The Best Boats to Learn On
Offshore Sailing School takes great pride in in providing the very best sail and power boats to learn on. Steve Colgate wrote the parameters for the perfect entry-level trainer and sailboat racer – the Colgate 26 – which is used at all Offshore Sailing School locations. The cruising boats you learn on are picked for performance, ease of handling and comfort. The types of sailboats that are permanently in our fleet are listed below. On occasion we may charter other 40’ to 50’ yachts in the British Virgin Islands from The Moorings to meet demand. Unlike many other sailing schools that make you take two separate courses on small and medium sized sailboats to get to the Bareboat Cruising Certification level, Offshore Sailing School gives you Basic Cruising and Bareboat Cruising Certification in a single course on 43’ to 50’ catamarans and monohulls. When you graduate from our Fast Track to Cruising Course you are ready to sail any cruising boat up to 50’ with confidence.
The Colgate 26 is the perfect mid-sized sailboat for training, day sailing and racing. Designed by Steve Colgate and noted marine architect Jim Taylor, the Colgate 26 debuted in 1997 and immediately won the coveted Cruising World Boat of the Year Award in the Pocket Cruiser Division. The U.S. Naval Academy bought 12 more Colgate 26s to augment their existing fleet of 30 in 2015. The Coast Guard Academy and Maine Maritime maintain Colgate 26 fleets for training plebes and cadets. The Colgate 26 has the largest cockpit of any tiller-driven training boat, and a separate area for the instructor to stand, with dual mainsheet controls. It is very safe, will not sink or tip over, has ergonomic seating, and a host of sophisticated gear and adjustments, making the transition to larger sailboats easy. The Colgate 26 is used at all locations for Learn to Sail Courses.
Designed by Jeanneau, The Moorings 51.4 is an innovative monohull with dual helms, all lines leading aft for easy handling, a fully equipped Raymarine Navigation system, electric windlass and winches, bow thrusters and a 75 HP Yanmar engine. There’s plenty of room on deck and in the cockpit for recreation and relaxation, with a fold-down swim platform aft, bench seating and a large table with icebox and storage compartments. In the interior of this type of sailboat there is a large saloon with seating for six, a table, lots of windows, and radio/CD/MP3 player with speakers throughout. The galley includes everything you need, and the navigation station provides a chart table with reading light, bookshelf and ample storage space. The Moorings 51.4 has four double cabins, each with its own en-suite bathroom and shower, and the saloon table can be converted into a berth. The forepeak also has a berth large enough for one adult, with a sink and fan. The entire interior, expect the forepeak, has generator-driven air conditioning. Offshore Sailing School’s Fast Track to Cruising, Live Aboard Cruising and Bareboat Charter Cruising Courses are available aboard this vessel in the British Virgin Islands.
Catalina Morgan 440
The Catalina Morgan 440 represents the best of two great brands. Used exclusively at our St. Petersburg, FL location, this three-cabin 44′ yacht combines the rugged offshore features of Morgan with the comfort, ergonomics and style of a Catalina. Air-conditioned by an 8 kw Mastry generator, the 440 type of sailboat has a gorgeous main salon with flat screen TV and stereo. Great visibility comes from the raised cabin sole and large, wide, cabin windows with 6’2” headroom below. Navigating is comfortable below and on deck with tri-data speed and wind instruments and a chart plotter at the helm. The Catalina Morgan 440 carries a roller furling genoa, big mainsail with jiffy reefing and Stack Pack, and asymmetrical spinnaker. Offshore Sailing School’s Fast Track to Cruising, Live Aboard Cruising and Bareboat Charter Cruising Courses are available aboard this vessel in St. Petersburg, FL.
The Colgates chose the Jeanneau 439 for Offshore Sailing School cruising courses in Florida because it is fast and fun, with a big sail plan including an asymmetric spinnaker, twin steering wheels, large cockpit and spacious interior layout. Below are four cabins and two heads with showers, in a clean and beautiful design with rich wood finish and light headliners. Solid wood handholds create a safe and seaworthy interior. A superb nav station with chartplotter (also at the helm), PC interface for two Simrad IS20 graphic displays and wind display, compliment the spacious main salon and galley. The Jeanneau 439’s innovative deck plan makes sailing easy, while maintaining performance. The high-aspect rig carries a large roller furling genoa, mainsail with jiffy reefing asymmetric spinnaker with pole. The cockpit of this type of sailboat has a large folding table. An aft platform opens with an integrated swim ladder, and closes to provide security when underway. A generator provides air-conditioning when needed. Two Offshore 439s are available for Offshore Sailing School’s Fast Track to Cruising, Live Aboard Cruising and Bareboat Charter Cruising Courses are available aboard our Jeanneau 439s out of Captiva Island and Ft. Myers Beach, FL.
The Leopard 48 catamaran won Cruising World Magazine’s prestigious Multihull of the Year in 2013. It’s raised helm station, where all sail controls lead for easy handling, provides excellent visibility with ample seating. The bright, airy saloon has a table that seats eight, in an open floor plan that includes the galley with a large freezer,fridge, stove and prep areas. There is access to a forward cockpit from the saloon with steps to the deck and large sliding doors open to the aft deck with another table that seats eight, a BBQ, swim platform with outdoor shower, dinghy davits and steps up to the steering station. Below are three spacious cabins, each with a private bathroom and shower, and separate quarters for the instructor. For more information about this type of sailboat click here, and for a copy of the Multihull Magazine boat review, click here. The Leopard 48 is one of the catamarans used in the British Virgin Islands for Fast Track to Cruising, and Live Aboard Cruising courses.
Offshore Sailing School has purchased a brand new 4-cabin Leopard 40 which will be available for Fast Track to Cruising, and Live Aboard Cruising courses starting July 1, 2019 at the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village. New for 2018, the Leopard 40 has an innovative layout with a forward-facing galley, more space below than previous similar designs with concealed strip lighting under shelves, berths and ceiling fixtures. The main saloon, galley and navigation areas provides more space for relaxation than other catamarans of similar size, and no other yacht in this class of sailing catamarans boasts the speed, agility, or blue water performance of this spectacular addition to the Offshore Sailing School fleet. If you cannot wait until summer to take a Catamaran Live Aboard Cruising course in Florida, head to the beautiful Scrub Island Resort, Marina & Spa in the British Virgin Islands for spectacular sailing and ultimate sail-training aboard Moorings and Sunsail catamarans (see below).
The Moorings 3900 is available for live aboard and shore based catamaran cruising courses based at our Scrub Island Resort campus in the British Virgin Islands. Built by Robertson & Caine, this popular three or 4-cabin model with two heads combines the best features for relaxation and easy sailing. This type of sailboat has a raised helm station with 360° visibility beneath a hardtop bimini, while a separate extended hardtop shades the spacious cockpit area. Equipped with a full suite of Raymarine navigational electronics, cockpit-led sail controls, anchor system with electric windlass, convenient dinghy davit with electric winch, twin diesel engines and generator and AC throughout when needed, this fun boat is all about sailing comfort. The fully equipped ergonomic galley has a stove with oven and broiler, and large refrigerator-freezer system. A spacious main salon with panoramic visibility and lots of natural light, and airy cabins in each hull, round out your cruising training experience.
This super-comfortable catamaran has four spacious cabins, a large main saloon with seating for up to 8 people, fully-outfitted galley and navigation station. Its covered forward cockpit is accessible from the main saloon, providing lots of space for studying, socializing and relaxing. All four cabins are large with en-suite shower rooms and toilets. Like all the catamarans in our fleet, the 444’s low stern platforms make it easy to get in and out of the dinghy and the waer when swimming and snorkeling. Its design makes it fun to sail up wind as well as downwind, and when steering the helmsman has 360° visibility, just like the Leopard 40 with fully out-fitted electronic aids.
Offshore Sailing School teaches Fast Track to Power Cruising courses on Moorings power cats ranging in length from 36′ to 47′. All of these yachts are Morrelli & Melvin Designs, built by South African builder Robertson and Caine. On a Moorings power cat you can move about easily on two or three spacious levels with striking features. The top level is the spacious flybridge with a centrally positioned helm station offering excellent all-around visibility. These vessels are equipped with a large color chartplotter, VHF radio, autopilot, depth-sounder and speedometer. The main deck features an open plan with outdoor and indoor dining areas, a spacious salon with navigation station, fully equipped galley and wet bars on some of the larger sizes with a serving window to the cockpit area. Layouts are clear and uncluttered with wide side decks, walk-through access to the aft swim platforms, propane barbecue and aft bench that converts to a swim platform. The huge foredeck offers additional lounging and seating. The yachts are equipped with generator-powered air-conditioning. Below decks are three or four double cabins with en-suite toilets and showers (on the larger yachts), a huge main salon and galley; and entertainment equipment including a stereo/CD player, flat screen TV with DVD player. All Fast Track to Power Courses are available from The Moorings base on Wickhams Cay in Tortola, British Virgin Islands.