Sailing Enhances Leadership Skills and Team Productivity

Fort Myers, FL, April 17, 2008 --( Offshore Sailing School’s Corporate Sail-Race Challenge® programs are increasingly popular among companies interested in team building and leadership development. Utilizing sailing to promote growth, communication and strategic implementation in the workplace, Offshore Sailing School helps corporations and organizations refresh their crews under sail. In four hours, disparate individuals with no sailing experience become successful teams working together as racing crews, steering and trimming sails to cross the finish line first.

Half-day and full-day Challenges are convenient for companies who want quick results near headquarters or in a resort setting. Many companies, combine a half or full day on the water with a focused meeting in a relaxed environment like South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, Florida. Some corporations and groups are also utilizing Offshore Sailing School’s broad capabilities to run leadership development programs in the British Virgin Islands while participants live together on large yachts provided by The Moorings, the most prestigious charter company in the world.

“The need for team building continues to grow through prosperous and challenging times,” says Steve Colgate, Chairman of Offshore Sailing School. “Sailing is an activity that anyone can participate in at any age. It evokes quick actions, team efficiency and unique problem solving skills all of which are relevant for groups that must interact day to day in the work place.” Colgate founded Offshore Sailing School in 1964 and caught Business Week’s attention two years later. He says the analogies between sailing and business are many, comparing changes in the marketplace to wind shifts out on the water. “When traditions and norms suddenly change,” he says, “companies need to react quickly, just as sailors do when suddenly hit by a fast moving squall. Solving problems and reaching goals require communication that works, whether on board or in the office.”

Corporate Sail-Race Challenges® are conducted aboard Colgate 26 sport boats, specifically designed for teaching by Colgate and America’s Cup naval architect Jim Taylor. With spacious cockpits and a coaching platform for the instructor, this award winning trainer has been the boat of choice for the United States Naval Academy since 1997, with the United States Coast Guard Academy, Maine Maritime Academy, United Kingdom Sailing Academy and other service institutions following suit. It is just as popular with recreational and racing sailors.

“Sailing is a multi-task activity,” explains Colgate. “It depends on interaction between skipper and crew who all must react to changing conditions as a team. That’s what makes it such a valuable tool for simulating and solving corporate issues.” Whether a four-hour hands-on sailing experience or multi-day customized program, subtle leadership and team building skills are developed as attendees learn the basic skills of sailing, culminating in exciting competition between boats. In longer programs, on-water and classroom sailing instruction are combined with structured corporate meetings, working the principals of sailing into the meeting’s purpose. “We ask everyone aboard to rotate positions, so each person becomes a crew member or captain at some point during the exercises,” says Colgate. “There’s a sudden reality check when the CEO realizes he or she is taking orders from a sales manager, who has just as much vested interest in working towards their common goal. Likewise, that sales manager begins to understand the issues at the top when she or he has to take the helm.”

Offshore has conducted Challenges for groups as small as eight and as many as 90. Dr. Pepper/7 Up, UBS Investment Bank, Pfizer Pharmaceutical, Boston Red Sox, Chrysler, Mannington Mills, Amaranth, Bain & Co., Bank of America, Cisco Systems, Credit Suisse of Boston, Ford Motor Co., Jefferies & Company, Kraft Foods, Jet Blue Airways, Young Presidents’ Organization, The Hartford, Chep Equipment Pooling Systems, Popular Mechanics Magazine, Novo Nordisk, Applebee’s International, MetLife, JPMorgan Chase, Cadbury Schweppes, Outward Bound, Burger King, the Pepsi Bottling Group, and the American Medical Association are some of the many corporations and organizations that have participated.

Corporate Sail-Race Challenges® are offered throughout the year in the British Virgin Islands and at three of the school’s Florida locations: Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa in Ft. Myers, South Seas Island Resort on Captiva and Hawk’s Cay Resort and Spa in the Keys. April through October these programs are also available out of Liberty Landing Marina in New Jersey, Chelsea Piers in New York City, and The Inn at Perry Cabin in St. Michaels, Maryland. Instructor-coaches are US SAILING certified with strong backgrounds in corporate and individual training.

For more information, visit or call 800-221.4326.

Offshore Sailing School
Doris Colgate
Editor's Note: For images to accompany this article, contact Mary Orme at or 727-733-9332.