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. Steve was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2015, and is the pre-eminent sailing educator worldwide. Doris was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2022.
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, many sail and power yachts and a faculty 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 taking a course at Offshore Sailing School, number more than 160,000. Listen to a talk Steve and Doris made online in March 2023, to the Yale University Class of 1957, Steve’s alma mater.
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, and the Chesapeake; the Bahamas and both coasts of Florida in many Southern Ocean Racing Series (SORC); Palma, Majorca; and other European destinations.
Giving Back in Many Ways
From 2004-2019 the Colgates supported The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Leukemia Cup Regattas. To date, Offshore Sailing School has donated more than $175,000 and hundreds of in-kind sailing course donations which are auctioned off at Leukemia Cup Regattas across the U.S. Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School has hosted five Fantasy Sail Weekend events for top Leukemia Cup Regatta fundraisers, donating the use of the school’s Colgate 26 fleet and instructor time.
In addition to many other causes, Steve and Doris Colgate have supported the American Heart Association (AHA), Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, and numerous arts and cultural organization. Doris Colgate has been on the board of the Florida Repertory Theatre in Ft. Myers, Florida for more than 10 years.
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, now called World Sailing, where he was a member of that organization’s Youth and Development Committee. In the past, the Colgates provided free use of their Captiva Island, Florida Colgate 26 fleet for those attending US Sailing’s 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. Steve was inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2015 and Doris became a Hall of Famer in 2022.
Doris received the Leadership in Women’s Sailing Award in 2004 from the National Women’s Sailing Association and BoatUS, and is one of three PACE Center for Girls 2019 Grande Dames, honored at the 2019 Grande Dames Tea in March 2019. In October 2019, the prestigious Gulfshore Life Magazine featured Doris Colgate in an article about “Game Changers.” Titled For Love of the Game Doris talked about her work with the National Women’s Sailing Association and why she started the “AdventureSail” program to get at-risk girls out on the water.
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 and the New York Yacht 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. The Colgate’s biography OFFSHORE High, written by Herb McCormick, was published by Seapoint Books in 2022, and is available through Offshore Sailing School, Amazon, and in bookstores.