VDWS Youth Basic Licence (Dinghy)

2 days

The course


A VDWS youth course to develop skills and prepare for sailing without an instructor on board. The course follows a syllabus set by the VDWS which covers safety, launching, returning and sailing upwind and downwind. A capsize drill is included.

Teaching method

Initially in 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 teaching students to manage the boat and how to crew. We use two-handed dinghies initially for all students and move to single-handed when skills and conditions suit.

Course and session timing

The Basic Licence for Youth sailors (Grundschein) is normally run over 4 sessions of 3 hours, with dates arranged for each individual or small group. Some theory sessions ashore and a small multi-choice exam at the end of the course. After the Grundschein, further modules can be taken such as better Beating and downwind sailing, Trapezing and Gennaker.

Pre-course experience

A wonderful course for Youth sailors (ages 11 to 14) which focusses on fun and skills in small dinghies.

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)


  • Rigging and de-rigging a boat
  • Leaving and returning to shore
  • Steering and tacking, including Q-tacks
  • Sailing upwind and downwind
  • Man overboard
  • Capsize and recovery
  • Sailing theory

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 VDWS course book covering the activities. 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.