DART Gig Club got fully into the spirit of summer over the weekend of the 8-9 June, sending crews across the Irish Sea and perhaps even more dauntingly across the Tamar in search of good racing.

Cork Harbour, one of the largest and most breathtaking natural harbours, provided the venue for the “An Ras Mor”, to which the club sent six doughty Supervets. The event was inspired by the Great River Race held on the Thames at the end of each year, however, it may soon surpass this in popularity and spectacle, attracting as it does, a dazzling variety of oared craft into such a sublime venue.

The Darts, assisted by a Cattewater cox, lined up for this marathon in balmy conditions against everything from St Ayles Skiffs, Dragons, Coastals and Dutch Sloeps, crewed by unusual opposition for the Devonians such as Fergus Currach, Naomhoga and Edermine Ferry RC’s. The 28km course completed in nearly four hours, however, clearly suited them as they emerged as first international crew, first Supervets.

They took advantage of a handicapped start and vanquished the deadly Dragon Craft to cross the line as overall winners, truly a day to remember and more than justifying all the outrageous bodily wear and tear and bother and expense of the journey.

Alternatively, and venturing west over the Tamar, the Open section of the Club quested down to Mount’s Bay for the inaugural Summer Senior Series into the spiritual heartland of the Gig Racing world. Here, victory medals would surely be more difficult to acquire. This regatta showcased a different format from the traditional, involving an initial seeding race followed by shorter point-scoring races over triangles and sprints.

This series replicated in pattern over the season in different venues is planned to give coherence to the summer’s sport rather than the usual disparate though fun individual unrelated events.

Unlike in Ireland, the rival thirty or so other clubs in the Bay were dauntingly familiar such as Looe, Caradon and Falmouth. There were no quirky dragon craft on view just the usual low-slung and menacing gigs of An Dhowrlann, Currah’s Pride and Spriggan amongst many others to vie with Dart’s far travelling Volante.

In the initial seeding race, the women were 27th out of forty-nine crews but by vigorous efforts in the heats hauled themselves up to twenty-first overall, highly creditable considering the auspicious company. The men were twenty-fifth in the long race and held this through the heats. All in all, a fine and varied performance by the Maroons across two very different but inspiring locations.