Sails is located in the heart of Dartmouth overlooking the port and Coronation Park with views of the Royal Naval College. It is a landmark building with the design inspiration coming from the sails of a sailing clipper.
Dartmouth has a seafaring history dating back to the Crusades when it was the sailing point. It was a home of the Royal Navy from the reign of Edward 111 and was twice surprised and sacked during the Hundred Year’s War after which the mouth of the estuary was closed each night with a great chain and protected by two fortified castles. The port was also a major base for privateering in the Middle Ages.
The oldest street in Dartmouth is Smith Street recorded by name in the 13th Century. In 1373 Geoffrey Chaucer visited and among the pilgrims in his Canterbury Tales
“A schipman was ther, wonyng fer by weste;
For ought I wost, he was Dertemouthe.”
Dartmouth sent numerous ships to join the English fleet that attacked the Armada in 1588 and during the next century the Pilgrim Fathers put in to Dartmouth en route from Southampton to America. In the latter part of World War 11 the town was the base for American forces and one of the departure points for Utah beach in the D Day landings. Tradition continues to this day with the town being home to the Briannia Royal Naval College where all officers of the Royal Navy and many foreign naval officers are trained.
The harbour remains a hive of activity with three ferries criss crossing the estuary; fishing boats coming and going; tugs piloting cruise liners, pleasure boats and the mass of yachts that are moored in the harbour and the marina.