My husband and I have a sailboat with a rather high freeboard (50"). We have a foldable teak boarding ladder that is very awkward and heavy for me to handle. I have put it on but fear that in anything more than perfect conditions (ie in a calm anchorage) it would probably go overboard if attempting to put it on out at sea. This really concerns me since I have no idea how I would get my husband back aboard if he was to go overboard. We do have one of those plastic 7 step ladders but honestly they are pretty much impossible to use unless you have alot of upper body strength and I cannot count on him being in great condition if the worse was to happen.
I have looked around on the internet for a foldable stainless ladder but it seems finding one that is at least 60" almost impossible.
I would love to hear from anyone that has suggestions on how to handle this dilema and also any possibly suppliers.
Jackie - the best way of making sure hubby can get back on board is to ensure he doesn't leave. Jacklines and harness with tethers. If you don't go over, you don't have to get back on.
I singlehand (as a lot of folk do here). If one or the other would be unable to help the other, then, effectively, you could be considered singlehanded. And, that is probably the way to treat it. I know that if I find myself in the water, that there is NO ONE TO COME BACK FOR ME.
If you watch stand individually, you should be "jacked in" - again, it is effectively singlehanding. If one were to go over, the other may not find out for hours ... even 5 minutes - the chances of finding some one ... And, there is usually less than ideal conditions when someone goes overboard.
There is always the possibility of going partially overboard (but still attached to the boat!!). For that situation, I have a 12 foot length of 3/4" dock line that I've put a bowline into each end. I have it attached to the midship cleat on the starboard side (it is the only side I could go partially over because of how I run my jackline). I only have 48" of freeboard, so the trailing bowline is about a foot below the water line. This gives me either a loop around the upper torso so that I can rest before attempting to climb back aboard, and / or a 'stair step'. Stepping into the loop and using the line to get me up out of the water ... puts my chest above the gunnels (deck). I also then have the rub strake that makes a good second step. The gunnel or life stanchions or cleat can all be grab points to help me back on. If there is another person aboard, all the better.
Thank you so much for all your thoughtful replies. We do use our jacklines when sailing in rough conditions and always at night. The rope ladder seems like it would be a great idea but I have tried myself climbing it in very calm conditions (anchorage) and scaling a hull with a rope (even with plastic steps) is really not that easy .
We do have a life sling on board and I would be able to use the mizzen boom and a winch if it came to that. I guess what I am looking for is just a easy to deploy ladder for situations where a person was still able to climb (but perhaps not be able to climb a rope ladder).
I have seen foldable ladders that have a rope tied to it so that a person could deploy it while in the water and I guess that is what I was hoping to find.
I found one that was manufactured in CanadaSJ23 Tech Tip B24 - Transom Mounted Boarding Ladder but was hoping to find one manufactured here in the US
I guess I could just bring something to a fabricator and have it made but the cost would no doubt be painful
Location: West Indies, Now live aboard as cruiser/ voyager often with guest/ friends
Boat: 36' Bene
A MOB lifting produce with a good wench sysystem... motorized with a lanyard for activation is an alternative I'm personally looking at.
I have some "guest crew" occasionally that I know I would never be able to manhandle back into a boat even with the sugar scoop boarding area I have. Even smaller more athletic people could prove to be a problem if they were incapacitated in some way and could not help a little in their recovery.
Problem is like so often we face, no one system that is commercially available fits my needs so I'm having to piece together a workable system. So far it appears I'll have great port side recovery ability but more difficult if recovery is to the starboard. This is due in part to the inability to motorize a wench on any of my starboard wenches with out excessive loss of cabin access or space.
I'm even attempting to design MOB coupled with a a floating drag line for some circumstances where I could be more beneficial than problematic.
Since I just yesterday ticked in another year... this is something that is moving up on my Skipper Do list.
What you may actually want is a better hand grip system, possibly one that could be deployed from the railing.
__________________ I prefer a sailboat to a motorboat, and it is my belief that boat sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier art than running a motor. --- Jack London
I have a lifesling. If you can get it around a person it works very well. You would then use a halyard to raise the person out of the water. We also have the dilema that you are having. We have a swim platform on the back of the boat but the ladder is secured higher than we can reach from the water. B/c of this we are getting an under platform swim ladder. I believe that you are in SD and I saw a few different ladders at Downwind Marine. I also did a search on google and found a few different models of swim ladders depending on the configuration of your boat.
Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions.Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad
Unfortunately a stern ladder will not work for us because of the way our davits are designed.
There are two large 130 watt solar panels that sit on top of our davits. Our dinghy then is placed above the solar panels so there would be no way to use a ladder off the stern.
First of all very pretty vessel!!!!! Do the rear ports open, and if so will you both fit through them? How about something fabricated just off the stern on the quarter.
Your concern is a good concern. I have been thrown from my boat, but fortunatley I was thrown back onto the boat, long story! As said earlier the whole idea is to stay on the boat, but SHIP happens at sea.
It is possible that the picture Gord posted with the red boat maybe your answer. That is without ruining the lines of that pretty vessel......BEST WISHES, and keep asking. Someone thinking out of the box may come up with something!
Location: Liveaboard in Port Credit, Ontario, Canada
Boat: "Al Hoceima" - 1980 42' Petit Prince ketch
Just a few thoughts on the use of a rope ladder or deploying a folding ladder from the MOB position...
I've used a rope ladder for a number of years on my previous two boats. While it does require a fair bit of upper body strength to climb back aboard when the boat is stationary, if it is moving, it is (very counter intuitively!) actually much easier to climb.
The main problem with a rope ladder is that, as you climb it, the lower part of the ladder tends to want to follow the curve of the hull and your legs wind up at a crazy angle heading under the boat. If the boat is moving though, the pressure of the water flowing past you prevents this, and makes it fairly easy to clamber up.
I've done this numerous times while traveling at 4 - 6kts (while having fun, with competent crew on board - not in an emergency, thankfully!)
When single handing, what I've done is trail a floating line with a loop and monkey's fist at the end so that I can pull myself back to the boat, and have the rope ladder ready to go, on a cleat and hanging over the side, but bundled up compactly using a Draw Hitch.
The Draw Hitch is tied such that one leg of the standing part secures the ladder to the boat so that it isn't dangling into the water, and the other leg of the hitch (the releasing leg) is long enough to reach to just above the waterline and has a stopper knot in the end for grip.
A sharp tug on the end releases the draw hitch, and the ladder is freed to deploy into the water.
It may be possible for a similar arrangement using a draw hitch to deploy a folding ladder that is not normally reachable from the waterline.
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