Dart Gig Club made the short journey to Salcombe for their an­nual gig regatta last Sunday. The Salcombe estuary, as always, gave good shelter from the wind.

The day started out grey and damp, but the sun eventually broke through, giving fairly good racing conditions – just a little swell and chop on the southerly end of the course.

The men's B was the first race of the day. Dart was late to the start line – the longest of the day with 17 boats lined up right across the estuary.

Dart had to take up the only space left – inside the fairway buoys on the Sal­combe side of the estuary. This was the first time the club had raced from this position on the river so they had no idea how they would fare in the water.

The tidal streams in the estuary make for slightly unfair advantages for those boats out to the line first – they always make a dash for the East Port­lemouth side, out of the tide.

The crew had a good start and were up with the leaders right from the beginning.

They settled into a good rhythm, and as the boats closed the first mark it was evident that they were still up with the leaders. A strong push before the first mark put them ahead of local rivals Brixham.

The swells proved a bit tricky, but the crew fought hard to maintain their third place. An additional mark had been added to the usual course, but that did not affect the placing and the crew pushed hard all the way to the finish coming in third.

The next race was the ladies' C. Unfortunately two of the club's ladies were unable to make the event, so two rowers were borrowed from Ilfra­combe and Barnstaple. Dart very quickly pulled away from the rest of the fleet and finished in second place.

The next race was the men's A. Another late arrival at the start line meant they were out in the unfavourable tide. They had a strong start, but unfortunately the leaders pulled away.

Dart were soon be­tween two packs – the leaders and the rear pack. They maintained their place between the two to the finish, coming in eighth out of 15.

The ladies' A race followed. The crew had an excellent start but were unable to maintain their position.

Dart were again rowing from the Salcombe side of the estuary and as the crews closed the first mark it was clear that Dart were again going to fall in behind the front pack and in front of the rear pack.

They maintained their place eighth out of 16 all the way to the finish.

The men's vets were out next. They took up their place on the Sal­combe side of the start line. They had a great start and settled into their rhythm well.

They were up with the leaders and it be­came evident as again the boats closed from the far side of the estuary that Dart were faring well.

A strong push before the first mark got Dart the water over Sal­combe. On the second mark Caradon, the leaders, went slightly wide, allowing Dart to come inside. It was a very short leg to the third mark, not more than 150m, and Dart managed to keep half a length behind Cara­don's bow, which gave Dart the water on the mark.

By that time Dart had got the better of the Caradon crew. Caradon compounded their mistake by heading off in the wrong direction. By the time they saw their error Dart were round the last buoy and heading for home, delighted with their win.

The last race of the day for the club was the ladies' vets. The crew selection got a bit muddled in the rush and they ended up going out with a Brixham lady in the bow.

Another start from the same position on the line saw Dart again up with the leaders. By first mark Dart were in third place. Caradon pushed them all the way home, with Dart maintaining their third place by half a length.

It was a great day out for the club with some very pleasing results for both the men and ladies.

Dart members: Peta Chivers, Clare Thorp, Carol Squire, Paula Hine, Alison Bland, Bonnie Chivers, Katharine Money, Lucy Swash, Linda Cann, Adrian Bailey, Dave Sharam, Chris Gale, Rupert Kempley, Andy Pomeroy, Tony Doidge, Paul Kunert, Luke Cumberlidge, Will Cumberlidge and Michael Bryant-Mole.