The Gig racing year rises before the rower as a twin peak, one summit is the brutally simple regatta at Newquay in September - grey and business-like, the other over the May bank holiday is springlike and romantic, taking place in the mythical land of Lyonesse - The Scillies. Add three days of unbroken sunshine, as occurred this year and a sporting venue of unsurpassable beauty is created. 

A 30-strong squad converged by ship, plane and yacht from Dart onto the archipelago to try and make their rowing dreams come true, the portents had been good with strong performances by the club in the Devon winter league. Age comes before beauty at this event; therefore, it is the task of the old men and women to set the ball rolling on the Friday, with one long and one short race.  The vets and super vets took to their maroon gigs Volante and Lightning to get some early success chalked up for the Darts.

The long race provides an epic spectacle of colourful boats ranged across a massive start line all reminiscent of a Roman sea battle, the 1.8-kilometre sprint that follows is no less gruelling.  At the end of this, after dealing with a challenging choppy sea-state, all teams were well placed, but the final position is determined by two sprint races. If the long race is gruelling the short race of 1.4km can only be described as hellish, the slightest relaxation results in the horrible sight of rival boats surging past, as a competitor you are both predator and prey.  When the dust settled and only after photo finish analysis the women “Supers” were second and the men broke the hearts of rival Dutch crew in Amuda to take bronze by a buoy’s length.  Perhaps the standout performance came from the very inexperienced Men’s veteran crew who hauled themselves into tenth position, this for many being their first experience of the Scillies.

With two medals secured the club set about the open competition with zeal. The Men’s A crew had the row of their life finishing eleventh in the long race, the best achieved by the club, but subsequently ended up 26th.  Their female teammates managed 47th and 79th in A and B respectively out of 140 boats.  Unusually Dart had a third boat Nornour in the field which very few other clubs were allowed, and this performed powerfully coming in 63rd.

In summary, the club performed well in a luxurious location, but as always there is more to do as the season proper gets underway, Newquay as ever looms on the horizon.