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Offshore Sailing School offers discount to Florida residents

By Staff | Jul 26, 2017

Attendees of the Offshore Sailing School learn to sail on a Colgate 26 which are custom built by Doris’ husband, Steve Colgate. PHOTO PROVIDED

Throughout the year, the Offshore Sailing School offers a discount on their two-day learn to sail weekend packages to Florida residents. Locally, the classes are offered at South Seas Island Resort on Captiva and Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina on Fort Myers Beach.

The Offshore Sailing School got started by Doris and Steve Colgate back in 1964. Steve came up with the idea of starting a sailing school shortly after he got out of the Air Force. Steve was working for a boat supply store in New York City at the time.

However in 1974, after wanting a more stable environment, Doris and her husband made the move down to Southwest Florida.

“In the ’70s, we were operating out of year-round locations in the Bahamas. We were looking for someplace in the United States so that we wouldn’t always have the issues of work permits and people having to rely only on flying. So in 1974, we drove from Port St. Lucie down to the Keys and back up the West Coast looking for a destination resort where we could operate a sailing school. We didn’t find anything in the Keys and then we came up by the Marriott in Marco (Island) but they had a bridge there so that didn’t work because we have sail boats. So, we drove up to South Seas and said “Oh my gosh, this is it,” Doris said.

The Offshore Sailing was established at South Seas Island Resort in November 1975. During the weekend sailing class, attendees will learn how to successfully handle a sail boat in any weather condition.

“They learn the basics of sailing. So everything you need to know in order to trim the sails, steer the boat, understand weather conditions and little bit about navigation; just enough to know the area they’re sailing in,” Doris said.

The course, which previously was three days, was made into a weekend class to make it easier for those who work. At the end of the session, attendees will walk away with a certificate of achievement and a log book.

“If they take the U.S. Sailing certification test, they get all the textbooks to read for it. If they take it, which almost everybody does, then they will get an official U.S. Sailing certification,” Doris said. “The test is included in the price.”

The sailing classes are small: there are always four people to one instructor. The course begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday and ends at 5 p.m. Attendees will sail for a total of six hours each day. Additionally, there is a one hour and 50 classroom session each day as well.

The couple uses a Colgate 26, which was designed by Steve, to teach attendees how to sail.

“The boat debuted in 1997. We couldn’t find a really good, safe sailing boat that met our needs so (Steve) wrote the parameters and had a naval architect do the drawings. The boats was built in Palmetto, Florida at Precision Boatworks. We have 10 of them at South Seas,” Doris said.

At South Seas Island Resort, the cost for the weekend program for Florida residents is $1,140 per person for two people taking the course up until Aug. 12; the single rate is $1,320. The price includes a two-night stay at the resort, the course, the certification, room taxes and resort fees. Beginning Aug. 13 until Oct. 7, the cost will be $1,110 for two people taking the course; the single rate is $1,275. At the Pink Shell Beach Resort, the cost is $1,430 per person for two people taking the course together and sharing a room; single rate is $1,725. Starting Aug. 12 until Oct. 7, the cost will be $1,380 per person for two people taking the course together and sharing a room; single rate is $1,625. Without the resort stay, the cost is normally $1,175 per person at both resorts. However, for a limited time, the Offshore Sailing School is offering a 20 percent discount on the tuition-only rate, making it $940 per person at South Seas Island Resort and the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina.

For more information go to offshoresailing.com or call (239) 454-1700.