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post #13 of Old 08-18-2012
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Re: Anyone used Colgate''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

I would highly recommend Offshore Sailing School. I took Basic Keelboat 5-day class in Ft. Myers. Our instructor (Jim Marvin) was very professional and very knowledgeable. Around 3 hours each day were spent on lecture, and about 4 hours were spent sailing. The class format is well-organized and it is clear the instructors receive instruction themselves on how to teach the subject matter well. Our class size in lecture and on the boat was small (me and 2 others). While the instructors are approachable and friendly, the course is serious. There's little chit-chat and almost all talk is sailing-related. Towards the end of the course, the instructor wants to see that students are learning to do things without his assistance, and sees to it that they become more independent aboard the Colgate-26. On the 5th day, the students take the boat out themselves without the instructor on board. The teaching is top-notch. The NEA should hire these guys as consultants. You'll understand how to control the boat, even so much as to rescue a man overboard if he is unconscious.

The school offers more advanced courses, which I have not yet explored. I'd be willing to bet they do an excellent job, as they appear to have a great deal of experience and passion for sailing, and wish to spread it around.

One thing students might want to consider is when to take the course. We took the course in August, and most of our days were calm. This can be very frustrating because the boat can become a little more than a floating raft. However, it does make for safer and easy-to-control sailing. However in March, and even in February and April, the weather is far more windy. So the boat may be more difficult to control, but the student will learn a lot more and it might make things more exciting. Apparently the wind can get so bad that the class gets cancelled. I suppose anytime the weather is unpredictable.
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