Hunter Marine extends partnership with sailing school

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Offshore Sailing School and Hunter Marine announced that they've renewed their partnership.

John Peterson, president of Alachua, Fla.-based Hunter Marine, said his company has seen "enthusiastic buyers" come out of the Offshore/Hunter program during the 12-plus-year partnership.

"They tend to choose yachts in the size range they learn on and there's no better way to get people hooked on cruising right out of the gate than combining a great teaching platform, like our 45- and 50-footers, with expert instruction from Offshore's dedicated instructors," he said.

A new Hunter 45 DS is arriving at Offshore's St. Petersburg, Fla., campus this week, and in June two new Hunter 50s will join the school's Captiva Island, Fla., and St. Michaels, Md., fleets.

"All of these new cruising boats will raise the bar in sail training for new sailors who want to gain skills and confidence to start chartering and cruising in 2011," said Steve Colgate, founder and co-owner of the school, in a statement.

The new Hunter yachts will be integral platforms for the school's Fast Track to Cruising course, which starts with two days of basic training on a Colgate 26 and continues with five days of liveaboard education on a large cruising yacht. Sailors who already have basic skills equivalent to Offshore's Learn to Sail course may take the cruising course without the initial training.

With Hunter's support, Fort Myers-based Offshore also is running a six-month contest, which ends in May, for graduates of Offshore Sailing School's Learn to Sail and Cruising courses. The prize is a new Hunter 15 with a trailer.

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