Info for beginners | VDWS

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Info for beginners

Dear cat-sailors,
welcome to the VDWS world of catsailing. On this occasion, we would like to come to a few questions that reached us via mail. Besides, you will find: general information concerning the catamaran basic-licence, the instructor apprenticeships, VDWS teaching aids and a list of all watersport schools home and abroad. Enjoy your hunt!

An increasing number of hobby-sportsmen and windsurfers are fascinated by catamaran sailing. Learning catamaran sailing has never been that easy. Even kids and teenagers can turn their dream into reality. How come? You can learn the basics of this type of sport in a few hours. Visiting a good school is the key to a quick success: modern catamarans are used there, guaranteeing a secure and fast way to learn sailing. By using the latest training methods, professional instructors teach you to handle the catamaran in a few hours. The basic course is focused on traffic rules, safety tips and environmental consciousness. It´s important to complete a course with the exam for the basic licence as it is a proof for the practical and theoretical training and makes it easier to hire a catamaran.

Some INFOS for catamaran-beginners

  • Before trying catamaran-sailing or just buying a new boat, it´s essential to be well-informed: the VDWS schools provide you with information.
  • Beginners should look for professional and trained instructors to show them the first steps and to ensure security.
  • To start catamaran-sailing the wind shouldn´t be too strong, there should be only light waves and enough space on the water.
  • While practising the students shouldn´t be obstructed by swimmers or other boats.
  • The school should be well kept. Holes in the beams, old stearing gears or defect sails indicate school deficiencies. In high-quality schools with adequately trained instructors, a basic course takes about 15 hours. A group shouldn´t contain more than 8 students.
  • A catamaran course should be completed with the exam leading to the basic licence, which enables you to hire a catamaran from all schools.
  • A good catamaran school offers all the necessary material, only surf-shoes or sneakers should be brought along because of hygienic reasons.
  • After the basic course it´s advisable to hire a catamaran in the same school or to take part in the advanced training, this will improve your sailing abilities and makes them safe and perfect quickly.

    Catamaransailing Technique

Does catsailing require a special licence?

According to German federal law, sailing, as well as catsailing, does not require an official licence (exception: Berlin). If ever a proof is demanded on federal or community waters, the sailing and catsailing basic-licence are recognised by the corresponding authorities. In other words: there are a few inland waters where the proof of one's sailing abilities is a prerequisite. As this depends on every region's legislation, you should inform at local authorities or a watersportschool. They know best.

What are the contents of t he catamaran basic-licence examination?
The basic-licence is composed of the following parts:

Practice: setting sails and taking them down, casting-off and landing, steering different courses with adequate sailposition, up-wind beating of at least 300 m., tack, jibe, orders, stopping by sailing into the wind and into the waiting-position, capsizing and righting, man-overboard manoeuvre, what to do in special situations.

Theory: Equipment, physics of sailing - specially the position of sails and the wind's and sail force's mode of action, general law, relevant maritime rules, local particularities, meteorology, nature and environment, relevant knots and their different applications, attitudes in emergencies and bad weather conditions, safety.

Does the sailing basic licence represent an official paper?
The sailing basic licence is not an official paper. Thus, a homologation with regard to the German official sailing licence Sportbootführerschein Binnen is not possible.

I would like to rent a catamaran - do watersport schools recognise the basic licence?
Yes, they do. Schools which also propose official licences generally recognise the complete practice part, meaning that after a short introduction the exam for an official paper can be passed. As to the catamaran basic licence: even it is not an official paper, it constitutes a proof of your basic training and the corresponding examination, illustrating by this that you acquired catamaran-specific knowledge and skills. Moreover, the catamaran basic-licence facilitates the renting of a cat and is recognised by every VDWS-school, home or abroad.

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