Steve and Doris Colgate’s Offshore Sailing School celebrates its 51st year on Saturday with the seasonal reopening of its two New York Harbor campuses.
Established in 1964 by Olympic and America’s Cup sailor Steve Colgate, the school has offered sailing instruction and a sailing club in New York Harbor since it moved from City Island, N.Y., in 2000. Lessons, certification courses and club activities are provided at the Liberty Landing Marina location in Jersey City and at Pier 25 in Tribeca in New York.
The school uses a Colgate 26 for lessons and certification courses for beginning to intermediate sailors. The school offers US Sailing certification, which is sanctioned by the governing body of sailing in the United States, appointed by Congress.
The school also provides cruising courses on 43-foot Jeanneau cruising yachts, which result in US Sailing Bareboat Cruising Certification.
Steve Colgate designed the Colgate 26 with naval architect Jim Taylor. The design debuted in 1996 and won the Cruising World magazine Boat of the Year Award in the pocket cruiser division in 1997. The Naval Academy first chose the Colgate 26 to train its plebes in 1998 and along with the Coast Guard Academy and Maine Maritime, the Colgate 26 is the training boat of choice to this day.
“I designed the Colgate 26 with performance, safety, comfort, and sophistication in mind,” Colgate said in a statement. “It will not capsize or sink; it is fast, stable and fun to sail with sail adjustments that make transitioning to larger boats easy; and has ergonomic seating and rigid rails for comfortable, safe sailing.”
When Colgate started teaching classroom sessions at 5 East 40th in New York and hands-on training out of Minneford Boat Yard on City Island in 1964, “there were no other sailing schools around,” he said. “We started the hassle-free sailing club concept when we bought the Ratsey & Lapthorn Sailloft property on City Island, N.Y., in 1982, and at that time the only clubs around were private yacht clubs.”
The Colgates sold the Ratsey property in 1987 and moved its school and club operations to the old Colgate factory property in Jersey City, where Colgate’s ancestors started the soap business in the 1800s.
“We have a long and exciting history in New York and New Jersey,” Colgate said, “and we’ve seen impressive changes on both waterfronts in New York Harbor.”
The school has seven locations, including the two in New York Harbor, three resort-based campuses in Florida on the Gulf of Mexico (Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach and St. Petersburg) and two in the British Virgin Islands (Scrub Island Resort and The Moorings).