VDWS Grundschein Dinghy

12 hrs

The course

A VDWS course enabling you to sail a boat and understand how it works. The course follows a syllabus set by the VDWS which covers safety, launching, returning and sailing upwind and downwind. We include a capsize drill to assure you of safety if renting from us afterwards.

Teaching method

Using a small dinghy, with one instructor per boat, we will give you a chance to helm and crew the boat, developing a full range of sailing skills. The instructor will demonstrate manoeuvres and teach you to helm the boat and to be a competent crew. We use two-person dinghies with centreboards (not keels) and include a capsize drill in the standard course. Single-person dinghies can be taught as an additional module of 2-, 4- or 6-hours.

Course and session timing

Usually run in 2- or 3-hour sessions totalling 12 hrs and including a one hour multi-choice exam. Sessions are mainly practical so make sure you are ready to go on the water at the start of your session

Pre-course experience

The VDWS basic sailing licence serves as a proof of competence for sailing and needs no previous experience. Here you can prove your theoretical and practical capabilities by exam. The training is mainly practically orientated and avoids getting into deeply theoretical material. The basic licence makes an ideal entry point into the sport of sailing. It also provides the basics needed to go on for other sailing qualifications.

How to book

Courses can be booked by contacting the ESS office by email, phone or enquiry form on the website (a button on this page will pop-up a booking form, another button is a general info form)


  • Wind awareness, rigging, parts of the boat
  • Sailing across the wind, stopping (lying-to), speed control
  • Basic tacking (turning the front of the boat through the wind)
  • Basic gybing (turning the back of the boat through the wind)
  • Sailing upwind and downwind
  • Launching and landing
  • Awareness of other water users and basic knowledge of the rules of the road
  • Safety, personal buoyancy and weather conditions

Course progression

Course start

Our courses run daily upon request.

What's provided

We will provide the boat, instructor and course materials such as a course handbook (in English, German or Italian) covering the activities (and more) and containing a practice exam. You should bring your own sailing shoes or old trainers for use in the boat.

Other courses

See a course in progress

Please ensure that you read and understand our COVID-19 procedures and the terms and conditions of your course contract with us. Copies of these will be emailed with your course confirmation and are available, laminated, at the beach. You will be asked to sign to confirm that you have read and understood them.