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2nd June, 2018

Douglas, Isle of Man

After a relatively foggy night we arrived at the Douglas anchorage ready for the fames TT race. There was no compulsory pilotage so I did not take one!! Emmeline our Chief Officer “drove in” to the anchorage and ordered the port anchor let go. It was a fairly shallow anchorage at only 12 meters depth with good holding ground.

We were ready to start our tendering operation at 0700, although not surprisingly there was very little demand!! In fact it was only Kevin Woodford (celebrity chef) and his wife that went off early as they live on the Island. Kevin and his wife Jean have become great friends and Kevin arranged to collect a few of us from the tender pier and take us to the TT races. With his contacts we were very fortunate to have a VIP pass, but before we scouted the TT main site, he took us on a drive to follow the exact route the “bikers” and “sidecar” racers would take during the afternoon. With a small glass of “bubbles” and some strawberries for the drive round we got off to a good start. It was fantastic to follow the route and Kevin was a superb host indicating the speeds the bikes would be at for various corners, hills etc – mind blowing speeds!!

Unfortunately we could not complete the whole course as the “mountain” section was closed due to an accident, so we took a quick detour to the coast and then stood chatting by the ocean with a greasy bacon butty and a coffee – perfect!!

We then headed back to Douglas to watch the start of the Superbikes race. This was due to start at 1200 unfortunately due to poor visibility this got delayed to around 1400. Eventually the riders were called to action and then approx 80 bikes were dispatched at 10 second intervals. We were stood right by the start line and what a roar as the bikes pulled away and got up to speeds of around 200 mph within a very small period of time. You could smell the hi-octane fuel. Wow what an experience. The RST Superbike TT Race consists of 6 laps of 37 miles and the current record was set by Michael Dunlop in 2016 with a time of 1;44.14.215 and an average speed of 130.306 mph. After all the bikes had left there we then headed out on the road with Kev and the gang with stops at Bray Hill to observe them at approx 150 mph coming in and out of a dip, and then we headed to the stand on the corner of Creg Ny Baa to watch their cornering technique and the unbelievable angle the bikes and riders get to. We stayed ta Creg Ny Baa awaiting the arrival of the Sidecar TT. Unfortunately there was a serious accident before the sidecar racers got to us, so the race was stopped until further notice. We then headed back to the main site with Kevin and hooked up with Phillip McCellan who was “hosting” some VIP’s who had paid £1500 a day for some special treatment. Phillip is a great guy who seems to know everyone at the TT races. Within 5 minutes of arriving at the super VIP section we were inside the special enclosure and having a lovely time.

The Sidecar TT was also put back after the earlier accident and finally it got underway around 1900. For the hour or so before that Phillip took me on a behind the scenes tour into the pits and then to the press office. The pits area was fantastic and I got to sit astride one of the superbikes and a sidecar as shown in the photos.

I finally got back to the ship about 2000 and at 2115 we “weighed” anchor leaving Douglas in our wake and set sail towards Portland.

Captain Julian Burgess

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