Longtime Sail America Member Doris Colgate, Presi- dent and CEO of Offshore Sailing School has breen inducted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame .
Doris Honecker Colgate has been at the forefront of sailing instruction and she has been a leading advocate for advancing opportunities for women in sailing since 1969. She and her husband, Steve, (2015 Inductee) built the Offshore Sailing School into a successful business that has helped many people enjoy their time on the water safely. Over the past 53 years they have taught 160,000 people with courses that have included beginning sailing, adventure cruising and advanced racing techniques.
The Colgates were efficient partners. Steve raced in the America’s Cup trials, the Olympic Games, and in many of the world’s great ocean races. Doris became President of the company in 1978 and built the operation into the largest sailing school in the United States. They have operated sailing training facilities in locations ranging from New York to Florida to Wisconsin and throughout the Caribbean and the Bahamas. In 1990 Doris founded the National Women’s Sailing Association (name was later changed to the National Women’s Sailing Foundation) to create more awareness of sailing among women and to help women to build confidence in their sailing skills.
In 1991 she launched “AdventureSail” a mentoring program for at-risk girls. Doris Honecker grew up in Bethesda, Maryland along with two younger sisters. The family moved to Paris, France where she learned to speak French. She graduated from Antioch College in Ohio. A few years later she ended up in New York City working at Yachting Magazine for Robert Bavier, Jr., the publisher and the skipper of a winning America’s Cup crew. Doris was fascinated by the happiness her co-workers seemed to display. She figured it was because they went sailing. So, she took sailing lessons at the Offshore Sailing School on City Island, New York. She met Steve after completing a summer course and they eventually married on December 17, 1969. A few months later she left Yachting to work alongside Steve at the Offshore Sailing School.
Both were prolific writers. Doris has published five books on her own and co-authored two more books with Steve. The Colgates worked with author Herb McCormick on a book titled, Offshore High. The sub-title reads, Grand Prix Yacht Racing – Big Business – Epic Love Story. They created a boat, the Colgate 26, specifically to teach sailing. The United States Naval Academy acquired a fleet of 30 of the boats to teach Midshipmen the basics of sailing. She served as Chair of the Commercial Sailing School Committee for US Sailing, was a member of the Board of Sail America, and she has received dozens of awards for her work over the years. Doris Colgate aspired to go sailing to make a better life and found a way to improve the lives of many people by making their time on the water special.
Article by Gary Jobson, courtesy of National Sailing Hall of Fame