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Old 12-05-2022, 18:07   #1
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Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Hi all,

I am looking at an Adams 12 - it has a "step up" companionway as you can see in the attached photo.

I am interested in your experience with these - are they a pain to get in and out of when compared to a step through setup?

I'm concerned that it will become cumbersome to step up up to fold myself into the vertical drop of the hatch. (The dodger can be folded forward so does not come into the equation)

Do you just get used to them or do you end up selling the boat and hating them?

Thanks all
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Old 12-05-2022, 18:25   #2
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Got one. Pain only because it’s the perfect place to put everything. Food coming up from the galley, tools going below for stowage. And who needs a cockpit table when it’s right there? It’s just too damned convenient.
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Old 12-05-2022, 18:46   #3
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

JohnSydney I have surveyed a few yachts like that. You virtually put your knee on your chin as you step down below. For an egg on legs like myself that's starting to push my physical limits.
For me I like to step in and out of the companionway easily and quickly.
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Old 12-05-2022, 20:38   #4
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Bridgedecks are very seaworthy and entirely impractical !!
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Old 12-05-2022, 23:43   #5
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Maybe this depends on how physically flexible you are. If you can manage it now, and you do it regularly, it will keep you flexible for doing it now. If it is a struggle now, it's sort of touch and go if you are willing to develop the flexibility (like starting yoga exercises), then go for it. Otherwise, maybe not.

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Old 13-05-2022, 03:29   #6
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

My 4100 has a bridge deck and we were ambivalent about it at first but have really grown to love it. Our dodger is high enough where we don't have to squat too much beyond reason to go below and our companionway stairs are not steep at all but what really makes it wonderful is that it is a perfect spot to sit on watch while using the autopilot as it is protected by the dodger, we have one of those portable folding chairs that perches just right and this becomes my "throne". I can sit facing forward or aft, nice spot for the host to sit while entertaining in the cockpit.
From a safety standpoint, if the cockpit were to become pooped, no water would go below as the bridge deck is higher than the sounding cockpit comings. The Tartan 4100 has one because underneath this bridge deck is a passageway to the head from the aft cabin, it allows for about 5 1/2 feet of headroom.
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Old 13-05-2022, 03:38   #7
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

My wife said no.
I say each to there own.
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Old 13-05-2022, 04:34   #8
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

As always, it depends. I have seen them done well and not.

The one pictured looks more on the “not” side from this view.

My 33’er has a about 14” wide bridge deck, wide enough to lay athwarships. It helps the helm is mounted to the bridge deck. So if single handing I am right behind the dodger and can very easily step ip and down and visa versa using the wheel to steady myself.

But my cabin is much higher than this one. I also mounted engine controls inside the cabin and they are visible from the helm. I can start/stop the motor from inside or out. And the cockpit is pretty open.

I have also seen implementations MUCH worse than the above photo.
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Old 13-05-2022, 10:55   #9
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

I used to sail on a yacht with a bridge deck regularly. As others have said it depends on your flexibility but also on your height and whether the sprayhood is a further obstacle. When fully dressed in wet weather gear I found it an unnecessary squeeze to get through. Yes it keeps water from the cockpit getting down below but a simple barrier thin enough to step over will do that, but something you have to step up onto and then step down can be a pain.
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Old 13-05-2022, 11:03   #10
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

The bridge deck is a favorite of the 1st mate
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Old 13-05-2022, 11:17   #11
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

We always had an easy "step through" although we often left the crib boards in place and swung our legs over them. This was convenient only because there was a place to sit to the side of the drop and easily place our feet on the top interior step from this seat.

Your photo shows a small winch where one would sit on the starboard side of the companionway; however, maybe there is a place on the port side to sit, pivot, and gracefully step down.
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Old 13-05-2022, 11:17   #12
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Lived aboard and sailed a lot with a bad back and two bad knees and a bridgedeck. Never had an issue and never thought of it as a pain. On the contrary it makes a great seat for sitting with your legs on the ladder and warm air coming up from below on those cold wet days of March and December. Makes putting dishes up from below easy, gives you a nice dry place to sleep under the dodger. YMMV.
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Old 13-05-2022, 11:37   #13
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

We have a similar bridge deck and dodger on our Cape Dory 31. We get on the top step of the companionway ladder, turn sideways, bend over a bit to clear the dodger and step over the bridge deck and down onto the cockpit sole.

I'm 73 and I agree with Ann: if you can manage it now, it will help keep you flexible as you age.

Cheers. 88 degrees today here in northern New Hampshire. Wish we had the boat in the water.
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Old 13-05-2022, 11:50   #14
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Nice protection, terrible ergonomically. You get into the boat like you are climbing into a tent.... on your knees or sliding in.... unless you remove the dodger or have one that opens.

The fact that a dodger WILL fold up vs is CONVENIENT to do are different things.
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Old 13-05-2022, 12:10   #15
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Re: Step Up Companionway - are they a pain or are they just fine

Quote:
The dodger can be folded forward so does not come into the equation
Would you fold the dodger down every time you wanted to duck below for something?

I also wonder abut getting largish things in and out - in the brief time we've owned our boat we've taken the rolled up main sail, the saloon table, both mattresses, the broken refrigerator, and a variety of coolers in and out of our companionway.
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