Report 1 - Head of the Dart

Submitted:   Bill Peach and Jonathan Houston
  Kalandia (Parker 325) and Tilikum (Parker 325)
  July 2021

The river Dart does offer a really stunning backdrop with an easily navigable channel which is well marked with lateral buoys along its length, although the last mile or so towards Totnes, the budget for Navigation buoys must have run out, although it did not provide much of a challenge as the channel is quite clear. Once you reach Totnes the boatyard and quay offer a functional but slightly less attractive backdrop.

Options for mooring are either at the Baltic Wharf boatyard on the west bank of the river which only has a few visitor berths on floating pontoons, despite the long wharf. These seem to need to be pre-booked in season. Whilst the bottom at the pontoon is flat and suitable for bottoming out there is a shallow ridge of rocks approximately one boat width outside the berth so it’s fine alongside but not suitable for rafting out. Manoeuvring at mid tide may lead to touching the bottom

We opted to moor along the east bank on Steamer Quay, this does have ladders but a mooring plank/board is quite useful here as with long mooring lines.

It is a short walk into Totnes which has some interesting shopping opportunities especially on market days. Also there is also a Morrisons supermarket and mainline railway station all within an easy walk

There are no facilities alongside, but there public toilets in the car park a few hundred meters away. Having run out of camping gas, I was able to get a replacement from the caravan site on the way to the town. The Totnes Boating Association (on the quayside opposite the campsite) also welcomes vistors.

It is worth noting that at high tide the large ‘tripper ferries’ do come up to Totnes so can create a wash

At low tide we bottomed out on sandy/muddy bottom with a slight outward list but it was quite comfortable. However, we saw at low tide there was also a great deal of debris on the seabed of large logs washed down on the river which fortunately both Tilikum and Kalandia missed by inches