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Sailing to Dartmouth

Dartmouth is a must for any cruiser to the West Country. A place steeped in tradition, we had visited Dartmouth just a few months before buying our own boat. At the time we remarked how nice it would be to one day sail into this beautiful place. At the time it was just a dream, now it was to become a reality!

Setting our waypoints as follows, we set off from Torquay:

WP1: 50˚24.196N 3˚28.763W Near Berry Head
WP2: 50˚23.617N 3˚28.827W Off Cod Rock
WP3: 50˚20.707N 3˚30.383W South East of Nimble Rock
WP4: 50˚20.136N 3˚31.000W East Blackstone Rock
WP5: 50˚19.842N 3˚31.864W South Cardinal Mewstone
WP6: 50˚19.984N 3˚33.147W Castle Ledge Green Buoy

The day started with light winds, averaging around 6-7 knots so to begin with it was a motor for about an hour. But soon the wind had crept up to around 15 knots from the south. With a reef in our main we turned the engine off and enjoyed around 2 hours of sailing. We also had to don our OS2 Jackets as it got surprisingly chilly out there!

Dartmouth Castle on approach

The entrance to the River Dart is flanked by two castles; Dartmouth Castle on your port side and Kingswear Castle on your starboard. Up on the western side is a row of white cottages, formerly Coastguard cottages, and the steep, wooded shores make for an impressive entrance!

As we approached the entrance we furled away the head sail and turned on the motor, but kept the main up until we were well in the harbour. The entrance is narrow but deep, but soon opens up to reveal the delights of Dartmouth! In fact the rows and rows of moored vessels and the comings and goings of the ‘tripper boats’ and passenger ferries can all be a little overwhelming at first, but it soon becomes apparent that, although a busy place, there is still plenty of room to manoeuvre around.

Calling the Harbour Master up on Channel 11 we were advised that there was space on DA Pontoon, a walk ashore pontoon just a short stroll from the town. Everywhere on the Dart is chargeable, even anchoring (harbour dues). The walk ashore pontoon is £1.46 per metre per night plus 95p per metre per night harbour dues (June 2022) and they do raft.

DA Pontoon on the River Dart

It was a pretty special feeling sailing our own boat into Dartmouth. As mentioned earlier this was something we had dreamt about for a number of years, so it was only appropriate that we enjoyed a celebratory pint! We headed for the Dartmouth Yacht Club which is open to all. They have a small outdoor seating area on the embankment, so it was the perfect spot to sit and watch the hustle and bustle of the river. Afterwards we headed for The Cherub, the oldest and sole surviving medieval house in Dartmouth, believed to have been built in or around 1380. Sadly no local Devon lagers available (a little odd seeing as we were in Devon?!) so we opted for a Korev from nearby Cornwall! This fascinating grade 2 listed building still retains some of its original features, including some old ships’ timbers, and a pint or two in here is certainly recommended!

Cherub Public House in Dartmouth

As it was approaching the Jubilee Weekend and the weather forecast was looking promising, we decided we would stay for a few nights and see what Dartmouth had to offer. Check out our next post where we explore a little more of Delightful Dartmouth! In the meantime why not take a peek at our short video showing our arrival into Dartmouth👇

VIDEO: Sailing into Dartmouth


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