Steve & Doris Colgate
Sailing changed my life,” says Doris Colgate, co-owner, President and CEO of Offshore Sailing School. “It opened new doors, provided new and lasting friendships, treated me to the most wonderful travel opportunities, and above all – a job and partner beyond my wildest dreams!” That partner is her husband, Steve Colgate, founder, co-owner and Chairman of Offshore Sailing School, one of the foremost racing sailors in the United States recently inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame, and the pre-eminent sailing educator worldwide.
A Passion for Teaching Sailing
Together, Steve and Doris Colgate have grown Offshore Sailing School from a one-branch, two-instructor, two-boat operation to a widely acclaimed school with multiple branches, more than 40 boats and a faculty of full-time instructors unequaled in the industry. Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School is the only sailing instruction program with courses that have been approved for continuing education by the American Council on Education. Offshore Sailing School graduates, many of whom never set foot on a sailboat before, now number more than 140,000.
A Passion for Racing and Cruising
Steve and Doris Colgate have set sail in some of the best cruising grounds in the world, including the Caribbean, Bahamas, the Pacific Northwest, Maine, French Riviera, Croatia, Greece and Turkey, Tonga and Tahiti.
Racing their own 54’ ocean racer Sleuth and later when Steve co-helmed the 82′ maxi-ocean racer Nirvana, Steve and Doris Colgate competed and sailed in England, Hawaii, Hong Kong, China, the Caribbean, Sardinia, Norway, Australia and Tasmania; Bermuda, San Francisco Bay, the Chesapeake, Bahamas, in Southern Ocean Racing Series (SORC) on both coasts of Florida, and Palma, Majorca.
Giving Back in Many Ways
Since 2004 Steve Colgate and his wife, Doris, have supported The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Leukemia Cup Regattas. As of 2014, Offshore Sailing School’s cash donations to LLS have totaled more than $125,000 and in-kind course donations for auctions more than $160,000. In 2013 Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School hosted its fourth Fantasy Sail Weekend for top Leukemia Cup Regatta fund-raisers, donating the use of the school’s Colgate 26 fleet and instructor time.
In addition to many other causes, Steve and Doris Colgate are avid supporters of the American Heart Association (AHA). Doris is a member of the AHA Go Red for Women Society and Steve is a member of the AHA Red Tie Society.
Steve Colgate served as president of the International Sailing School Association from 1997 to 2006. The Colgates have served on the board of Sail America (the official sailing industry association), and Doris Colgate was a member of that organization’s Marketing Committee for many years. As members of US Sailing (the governing body of sailing in the United States) Steve and Doris Colgate have each headed the Commercial Sailing School Committee. Steve Colgate led the US Sailing Training Committee that established the US Sailing certification system, served on its National Faculty for many years, and was a longtime U.S. Sailing delegate to the International Sailing Federation (ISAF) where he was a member of that organization’s Youth and Development Committee. In 2013 the Colgates provided free use of their Captiva Island, FL Colgate 26 fleet for those attending the US Sailing Annual Meeting.
In 1996, Steve and Doris Colgate received SAIL magazine’s prestigious Industry Award for Leadership. In 2003 they were awarded the US Sailing Timothea Larr Trophy recognizing leadership and excellence in sailing. The Lee County Vacation and Convention Bureau (VCB) awarded the Colgates and Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School two prestigious awards: The Junonia Award for their “tremendous commitment and dedication to the Lee County Tourism Industry in 2010,” and The Chrysalis Award in 2013 for expertise in Sales and Marketing. Steve received the US Sailing President’s Industry Leadership Award in 1999. And Doris received the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award in 2004.
The Colgates have written many sailing books and are often called upon to speak about sailing. Steve Colgate wrote two extensive volumes on sailing published by W.W. Norton. His latest book Performance Sailing was published in 2012 by McGraw-Hill. Steve and Doris Colgate co-authored Fast Track to Cruising (2005) and Fast Track to Sailing (2009), both published by International Marine/McGraw-Hill. Doris wrote SAILING: A Woman’s Guide, published by Ragged Mountain Press/McGraw-Hill in 1999.
Steve and Doris Colgate are members of the St. Charles Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, and Royal Ocean Racing Club. Steve is also a longtime member of the Cruising Club of America. They reside in Ft. Myers, Florida – headquarters of the Offshore Sailing School and Colgate 26 enterprises.