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African Queen
8 Chestnut Grove
South Devon

Dartmouth Harbour

Dartmouth boasts probably the most spectacular and beautiful deep water harbour in the West Country, Dartmouth is accessible at any state of tide, in any weather and at any time of day or night. Situated within a designated area of outstanding natural beauty. With its breathtaking views it is not surprising Sir Francis Drake regularly sailed here for pleasure, it is surely a boat lover's dream come true. With warm summers and mild winters, average sunshine hours being amongst the highest in the country, you can see how the South Devon coastline, with it's splendid sub tropical plants and palm trees has been dubbed the 'English Riviera'.

Dartmouth Town
Dartmouth town lies close to the mouth of the River Dart and is one of the great historic towns of England. It has been an important trading port for centuries and sailors have set out from here to sail the world.The Mayflower left here for America in 1520, an event recorded on a stone. Indeed, it was from the cobbled quay of Bayards Cove in 1620 that the Pilgrim Fathers set sail for the new world, today a plaque on the quay commemorates this event. Bayards Cove, with its own castle, has little changed since the reign of Henry VIII and earlier in 1147 Dartmouth was the Northern European gathering point for the 2nd Crusade. Dartmouth castle was built on a rocky promontory overlooking the mouth of the River Dart. The original fortress was begun in the 14th century in the very yard of St. Petroc's Church, whose tombstones reach up to its walls, but most of the building was carried out during the 15th century. It is the earliest surviving English coastal castle specifically designed for artillery. It consists of a square and a round tower built next to each other to fit the shape of the rock. Another castle was built on the opposite bank at Kingswear and both fortifications were designed as protection against French pirates. During the Civil War Royalists besieged and captured the castle and held it for three years. When the Parliamentarians under Sir Thomas Fairfax attacked and took the town, the Royalists surrendered the castle the next day. During World War II a brick gun shelter was built at the castle for use against a possible German invasion. The Town offers a variety of specialist shops, restaurants and inns to serve sailors, continuing a tradition which has survived centuries. Walk into the narrow streets with the long flights of steep steps, old quays and the overhanging medieval houses, then you can easily imagine yourself back in the old days of wooden sailing ships and press gangs collecting new recruits from the ale houses. The narrow streets with their elegant houses and pretty period cottages are here for those with time to explore, but be warned, you could fall under the magic spell and be drawn back to Dartmouth year after year. What sailor, after a long voyage, could ever forget the picturesque river with Dartmouth and Kingswear Castles either side welcoming him home.

The River Dart & Dittisham
What ever the weather at sea, you don't have to go out of the river Dart, as the African Queen can navigate the three miles up river to the picturesque and charming village of Dittisham at any state of the tide. The river provides a fascinating and continually changing panorama of activity with fishing boats, yachts, moored craft, ferries, cruise ships, coasters, frigates, customs cutters and the occasional submarine, you will pass the famous Britannia Royal Naval College situated on a hill on the west bank of the river. Naval officers have been undergoing training in Dartmouth since 1863, firstly on the wooden two decker man of war "Hindostan" and then the three decker "Prince of Wales" renamed Britannia in 1869. Continuing up stream the river is navigable for 8 miles to Totnes at High Water, Picturesque villages, peaceful countryside, steep sided wooded hills (the name Dart comes from the Celtic word darthe meaning oak) and there is plenty of wildlife to see, it is not unusual to see a seal or two sunbathing on the Anchor Stone Rock just below Dittisham

Totnes is a fascinating old market town and boats can stay alongside the quay for a couple of hours near high water. Here you can stroll along the river walk and island gardens or explore some of the intriguing back streets of the town
Day Cruising from Dartmouth

As you come out between Dartmouth and Kingswear castles , the glittering expanse of Start Bay beckons you seawards for the sheer pleasure of being afloat. The unmistakable profile of Start Point lies eight miles to the south-west, and between Dartmouth and Start you have a fine choice of coves, beaches and anchorages. Red lap Cove is only just around the corner beyond Combe Point, and then the impressive sweep of Blackpool Sands opens up just west of Stoke Fleming village. Beyond Strete Head the long line of Slapton Sands curves south for nearly three miles to Torcross. Then, in the most southerly crook of Start Point, you can anchor off either of the two small fishing villages known as Beesands and Hallsands. Of course if you fancy a truly lazy day, you can always anchor for lunch in one of the secluded coves just outside Dartmouth entrance - Mill Bay Cove or Newfoundland cove on the east side, or Combe Bay on the west. The time will pass in quiet contentment until the sun creeps round over Start Point and it's time to head back into the river for an evening drink and a relaxed dinner. Not far north-east of Dartmouth, round the spectacular craggy island with its wealth of wildlife, known as the Mew Stone, we can anchor in clear water off Scabbacombe Sands, Mansands or St. Mary's Bay. The sheer bluff of Berry Head lies only five miles north-east of the Dart entrance, beyond which you enter the beautiful expanse of Torbay, with Brixham harbour on the south side and Torquay on the North.

Coastal Cruising Rounding Start Point into Lanacombe bay, lies Salcombe, about 18 nautical miles from Dartmouth, The next port of call west, about 20 nautical miles is the River Yealm and the villages of Newton Ferrers and Noss Mayo, both well worth a visit . Just round the corner from the Yealm is Plymouth Sound for those that are looking for good food, entertainment and on shore facilities. There are a variety of marinas to choose from, most surrounded by a good selection of restaurants, bars and good entertainment. Still going west about 22 nautical miles from Plymouth is the delightful small port of Fowey, there are many good restaurants here. Continuing west there are many other interesting places to visit including Falmouth, Penryn, Mylor and the Helford River. Going east after Brixham and Torquay lie Teignmouth and the River Exe then there is quite a long passage across Lyme Bay and around Portland Bill to Weymouth, about 50 nautical miles from Dartmouth, then on to the Solent.