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mcain 11-07-2003 05:08 AM

Ladder question
I have a fairly trivial question on a custom ladder I''m having built for a 43'' sailboat. But I''d like some opinions.
I want a ladder amidships that I can swim from and use for boarding. (Stern ladder is blocked by davits.)
New ladder is a custom amidships folding ladder, fitting on the Genoa track and extending to the water through the lifeline gate. When deployed, it extends down to the water and into the water some distance, for ease of climbing while swimming or diving, or if you have fallen into the water. When folded, it folds into 3 sections and flips up between the lifeline gate stantions.
We are in our 50''s, not particularly athletic, so deeper in the water makes it easier to get aboard.
Question is: How long should the ladder be? Longer makes more ladder into the water for ease of climbing when swimming or with dive gear. Longer also means that the folded ladder would extend above the lifelines and stantions and generally look pretty ugly and be heavy to remove and heavy to deploy when we only want to board from the dingy.
Right now, a standard 56" ladder would extend 16" into the water (with 40" of freeboard amidships) and fold not higher than the lifelines. A 64" ladder would extend about 1" above the lifelines when folded, and provide 24" of ladder under the water. A 68" ladder would extend 28" into the water and be about 4" above the lifelines. A 70" ladder would be 30" into the water and about 6" above the lifelines when folded.

Short of conducting experiments, I wonder if anyone else has taken a look at this. And, yes, I know, it is not a question likely to rank with how to achieve world peace or the meaning of life.........

DuaneIsing 11-07-2003 07:56 AM

Ladder question
Since this is a custom job, can the ladder have four folding sections instead of three? That would allow it to be longer when extended, yet not higher than the lifelines when folded.

Good luck.

fourknots 11-10-2003 08:41 AM

Ladder question
I''d err on the side of more in the water. Our last boat had 24" in the water and the four of us (two strong young adults and two kids) had no problem. I''d want 3 rungs on the water for someone who might have a harder time getting in the water.

mcain 11-11-2003 06:16 AM

Ladder question
fourknots, we seem to be between a ladder that puts between 24" and 28" in the water.
However, we are leaning toward 24" in the water. This makes a nice 3-segment ladder that folds to about 1" above the lifeline. Our current transom ladder (blocked by davits when the dingy is up) puts 21" in the water and we have successfully swum from it, though not with dive gear.
The next size up, putting 28" in the water, puts 4" above the lifelines when folded and seems a bit too much to us.
What do you think?

pblais 11-12-2003 11:30 AM

Ladder question
I just had one made this year. It''s a midship track mounted folder ladder three sections 70 inches long with 5 steps.

The standoffs fold in and secures to the top lifeline with room to walk past. I think to get aboard from in the water easily you want a nice step and 70 inches. Not that you can''t get in with less but it makes it comfortable.

Our boat has a transom swim ladder that folds in the middle with not much in the water and we carry a dink on davits too. It means the ladder is useless without deploying the dink. This was not a safe situation. The folder was really my only choice and I wanted it easy to get back aboard.

Here is where one can be had:

Note that the quality of the stainless can drastically effect the price. This one is not inexpensive, but is _really_ well made. A cheap chromed steel one won''t last long.

mcain 11-13-2003 06:59 AM

Ladder question
Thanks for the comments. PBLAIS, sounds like your setup is the same as mine.
I had communicated with Mystic and believe they have good quality. Also worked with Tops in QUality in Michigan, which also has a good rep.
On my boat, with height of the rail, the 70", whether from Mystic or TIQ would have stuck up quite a bit. Something like 68-70 would be preferable to get aboard, though. My existing transom ladder is 21" in the water and we have swum off it, so I am probably going to do the 64" ladder, with 24 in the water.
Somehow, TIQ seemed more responsive than Mystic to my inquiries and more interested in a custom fit. However, up front, I believe both are excellent high-quality makers, and I''ve heard nothing but good things from both. And the ladders aren''t cheap is right--700-800$ or so.

Magic_Moments 11-13-2003 08:25 PM

Ladder question
If you could take a measuring tape in the water and go to a swimming pool or somewhere where you could check how high you could comfortably have the lowest step, that would be the best way to be sure.
I have a transom ladder on this boat, but I also have a portable ladder that hangs off the toerail from midships for use in choppy conditions.
I hang lanyards to clip on my BC/tank and weightbelt and goodie bags so I don''t have to climb the ladder with all that gear. Once I am on deck I pull it up after me.

Make sure you can deploy your ladder from in the water, just in case you unexpectedly find yourself in the water.


thefantasea 11-14-2003 01:19 PM

Ladder question
To me, the choice seems to be between fashion and function. I vote for function. If it doesn''t do the job as well as it should, I wouldn''t care how good it might look.

aphil138 11-15-2003 03:32 AM

Ladder question
Just one dumb question.
If you put the folding ladder in the middle of the gate, how do you come aboard when at the dock?
I too have the same problem with a stern ladder and davits. I am tyring to get my head around a solution.

mcain 11-17-2003 04:45 AM

Ladder question
Good (not dumb) question. How to use the lifeline gate in port and still use the gate area for a ladder. The use the of ladder is a blend of convenience. At anchor, if the dingy is to be used, the transom ladder can be used--no problem. At anchor, when dingy is on the davits, transom ladder is unavailable and midships ladder is deployed--both for swimming and for others to come to the boat via dingy--visitors, taxi boats, customs, etc. At dock, the ladder is hopefully on the other side from the finger pier you have tied up to. If not, it can be removed with a couple pins and stowed at the stern rail or whereever. In our case, we have two sets of mounts, on each side of the boat, and the mounts are not fixed. They slide on the track on the rail. So at dock, it is possible to move the ladder to the opposite, unused side, and slide the mounts out of the way so you don''t trip over them on the side nearest the pier.
I consider an easily-deployed ladder a safety factor also, in case someone or something needs to be picked up in the water.
But the custom ones do get expensive!!!

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