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  #1  
Old 01-24-2013
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Why is this a bad idea?

I'm on a water budget (on the beer to champaigne budget scale), but I like to dream, and I like to figure out what changes I might make to make my "next" boat better for my family and me. One of the things that we REALLY want in our next boat is a good swim ladder. It was a real challenge to climb aboard our 1984 Catalina 25 via the ladder. The round rungs hurt my kids' feet (and mine), and the stern rail was VERY awkward to get over/under. I'd really like a sugar-scoop transom, or even a swim platform (like the O'Day 272's), but I'm not overly picky.

One idea that struck me was to just put a small, powerboat-style swim platform on the back. Sure, with the way the transom slopes on many sailboats boats, I'd probably have to find a way of offsetting the mouting brackets, I'd want to reinforce the transom in that area, etc., but that all is "do-able". And it strikes me that a lot of people want to, and actually do, swim off their boats or use a dinghy, and both scenarios seem to benefit from such a swim platform. So, why don't I see a lot of them on sailboats? Or, put another way, why is something like the picture below (which is from a sailboat, if you couldn't tell) a bad idea?

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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

How about this simple solution. Not expensive either. Get some teak boards or nice oak boards Cut to fit each step, Taper or round edges so they arent sharp. Then attach with 3 tube straps to each rung of your swim ladder.

I did this 12 years ago and take them off every 5 years or so to revarnish.

Here are examples, but you can get wood amywhere


Two Hole Strap by CADDY - Pipe Hangers and Clamps by Zoro Tools Industrial Supplies

Teakwood 23 1/2 Inch Boat Step


Putting steps into the boats stern will require backing plates and a lot work for the expected reward I think. They will have to sipport a lot of weight in a small area.
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Last edited by chef2sail; 01-25-2013 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 01-24-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
I'm on a water budget (on the beer to champaigne budget scale), but I like to dream, and I like to figure out what changes I might make to make my "next" boat better for my family and me. One of the things that we REALLY want in our next boat is a good swim ladder. It was a real challenge to climb aboard our 1984 Catalina 25 via the ladder. The round rungs hurt my kids' feet (and mine), and the stern rail was VERY awkward to get over/under. I'd really like a sugar-scoop transom, or even a swim platform (like the O'Day 272's), but I'm not overly picky.

One idea that struck me was to just put a small, powerboat-style swim platform on the back. Sure, with the way the transom slopes on many sailboats boats, I'd probably have to find a way of offsetting the mouting brackets, I'd want to reinforce the transom in that area, etc., but that all is "do-able". And it strikes me that a lot of people want to, and actually do, swim off their boats or use a dinghy, and both scenarios seem to benefit from such a swim platform. So, why don't I see a lot of them on sailboats? Or, put another way, why is something like the picture below (which is from a sailboat, if you couldn't tell) a bad idea?

I like it, there is no reason it wouldn't work in your application. The only drawback would be the peanut gallery on the water harumphing at your DIY solution and straying from the norm.

I say go for it!
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

Chef, that was already in the plans if there was an existing ladder. I figured a board cut to the full width of the ladder would work (my plan was to use the white PVC "boards" they sell at Home Depot, since they are outdoor rated, and should be cooler than darker woods). Drill or cut a 1" notch/half hole in the middle of each end, and slide into place. Secure with the U-shaped clamps in your link, and voila.

But some of the boats I've looked at don't have a ladder. If I'm going to have to make/install something anyway, why not go with something like this? I agree about having to put a backing plate - a large piece of starboard should work. Of course, I'll need access to that area of the transom, but assuming that's available, are there any other down-sides?

One idea that struck me was that, if I was in rougher water, the force of the water on the swim platform might be significantly more than the force of my fairly substantial butt on that same platform. So, I'll need to make sure the transom is properly reinforced. A swim platform would also limit my ability to add an outboard on a proper outboard bracket, should one become desirable for some reason. But, if it's done properly, the platform could also serve as an emergency mounting bracket for an outboard.

So, what else am I missing?

By the way, I'm not entirely convinced that this is really what I want to do, just soliciting opinions.

Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

We've seen lots of similar platform projects - even on a C&C 35 MkIII !!

No reason it can't work. You'll still need a good, deep ladder for ease of boarding from a swim.. the ladder could be make to match the angles from the platform, up the transom, and even up against the stern railing if that works.. And it all needs to be well reinforced, as you say.

Do a good looking job and I don't think there'll be too many naysayers..the practicality outweighs any negatives and it's easier than taking a chainsaw to the transom to create a "modern" walkthrough .... In many marinas it may cost you a few bucks a month in moorage if they catch on.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

From the angle of the picture, it looks like the example that you used could do with better hand holds for the upper steps.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
Chef, that was already in the plans if there was an existing ladder. I figured a board cut to the full width of the ladder would work (my plan was to use the white PVC "boards" they sell at Home Depot, since they are outdoor rated, and should be cooler than darker woods). Drill or cut a 1" notch/half hole in the middle of each end, and slide into place. Secure with the U-shaped clamps in your link, and voila.

But some of the boats I've looked at don't have a ladder. If I'm going to have to make/install something anyway, why not go with something like this? I agree about having to put a backing plate - a large piece of starboard should work. Of course, I'll need access to that area of the transom, but assuming that's available, are there any other down-sides?

One idea that struck me was that, if I was in rougher water, the force of the water on the swim platform might be significantly more than the force of my fairly substantial butt on that same platform. So, I'll need to make sure the transom is properly reinforced. A swim platform would also limit my ability to add an outboard on a proper outboard bracket, should one become desirable for some reason. But, if it's done properly, the platform could also serve as an emergency mounting bracket for an outboard.

So, what else am I missing?

By the way, I'm not entirely convinced that this is really what I want to do, just soliciting opinions.

Thanks!


Many sailboats with rear ladders also have a gate in the back so you dont have to go over the rail.

If you construct this Just make sure you have a way to get onto the platform which drops in the water as Faster said. Its hard to lift up or put you foot on your platform out of the water, especially with the stern bobbing up and down. Thats why the bootom two rungs of most ladders are under water out of the water

Another thing you could do is put a shoe and have a side ladder.

Side boarding boat ladder - BERMUDA-B - PRASOLUX, Peter Prass
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

Be salty and make a ladder from manila line! Ladder step mat for the the bottom rung and maybe wood slats for the rest? Throw it over the side when you need it and wrap it up for storage when you don't.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

Justflie, I actually DID make a rope ladder! Not out of manilla, but the red poly line from Harbor Freight. When my old boat was on blocks last winter, the first few times I visited the marina, I could get to the swim ladder and get aboard. Then one day, they moved a boat behind mine, close enough that I couldn't get to the swim ladder, and basically making entring from the transom very difficult. I couldn't fit a big enough step ladder into my car, so I made the rope ladder. I was able to scrounge enough stuff at the marina to reach up and attach the rope to a cleat, and then I could climb aboard.

I learned that the problem with "hull mounted" rope ladders is that when you put your weight on them, they press against the side of the hull, and the little rope "steps" just aren't wide enough to be useful. If you're lucky, you'll get the tips of your toes on each step. Don't get me wrong, they'll do in a pinch, but in my experience, they just aren't that practical. One thing I considered doing was adding wooden treads to give me more surface area to step on.

All that being said, a rope ladder could work if it hung off the swim platform.
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Last edited by jimgo; 01-25-2013 at 09:00 AM.
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Old 01-25-2013
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Re: Why is this a bad idea?

Sweet deal. To bad it's not practical but good on you for trying it out.
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