Thank you for the advice.
We ended up purchasing
a unique boat with short companionways. It's an aft cockpit
pilothouse, so instead of one tall companionway there are two that are only a few steps each. From the cockpit
, she can sit on the bridge deck
and then skootch forward and almost end up with her feet on the floor of the pilothouse.
I've been looking at climbing equipment
and it really does look great. Hopefully I can find ones that will last around saltwater. I think we will end up using some kind of climbing harness and belaying system when she goes from the dinghy
to the swim platform, and then climbs the swim platform stairs up to the deck.
We're also planning to make an abrasion proof suit with padding, sort of like a kids
motorcycle suit, for her to help scramble up rocky or concrete piers or old metal ladders when that is the dinghy
landing. Like in Rarotonga, where there's a ~6' steel
ladder you have to climb, or Darwin at low tide, or the numerous other places with a concrete pier. Our idea is that one of us will go up first with a rope, then be able to spot her as she climbs. And then, with the suit, even if she messes up she won't skin her knee. But I think we'll just skip some places, like Niue
, where you pretty much have to hop onto a slippery staircase as the dinghy is moving up and down in the swell.
Maybe we'll make a cruising guide -- handicapped accessible dinghy landings of the world. Or maybe we'll be comparing notes often with 80+ sailors, who also don't hop or jump. Since even splintery wood docks are a problem if you aren't coordinated enough to hop into a dinghy from the dock
and have to skootch on your bottom into it-- again, maybe some kind of kevlar pants will be the ticket.
I think we'll probably end up doing more beach landings.