Getting to the Isle of Man for the
TT centenary 2007

Having decided that club members would visit the Isle of Man to help celebrate the centenary of the Tourist Trophy (TT), it was then a matter of trying to book the travel.

The only way I know if getting the bikes to the island is via the Steam Packet Co. Love 'em or loath 'em, you have to deal with them. We had to pay 248 return per couple with a motorbike from Heysham to Douglas and 173 for a single adult and a motorbike. About a month later (June 2007) I note that the cost for a couple and a motorbike on the same crossing at the same time of day is 137.00.

Some people would say that this is profiteering, some would say that it is just a case of supply and demand. It is clear that the demand was far more than the ferry company could cater for or for that matter, the island's tourist industry. Whatever your views on the pricing, there can be no denying that the extra demand from people wishing to take part in the centenary celebrations caused a major headache to those responsible for making it all work.

People must judge from their own experiences, whether the efforts worked. Our group found that, apart from minor issues, the whole thing worked well overall. From ferry booking to loading of the bikes, tying up, events on the island etc. we had good memories of the time there.

There were some issues that we had and I am sure that these will be touched upon later.

The outgoing vessel was boarded at Heysham, that's way up North, for a 3.30hrs leave. Yup, that's the middle of the night. On top of that, due to the problems of securing so many motorbikes, all motorcyclists are asked by the Steam Packet company to book in a full 2 hours before sailing.

Above, the bikes can be seen on the deck of the Superseacat Two. Panniers/soft luggage and a towel or similar is always advisable on any ferry to help reduce the chances of damage, but particularly so when on the vessel Ben My Chree that was used for the return trip.

At least on the Superseacat Two, there are good walkways to access the bikes. The Ben My Chree loaders squeezed bikes in so tight that many were leaning against each other with no way to walk between them.

Arriving much earlier than expected due to being on a fast ferry, Douglas greeted us new arrivals with a wonderful 5am scene. Even the Seagulls joined in the welcome and obliged to pose for the camera.

Douglas Promenade was certainly looking more inviting than the last time we made a visit back in 1993. The old girl was looking tired and in need of an uplift and as befits the 100th birthday celebrations of the worlds greatest motor sport event, Douglas rose to the occasion.

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