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Learn to Sail at Offshore Sailing School

Inspiring & Fun Learning Vacations and Getaways

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From the city skylines of the Hudson River and Tampa Bay to the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and the tropical trade winds of the British Virgin Islands and Sir Francis Drake Channel, Offshore Sailing School offers the chance to learn to sail on some of the most scenic, challenging and welcoming waterways in the world. 

When you choose a learn to sail vacation with Offshore Sailing School, the destination is an integral part of the course. Participants often come back year after year to brush up on techniques, learn new skills and explore the surrounding area.

Learn to Sail Locations

The Learn to Sail Experience

The number one sailing school in the world, Offshore Sailing School offers the most comprehensive Learn to Sail certification course for beginners and intermediate sailors seeking better skills and knowledge. The Learn to Sail course is taught on award-winning Colgate 26 sailboats, specifically designed by Offshore's founder, Steve Colgate, for your comfort, safety, and ease of handling. The Learn to Sail course takes you through the intermediate level, with confidence and knowledge to move up to larger boats quickly.

All Learn to Sail courses start each day with a classroom instruction session, followed by exciting on-the-water training. If you choose the fast-paced three-day course schedule, you get six hours of on-water training each day. If you are taking the Fast Track to Cruising course, you start with the first two days of the three-day Learn to Sail course, followed by five days on a 43' to 47' cruising yacht. The five-day Learn to Sail course schedule provides half-days of classroom and on-water training, allowing you to enjoy other activities while you learn.

"I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my sailing instruction and lessons last week on Captiva Island. Mark was terrific - a very thorough instructor who also has a great deal of patience and a good sense of humor to boot. I learned a great deal and even impresed my husband, Archie, who has been sailing for over 60 years."
Judy Cox (shown at right) – New York, NY

On the last day of the course, you and your classmates will put all that you've learned to the test as you work as a team to chart a course and sail on your own, without the instructor aboard for the first time.

"Offshore Sailing School provided a great learning experience that not only taught me how to sail, but showed me how enjoyable it really is. The instructors were knowledgeable and well-presented but most important, they were enthusiastic. You could tell they loved sailing, and you couldn’t help but get into it.”
Joseph Bonanni – Endicott, NY

Pre-Course Online Learn to Sail $50 Rebate

Although you will get a textbook in advance to study, you may want to purchase our exclusive, new Online Learn to Sail course to augment your on-water certification course preparation. Prepared in conjunction with the BoatUS Foundation, the pre-eminent online boating course developers and distributors, Steve and Doris Colgate wrote, directed and edited this interactive program. It is a must do for anyone who wants to learn more about sailing! If you purchase and complete the Online Learn to Sail course prior to attending your Certification on-water sessions, Offshore Sailing School will rebate $50 back to you upon completion of the Learn to Sail Certification course with a copy of your Online Learn to Sail course certificate of completion. For more information on this great learning opportunity, please call 888-454-7015.

Safe, Fast and Comfortable Sailboats

Learn to Sail courses are taught aboard the award-winning Colgate 26 sailboat. Designed by Steve Colgate, the Colgate 26 is a versatile, durable, safe and exciting training vessel used exclusively by Offshore Sailing School for all of their Learn to Sail and Performance Sailing courses. Its outstanding performance, excellent safety features and low-maintenance design make it the boat of choice for teachers, racers and leisure sailors.

Learn to sail – Fast Track to Sailing textbookThe Best Sailing Textbooks

Offshore Sailing School uses only the best textbooks as companions to its classroom and on-water instruction. Written by the founder and owners of Offshore Sailing School, Steve and Doris Colgate, “Fast Track to Sailing" is sent to you before you arrive at your first sailing session. This informative textbook is written for the new sailor as well as those that want to brush up on techniques in order to move on to more advanced courses. Rather than just telling you what to do, it tells you why you're doing it.

What You Will Cover in the Learn to Sail course

The Learn to Sail course takes you through the intermediate level, covering more than you can imagine, for the most complete Learn to Sail experience there is – which sets Offshore Sailing School apart from all other Sailing Schools.

  • Nautical terminology
  • Rigging and sails
  • Getting underway
  • Proper winch techniques
  • Finding wind direction
  • Points of sailing
  • Tacking and jibing
  • Interaction of wind and sail
  • Maneuvering in close quarters
  • Wind pressure and lift
  • Heeling and stability
  • Apparent wind
  • Wind shifts
  • Sailing wing and wing
  • Stopping and starting under sail
  • Spinnaker techniques
  • Crew overboard pick-up
  • Sailing backwards
  • Rudderless sailing
  • Sail trim and sail shape
  • Boat balance
  • Hull speed
  • Mooring and anchoring
  • Docking under sail
  • Most used knots
  • Right-of-way rules
  • Grounding remedies
  • Heavy weather techniques
  • Steering with a compass
  • Sailing in current
  • Weather and lee helm
  • Introduction to navigation
  • Reefing (shortening) sails

Prerequisite: No experience or basic sailing skills necessary
Certification: Colgate Day Sailing or
US Sailing Basic Keelboat

The levels of instruction and sailing practice provided in Offshore Sailing School courses allow family members and friends of different ability levels to take different courses best suited to their goals within the same time frame. This unique format also allows those that want to enjoy a learn to sail vacation to spend off-water time with those that don’t want to take a sailing course. There is plenty of time to pursue other activities when not on the water.

Request a Quote to find out how easy it is to learn to sail.
Call 888-454-7015 today!


Skill, confidence and knowledge are the biggest rewards you’ll receive from successfully completing a Learn to Sail sailing course with Offshore Sailing School. Upon completion of your Learn to Sail course, you’ll receive Colgate Day Sailing Certification, which gives you the personal validation of a job well done. For third party validation, you may purchase U.S. Sailing Certification. With this option, you will also receive the U.S. Sailing “Basic Keelboat” textbook, loaded with more valuable information.

Our Guarantee

After you complete a course at the Colgate Offshore Sailing School, if the instruction you received was not up to your expectations, let us know right away and we will arrange to give you the same course over again, tuition free. 

Advantages of an Offshore Sailing School Course

  • Celebrating 50 years of expert sailing education
  • Top notch instructors – ranked #1
  • Sailing certification recognized world-wide
  • The best sailboats and equipment
  • The best sailing textbooks
  • Over 130,000 graduates
  • Small class size

Your Next Steps as a Sailor

Once you've mastered the basics of sailing, you may want to learn new skills and improve your sailing knowledge with advanced courses. Offshore Sailing School features the best selection of advanced sailing, racing and navigation courses on the market. You can even combine your learning experience with a week-long cruising course in the Fast Track to Cruising program.

Additional Offshore Sailing Courses

Call 888-454-7015 to talk to a friendly Sailing Advisor today!