DQSC Dinghy Instructor Training


DQSC are pleased to support the training of junior dinghy instructors as we believe this course provides significant value both to the individuals and the club.

As a dinghy instructor you will be able to support the junior training at Dell Quay under the supervision of our Senior Instructors and it also provides you with a recognised qualification which can be used for holiday jobs both home and abroad.

If you are a competent sailor with a good knowledge of seamanship, and an interest in teaching you will be able to complete the instructor course (you don’t have to be a racer).

We have now got the DI pathway properly in place so the expectation of DQSC is that all future DIs will do:

RYA stages and junior weeks as you lead up to wanting to be involved and then the following courses in the order in which they are written:

  1. Seamanship course
  2. Assistant Instructor (AI) course – no charge for those on the pathway
  3. First Aid
  4. Pre-assessment - you will need to book this yourselves and pay for it - we will advise - please make sure that you have agreement from the chief instructor/Principal that you are ready to progress down the pathway.
  5. Power Boat Level 2 - in the academic year you are 16   (you will need to pay for the above yourself)
  6. Safe and fun on line course - we will advise how to do this nearer the time in the academic year you are 16 
  7. Dinghy Instructor training - when you are 16
  8. Safety Boat course - In the academic year that you are 17 or above 

The above requires practice and experience in between.

There is only one seamanship course and assistant instructor course a year at DQSC so you must get these dates in your diary when they become available and sign up for the seamanship course by registering for junior week when registrations go live.

We will ensure that you practice your seamanship/pre-assessment skills during Junior week and we will give you feedback then as to whether you are ready for the DI Pathway which is when you should then sign up for the Assistant Instructor course.

In exchange for DQSC investing in this training we ask instructors to provide Dell Quay with a minimum of two seasons training support in the two years following your qualification.

If you are interested in becoming a dinghy instructor please contact our Chief Instructor - Sue Nash

Previous successful DI Candidates at our Club

  • 2015: Steve Potter, Rachel Dicker, Mariamne Gordon-Pullar
  • 2014: James White
  • 2013: Phobe Noble, Francesca Sprules, Matthew Smaller, Dominic White
  • 2012: Chloe Atkins, Henry Bettle, Alex Briggs
  • 2011: Dom Buchanan, Will Simpson, Sam Tyler
  • 2010: Ben Hoddy, Alex Manning, Lawrence Smaller, Stu Denyer
  • 2009: Charlotte Buchanan
  • 2008: Dan Pitt, Lucy Goff; Sam Denyer
  • 2007: James Cooper, David Nash
  • 2006: Chris West

DI Role

An instructor is a competent, experienced sailor, capable of sailing a training boat in strong winds and handling small powerboats, you will be competent to teach adults and children, beginners and improvers, in small groups, under the supervision of an RYA Senior instructor.


Prior to the course candidates must fulfil the following requirements:

  • Minimum age 16
  • Valid first aid certificate
  • RYA Powerboat Level 2 certificate
  • RYA Online Safe and Fun Course
  • Pre-entry sailing assessment completed within 1 year prior to the instructor training course.

If you are not yet 16, but are interested in training Juniors, you can become an Assistant Instructor.

This is a recognised qualification which allows you to assist DIs with the training, provided that an SI is present. 

Previous Successful Assistant Instructors:

2015: Becca Boles, Mariamne Gordon-Pullar 

DI Training

Training in teaching techniques afloat and ashore is provided during the instructor training course.

The course will be based on a five-day week course at DQSC during early July.

The moderation / assessment will take place on the final day of the course and will be carried out by a Coach / Assessor who has not been involved in training the candidate.

Candidates will be required to demonstrate competence in course preparation, delivery and management, as well as customer liaison.

Instructor certificates are valid for five years from the date of issue, provided that a valid first aid certificate is maintained.

More details of becoming a Dinghy Instructor can be found in the RYA ‘Dinghy Coaching Handbook’ (G14).


The RYA Pre-entry Assessment
Show them what you can do!

All potential RYA Dinghy Instructors need to demonstrate that they can sail a dinghy to a good standard and have thorough background knowledge before they start their instructor training course. This ensures that the Dinghy Instructor course provides a platform for learning how to teach sailing, rather than learning how to sail properly. We asked Simon Winkley, RYA Coach/Assessor, to give key pointers to help candidates prepare for their Pre-entry Assessment.



Most people are more likely to feel relaxed under the spotlight if they are well prepared. You can help yourself relax by spending time with an experienced RYA Instructor or Coach before the assessment to ensure you understand the level of sailing required. Reading previous Wavelength articles and RYA books such as the Advanced Handbook (G12) and RYA Instructor Handbook (G14) will also help you revise the key points. The Pre-entry Assessment is essentially a run through of manoeuvres within the RYA Seamanship Skills course, and is valid for 12 months. Being well-prepared and having sailed recently is a great place to start and this will generally be apparent to the Coach/Assessor.


The boat

The Coach/Assessor will select the boat on the day, but the choice will usually be dictated by what’s available at the venue. Checking which boats will be available in advance and practicing in those boats (if possible) is ideal. The boats used must be suited to a range of general exercises and so should not be too performanceorientated. They should have a Portsmouth Yardstick of less than 1230 and will typically be a double-hander.


Your chance to shine

Candidates must show an awareness of the Five Essentials at all times (sail setting, balance, trim, centerboard, course sailed). The main exercises that make the assessment are:

  • Sailing around a triangular course

Typically this will be the first exercise which serves as both a good warm-up and an indicator that a candidate’s sailing skills are in the right ballpark.

  • Sailing a tight circular course

This exercise involves making just one smooth tack and one controlled gybe around a free-floating object, such as a safety boat, and helps to demonstrate close-quarters boat handling.

  • Sailing a follow-the-leader course

Follow-the-leader covers all points of sail, and requires good speed and control, as well as the ability to maintain distance.

  • Picking up a man-overboard

This is an essential part of every instructor’s repertoire as it not only displays a good level of control but it proves that the candidate could safely and get to a student who has fallen from the boat.

Other skills that may be looked at are:

  • Rudderless sailing
  • Lee shore departure and landing
  • Picking up a mooring or anchoring
  • Coming alongside a moored boat
  • Capsize recovery

Racing skills will not be assessed, and candidates with a predominantly racing background need to remember that a broad sweep of skills, as above, will form the assessment and type of sailing required of an RYA Dinghy Instructor.

Key insights

All exercises should follow the PAME sequence below to demonstrate a safe and structured approach to sailing.

  • Plan: think smart and in advance of the approach
  • Approach: the area to make the manoeuvre
  • Manoeuvre: draw the techniques together
  • Escape: a plan B in case the approach or manoeuvre goes wrong.

Another important consideration is the success rate of a manoeuvre. Like all measures of competence, it’s not about doing something right just once where luck could possibly have played its part. It’s about demonstrating that you can do it again and again. Achieving success first time every time would be ideal but first time  most of the time might be a more realistic objective! The Coach/Assessor will be looking to confirm that the candidate can sail competently in a controlled manner and communicate clearly with any others in their boat. An overall assessment of ability will be made on the day, so poor performance in one area may well be balanced out by success in another.

Essentially the ability to demonstrate safe and competent sailing across a broad range of exercises will give the Coach/Assessor the confidence to recommend that a candidate is ready to take the RYA Dinghy Instructor course – and then the journey really can begin!



 Useful Links and more information

RYA Dinghy, Keelboat & Multihull Instructor Training Information