With the launch of Colgate Offshore Sailing Adventures™ this year, Offshore Sailing School is doubling its focus on special sailing events at its key resort operations and broadening the scope of its cruising program for graduates and sailing enthusiasts.
“As we head into our 53rd year of teaching sailing and organizing sailing adventures, we have made two exciting strategic business decisions,” states Offshore Sailing School’s president and CEO, Doris Colgate. “The first is to focus on expanding our resort partnerships, and move away from seasonal city-centric operations,” explains Colgate. “And the second, equally exciting strategic part of our plan for the next fifty years,” says Colgate with a smile, “is to take our long-time cruising adventures and special event programs to innovative levels.” This year the company organized sold-out flotilla vacations in Croatia and the Abacos, Bahamas. In 2017, they’ll sail around St. Lucia in the Spring, and the Amalfi coast of Italy in the Fall. Previous adventure sailing vacations have been in Tonga, Tahiti, Greece, Turkey, Belize, all over the Caribbean, New England, San Juan Islands, and the Apostle Islands, to name a few. Additional locations will be announced at a later date for 2017 and 2018 adventure vacations.
With regard to expanding resort partnerships, Colgate explained they are exploring new location options and increasing programs at the company’s five Florida and British Virgin Islands bases. A new Racing Clinic will be held the first week of December at the school’s Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina branch in the British Virgin Islands. Joining Offshore’s Director of Operations, Bobby Brooks, who has an extensive racing and coaching resume, are Rod Favela, Tom Babel and Mark Foster – all seasoned racing coaches and winning racing sailors.
New women-only Fast Track to Cruising courses will be conducted this coming spring – April 28-May 6 on the school’s Jeanneau 439s and Leopard 48 catamaran at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, Florida; and May 19-27 on Moorings 3900 catamarans and 54’ monohulls in the British Virgin Islands. “Offshore has long been the official sailing school for The Moorings,” says Colgate, “and these special weeks learning on big monohulls and catamarans are designed to prepare more women to skipper their own boats or bareboat charter boats, in a supportive, fun learning environment with other women, who want to improve their sailing confidence, comfort and control.” Offshore Sailing School lead instructor for these women only programs is Joelle Petersen, whose aviator passion equals her love of sailing.
To expand the company’s cruising vacation adventures, Colgate announced they have hired a husband/wife team who are tasked with re-energizing the flotilla cruise program started by Steve and Doris Colgate in 1972. “We started the flotilla cruise concept in the United States, personally put the programs together, and lead more than 100 cruises for our graduates all over the world,” said Colgate. The new cruise developers and leaders are Nate and Heather Atwater, who Colgate describes as the perfect couple to take this program to the next level. Nate actually worked for Offshore Sailing School as an instructor and manager in New York and Florida in the early 90’s. He met Heather when he took the school’s sails for repair at her father’s sail loft, Hild Sails, on City Island, NY. More information on the Atwaters and cruising vacation adventures will be announced shortly according to Colgate.
In explaining the Company’s focus on resort-based business and new programs, Steve Colgate, Offshore’s founder and chairman, announced that 2016 marks the last year of operation for the Company in New York Harbor. “I started Offshore Sailing School in 1964 in New York City, sailing out of City Island, New York,” he states. “With expansion into the resort-base arena over the past 48 years, we have seen the trend towards vacation learning far outstrip the metro-school popularity. We have closed our longtime New Jersey school and club operation at Liberty Landing Marina for good,” he states, “and after two years at North Cove Marina in Battery Park City, are passing the New York school and club baton to a new operator,” Colgate explained, saying that the new operator should be announced soon by the operators of North Cove Marina.
Based in Ft. Myers, Fla., Offshore Sailing School currently operates five resort-based locations: in Florida at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on Ft. Myers Beach, and the downtown Hampton Inn & Suites St. Petersburg; and in the British Virgin Islands at The Moorings base and Mariner Inn on Wickham’s Cay in Tortola, and Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina on Scrub Island. In addition to sailing lessons and comprehensive sailing certification courses at Learn to Sail, Performance Sailing, Bareboat Charter Cruising, and Passage Making levels; the company runs Performance Race Weeks and sailboat racing clinics, women-only courses, family courses, corporate team building programs, group regattas, and flotilla cruises all over the world for graduates and friends. Powerboat cruising courses are also taught on The Moorings yachts in the British Virgin Islands. The company’s fleet includes Colgate 26 sailboats, and 40’-54’ cruising yachts and catamarans.