EJO - thanks again (I got your comment regarding the bottom on facebook/Sovereign Adventures).
jrd22 - yep, it's a Brewer design - funny thing when you go to the Pan oceanic site, our boat is not there are the only ones listed have a pilot house (ours does not).
For an actual picture of the boat just go to Sovereign Adventures | Facebook
I posted a picture today (it's the one one entitled, pretty but big!)
and since it's a public page you don't actually have to have a facebook account to view it (although if you have a facebook account then I invite you to "like" our page while you're there).
After reading everyone's comments I have determined that the swinging transom ladder is way too short as it's a couple/few feet from the waterline, and so that's part of the problem - however even if it were long enough I still wouldn't use it right now because doing so puts me on my knees on the back platform (because the solar panel sits low) and considering my current knee condition, well, that just isn't happening!
I really do appreciate each of your replies & for taking the time to help!