to travel and explore new places. I had heard of how beautiful it is here and I wanted to make the most of the summer by coming to a place where Covid restrictions would still enable me to teach the activities I love and allow people to get out and about on the water. I had been to Croatia 10 years ago and, having studied various maps, felt that the Montenegrin coastline would be just as beautiful. I have not been disappointed!
PMYC: What is the scope of your role within the PMYC team?
MW: I am here to help maintain PMYC’s RYA (Royal Yachting Association) status as a training centre offering internationally recognised and certified courses. I teach both sailing and powerboat courses here and help to oversee our team of seasonal instructors.
PMYC: What’s the best part of your day?
MW: I love teaching people who want to learn new skills! When someone finally achieves a skill they’ve been tirelessly working towards, I’m so excited sometimes I punch the air, clap my hands and cheer with joy. It’s brilliant! I also take great pride in seeing a fleet of boats sailed by our youth sailors independently on the water, it’s an impressive sight when it all comes together.
PMYC: What is your favourite activity on offer with the PMYC Sailing Squadron that you think everyone should try and enjoy?
MW: I think the best way of getting out on the water is in one of PMYC’s J70 Keelboats. They are such a fantastic sailing boat, really responsive yet forgiving enough to learn in. I highly recommend coming on both the RYA Level 1 and RYA Level 2 sailing courses. Each course is two days long and once you have completed level 2, you will be competent enough to take a J70 out independently on the water! This can lead onto joining in with various regattas like the annual Arsenal Cup.