Moored Victor Harbor
Position: 38 33.74 S 138 36.04 E
As expected, the wind freshened but remained easily on the manageable side of 15 knots and, as it veered more into the northeast, it made for a fast close reach into Victor Harbor.
On the down side, I realised as we got closer to the Harbour that the mooring which Tony had organised for me was not going to be as sheltered from a fresh NE’ly as I was hoping. Also I was going to get in after dark and, to add another complication the mooring did not have a picking up rope attached to it. The idea of trying to hold the boat alongside a mooring buoy and trying to thread a rope through a shackle with a freah breeze and likely some significant wave action was a little too far outside my comfort zone. I decided I would go into the bay where the mooring was located and assess the situation. If it was more sheltered than I was expecting than I would have a go at picking up the mooring, if not then I would head out so sea and probably heave to for the night and give it another go in the morning.
When we were in phone range, at about 2130, I gave Tony a call to let him know of my intentions. He advised me that it was calm at his house and offered to go down to the harbour and assess conditions. He also could guide me onto the mooring with a torch shining from the nearby jetty. The offer was gratefully accepted.
At 2220 we were approaching Granite Island. I started the engine, rounded into the wind and handed sail. Motoring in behind Granite Island, conditions were not quite as bad as I had feared but were still less than ideal. I was able to communicate with Tony hands-free using a Bluetooth earpiece (technology does have some advantages) and while I circled around the mooring we discussed options. There was now way I was going to be able to pick up the mooring by myself. There were a couple of other mooring nearby with picking up ropes attached but they were very close to the rocky lee shore leaving no margin for error, especially in the dark. Besides, we did not know what condition those mooring were in, nor did I have permission to use them. I was about to give up and head back out to sea for the night when Tony suggested I pick him up and he could help pick up the mooring. What a brilliant idea!
I carefully nosed Sylph into the screw-pile jetty and Tony clambered over the pulpit, pushing Sylph off as he boarded. A quick shake of hands after all these years and then I briefed him on what to do. I motored Sylph alongside the mooring and Tony attached the picking up rope I had prepared with a spring-loaded hook. Once attached it was a relatively simple matter of threading a more permanent mooring line through the buoy’s shackle. Once secured we retired below for a cup of tea for me and a coffee for Tony and to catch up a little.
At 2330 we got the dinghy over the side and I rowed Tony ashore then, on my return to Sylph, settled in for a good night’s sleep.
All is well.