Where Next?
Bob Williams
Tue 10 Jan 2012 11:00

Position: 35 05.08 S 137 45.03 E
Alongside Edithburgh
Wind: South-west, F5 Moderate Breeze
Weather: Mostly sunny,warm
Distance sailed: 46 nm

Today Mark and I, Starwave and Sylph parted company. Mark is heading back to his marina at Waroona and work on Thursday and Sylph and I will return to Adelaide, but with one more stop via Edithburgh. This will break our return journey into two shorter legs and make them easy day sails.

With this in mind we left Kingscote this morning at 10am headed around the Spit and then turned north for the western side of the Gulf of St Vincent. Initially the wind was in the south which meant a square run, wing on wing, but as we cleared Marsden Point Investigator Strait funnelled the wind more from the west putting it on the beam and so I had to drop the pole to beam reach across the 30 odd miles of the Strait. We made good time with the fresh breeze and in fact needed a reef in the mainsail and the jib partly furled. At 2.20pm I sighted the numerous wind generators that stand high of the low lying coastline and at 3.45 Troubridge Island light was abeam. We hardened up onto the wind and furled a bit more jib. We were now in the lee of the Troubridge shoals so the seas were relatively flat which with the strong breeze made for a brisk ride with showers of spray regularly cascading across the foredeck and coach house. We worked our way close inshore then tacked to head south into the recommended anchorage. I found a clear spot amongst some moorings and a few boats in three and a half meters of water, handed sail and dropped the anchor. My guide warns that the holding is poor in this area so with the fresh breeze and my recent experiences I was not at all optimistic that this time round would magically be any different, and my pessimism was well founded. I had let out plenty of chain but we did not look like holding even for a moment, and simply started to slowly drag across the mooring field and out to sea. At least I have become a little more sanguine about this whole process, and hardly batted an eyelid as I made my way up to the bow and cranked all the chain back in with the old Muir manual windlass, (which still has a cut off piece of spanner in its innards in place of a key that fell out its keyway way back in Patagonia, one day I will get around to fixing this properly). Once all the anchor was secured I started the engine and explored other options. There was a a small boat harbour but on close inspection it looked like it had been built for launching trailer boats so I doubted whether there would be room for Sylph. A bit further north was the town's jetty, which I now motored over to to see if it might be possible to tie alongside. Its sheltered side was full of fisher people with lines glistening long and silver like spider webs in the low setting sunlight. I slowly motored in circles hoping my intentions might become clear and that the good people would clear a spot for me. This slowly happened as I edged ever closer. I eventually nudged up to some rickety looking piles, threw a line up to a gentleman on the jetty who I managed to make understand that I wanted him to put the loop on the end of the line over a bollard – clearly not a seaman type. Now we seem quite secure with fenders between Sylph's topsides and some rather nasty rusty bits of iron running down the length of some old piles, a number of which are precariously swaying back in forth with the small waves passing under the jetty. Still the overall structure looks sound enough and I am confident that Sylph won't be able to drag this lot out to sea.

All is well.