RYA Windsurfing Instructor Pre Course Quiz


NOTE:  This questionnaire has been designed to test candidates theoretical and general windsurfing knowledge and understanding of the RYA National Windsurfing Scheme.  You are advised to prepare written answers to all these questions before attending the course.  Your answers to these may well serve as a useful reference when you arrive.  Your knowledge will be tested throughout the course.


  1. What is the no-go zone?
  2. Draw a sketch of the basic points of a sail
  3. Explain, using a diagram, how a sail works
  4. Explain, using a diagram, the difference between laminar and turbulent flow
  5. Describe how you would tune a modern sail for:
    • Stronger winds
    • Lighter winds
  6. What are the main functions of a dagger board?
  7. Show, using a diagram for each, the relationship between the centre of effort of the sail and the centre of lateral resistance of the board when:
    • heading up
    • sailing straight
    • bearing away


  1. What are the advantages of a retracting daggerboard?
  2. Explain, using a diagram, the term apparent wind
  3. How do you know when someone is sailing too close to the wind?
  4. What is the slowest point of sailing in a Force 3 wind?
  5. Explain why a board luffs if the rig is not brought to the balance point?
  6. What is the fastest point of sailing in a Force 3 wind? Why?
  7. Describe the following:
    • Head to wind position
    • Illustrate the above, showing in your drawing, board, wind and sail position
  8. What causes daggerboard planing? Give at least 2 ways of controlling it
  9. Sailing in a harness your back arm is doing all the work. Are the harness lines:
    • too far back
    • too far forward
    • in the car
  1. List 5 freestyle manoeuvres for light winds
  2. List 5 freestyle manoeuvres performed in planing conditions
  3. Sailing on a broad reach with the daggerboard down in Force 2 winds, depressing the windward rail will generally cause the board to:
    • luff up
    • bear away
    • sink
  4. How would you describe a tack to a beginner?
  5. Your pupil keeps dropping the rig in gusts. Give at least 2 methods to correct this


  1. Explain how a wetsuit works
  2. What are the main characteristics considered important for a beginners board
  3. Give 2 important considerations for an uphaul on a beginners rig
  4. What are the advantages and disadvantages of polyethylene over composite?
  5. What are the main advantages and disadvantages of:
    1. a single lined wetsuit
    2. a double lined wetsuit
  6. Draw a diagram naming the 3 corners and 3 sides of a sail
  7. Give the 3 main characteristics of a good beginners simulator


  1. On weather maps, how is an occluded front indicated? (Diagram)
  2. Give 2 units for the measurement of wind
  3. Give 2 names for a low pressure area
  4. When, during a day, is a sea breeze usually at its strongest?
  5. Explain, using diagrams, how a sea breeze is established
  6. In the Northern Hemisphere, the wind caused by a depression blows in which direction?
  7. Describe a Force 4 in:
    • general terms
    • open sea state
    • knots
  8. What is the difference between a land breeze and a sea breeze
  9. What is an anti-cyclone commonly called?
  10. What is atmospheric pressure measured in?
  11. Draw a diagram of a bay indicating:
    • the ideal spot for beginners
    • the area you would expect rough water
    • the area you would expect calm water
    • a lee shore
  12. What is the ideal wind direction for first time wave riding?
  13. Which wind and tide directions produce the worst sea state?
  14. Give 4 sources of weather forecasts
  15. On a weather map showing isobars very close together, what wind conditions would you expect?


  1. Draw a diagram to indicate the rule of twelfths
  2. How often do neap tides occur?
  3. How are the earth, sun and moon positioned during a Spring tide?
  4. At which stages of a lunar month is a beach only likely to be completely covered by water?
  5. Along any stretch of coastline, give two places where you would expect to find the strongest tidal streams
  6. Give 4 sources of tidal information
  7. What are the initials of the buoyage system in operation around the UK?
  8. Under the system in the above question, what colour buoys mark the shipping channels close to ports?


  1. Describe 2 methods of self-rescue
  2. Describe how you would use a towing line
  3. In self-rescue, what important steps should you take if it fails and you anticipate help will be some time?
  4. Describe the hand signals for ‘help’
  5. How could you tow without a towline?
  6. How would you deal with a broken fin?
  7. What equipment would you consider carrying when sailing on open sea?


  1. What should you carry in a safety boat at sea?
  2. What is the difference between a buoyancy aid and a lifejacket?
  3. What is the telephone number of the HM Coastguard?
  4. Between sailing craft what are the 3 main Rules of the Road?
  5. What is the overriding principle of the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (IRPCS)?
  6. What are the 7 common senses?


  1. A powerboat collides with a board. By the time you arrive in the safety boat, the casualty has a badly gashed leg, is unconscious and not breathing.  What do you do first?
  2. What should you do with an unconscious but breathing person?
  3. What 2 actions would you take to stop minor bleeding?
  4. List the 4 main symptoms of Hypothermia?
  5. What major precautions should you take to prevent sunstroke?
  6. What should you not give to a patient with hypothermia?
  7. You have given first aid to a person with a badly cut foot. On your way to shore you notice that the blood has soaked through your dressing.  Which of the following would you do:
    • remove it and apply a clean one
    • apply a further dressing
    • elevate the foot
    • amputate
  8. If unable or unwilling to do rescue breaths how many chest compressions would you give an adult continuously per minute.
    • 30 per minute
    • 75 per minute
    • 100 per minute
    • 120 per minute
  9. In cases of apparent drowning there may be no pulse. What is the ratio of CPR in an adult?
  10. What would change when giving CPR to a child?


  1. Why is it considered essential to develop upwind sailing before downwind sailing skills?
  2. What manoeuvre do we teach between secure position and sailing position, and why?
  3. What are the elements to the Fastfwd coaching method, and where are they used in the national scheme?
  4. What sequence of movements should a beginner follow if they want to stop?
  5. When following a pupil on your board, where should you be in relation to them?
  6. What is the minimum age to qualify as a RYA Start Windsurfing Instructor?
  7. Name the stages of the RYA National Windsurfing Scheme
  8. An Intermediate non planing instructor is qualified to teach and assess what courses?
  9. Give the teaching points of the sailing position
  10. What is the maximum instructor/pupil ratio on the Start Windsurfing course?
  11. What is the maximum recommended ratio for pupils to rescue boats?
  12. List the 5 stages and subsequent subsections of Onshore 1 in order
  13. List 5 facilities that a school MUST provide
  14. What standard should a pupil have attained before receiving a Start Windsurfing certificate?
  15. What questions should you ask a new group of pupils on, or preferably before arrival?
  16. What are the pre-requisites for an Intermediate instructor course?
  17. Who may use the RYA’s name in advertising?
  18. In an ideal situation, what would be the teaching sequence of a Start Windsurfing course?
  19. What is the purpose of the sailing across the wind exercise on the water or simulator?
  20. What 3 things should the instructor define before sending the group on the water?