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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

In preparation for my first real charter as skipper (BVIs in Jun 02 aboard a 40'' sloop), I am investigating the cruising course offered by Steve Colgate''s Offshore Sailing School.

The rates seem good for the 5 day course (there''s even a special discount - I imagine to perk business back up after 9-11) and the US Sailing Basic Cruising and Bareboat Charter certifications are included (assuming you pass, which I will).

Just wanted to see if anyone else has taken instruction there and hear your comments. TIA.

Duane
 

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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Ahoy, DuaneIsing. Steve Cogate''s school is excellent and I recommend it to you. I have Basic Keelboat, Coastal Cruising, and Bare Boat Charter certifications from them. The certifications are U.S. Sailing. Everything is handled by the school though. I recommend the fast track live aboard which gets you the Coastal Cruising and Bareboat certifications. Their instructors are excellent and their boats are too. The proof of the pudding is that they turn you loose at the end with their boat, probably a 46 foot hunter, overnight. That''s confidence in their training. I went through in Fort Lauderdale. I loved it. Contact Susan at 800-724-5011, or www.offshore-sailing.com. Tell her Dean Hart sent you. Hope this helps. Regards. dhartdallas.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Ahoy, dhd.

Thanks for your reply and endorsement.

I already enrolled in Colgate''s school (via Susan) for the 5-day Cruising course in Feb 02 out of Captiva, FL. We have a place on Sanibel (adjacent island), so it will be an excellent way to combine vacation and sailing.

The Cruising course will give me both the Basic Cruising and Bareboat Charter Certs, but it is not live-aboard. I am already a US Sailing member with the Basic Keelboat Cert.

I am very excited about it!
Duane
 

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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Ahoy, Duane Ising. You will enjoy Sanibell Island. We came back from Libya on vacation one summer and spent a week on Sanibell. The mosquitos were a bother but otherwise we really enjoyed it. This was in the seventies so it is probably even better now. Have fun at Captiva. dhd
 

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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Ahoy, DuaneIsing. Correction to my previous. I sailed out of St. Pete. on that course. I''ve been thinking about a trip to Fort Lauderdale and have been doing some research. Guess I had it on the brain. Regards. dhd
 

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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

The Offshore school was the first I ever attended. I enrolled in the "Advanced sailing" course which was very good. The instuctor was great, the island is very beautiful, and it''s an ideal area to sail. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
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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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Ahoy, Duane, may I say, "I told you so." Colgate''s is a class act. Glad you had fun.
 

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I see all of those who have responded have had a good experiance with The Colgate school. I on the other hand did not. I attended the school in New Jersey and did my basic keel in the Hudson.The course cost just shy of $900.00 ,which after researching I have found other Basic keel courses for 1/3 the amount. (Ok I''m a bit bitter that I did not research schools better....I was just pumped to get started.) I would not be so bitter if I was taught better....our instructer was a 22 yr old who was intimidated by his class being twice his age. He usually came in a bit hung over and just had us sail around in circles....when he was on time. We never practiced docking,tieing the boat up to a dock, rigging the sails,Etc. Reading it in the book is one thing, actualy doing it is another. The worst thing was when we were finishing up our solo sail and were going to motor in, the motor would not start.....(oh yea we did not go over the engine either.) We were making a bunch of short tacks threw a narrow channel into the marina...when my buddy who was at the helm tacked too fast and we did not have enough speed to complete the next tack.Our colgate 27 was now on a colision course with a 60 + ft. yacht. The owner who was waving his arms franticaly and screaming some colorful metafores was hanging over his stern. Our other classmate panicked and froze...I was telling her to back the main...BACK THE MAIN !...I then ran to the bow of the boat and was able to push off the mega yacht and avoid any contact. The problem was that the clip for the engine kill button was missing....they had use a thin piece of rope wraped around the shank of the kill switch to keep it pulled out. ( The funny part was I asked what that piece of rope was ...instructer said ahh nothing.)Well that is my story...but perhapes the best thing I learned was never depend too much on anybody ...even your teacher...if you have a quetion ask it ....and if you don''t get the right answer ..ask it again. But experiance will always be your best teacher.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

mpin422,

That is quite a horror story. How long ago was that? I sure hope you contacted the school and let them know what your experience was. If you did not, you did yourself and others a disservice.

I can''t imagine Steve Colgate tolerating that type of instructor. From the way the instructors talked down in Captiva, he runs a pretty tight ship. I do believe that a company''s behavior reflects those at the top. I hope that what you described was limited to that particular location with that particular instructor, and he was soon gone.

It''s especially sad that such a thing occurred during your primamry training. To me, they should put the best instructors in the Basic course, because that sets the foundation for everything you do later.

So, did you pass the Basic Keelboat test? What are you doing now?
 

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Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

I''m sorry to say I''ve yet to write a complaint. Just got caught up in the daily grind and kept putting it off untill I forgot about it . I passed the class with the highest test score. I agree with you about the instructor in the begining should be thier best. But what got me to take the course was thier introduction to sailing the previouse year. They offered a 2 hr. sail in one of thier boats and the instructor / host was great. I was hooked....wel thats water under the bridge now.

As for what I''m doing...I''m about to make my first boat purchase. I have researched mags, the net, and marinas. I looked at new and used boats. I''vee decided on a used 31 ft. Pearson which if the survey checks out ,I will be sailing this MAy in it.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Anyone used Colgate''''s Offshore Sailing School in Captiva?

Good luck with your new boat. Now you can be your own teacher!
 

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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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