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post #7 of Old 02-11-2002 Thread Starter
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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Ahoy, all.

Just got back from a week at Colgate''s Offshore Sailing School on Captiva, Florida. In case it helps any of you, I''ll give you a quick summary report.

I enrolled a few months ago for the "Bareboat Prep" course, and my wife (future cruising partner) enrolled under their last minute plan and paid half price. There were only 3 students in the course that week, so we got a terrific bargain. They accommodate up to eight students (four per session - morning and afternoon), but with just 3 of us, we were on the water longer each day.

Words don''t describe how much more confident I feel handling a larger boat (38'') after this course. We had winds 10-25 kts all week while under instruction, but they diminished to 5-15 on Fri and Sat when we 3 students sailed on our own.

Our instructor was very professional, with great knowledge and skills, and was very personable, too. My wife was afraid some young hotshot instructor was going to intimidate/humiliate her for her lack of knowledge and experience. The opposite was true; she now feels much more comfortable in all the aspects of boat handling we covered.

I would offer a little advice if you decide to go: study the textbooks very well in advance. The pace of the classroom instruction is fast, just barely enough time to confirm what you should already know. You are unlikely to be able to absorb all the material if it is all new to you. The written tests are not hard to pass if you know your stuff.

Finally, just so all you "school of hard knocks" guys out there don''t get the wrong idea, I know full well that a weeklong course doesn''t make me a great seaman. It''s like when I got my pilot''s (as in airplane) license in the 80''s; it just give you a starting point from which to learn during the rest of your flying (or sailing) life.

BVIs here we come!
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