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Thread: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

  1. #1
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    Default Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?




    Anybody made one? I have been thinking about getting back on the boat since last summer when I discovered just how hard it is to get oneself out of the water and onto a 20" high dock after bobbing around cleaning the hull. Pretty much impossible actually and I'm reasonable fit. Now I've built a tender for the boat and suspect a boarding ladder might be of some use. Freeboard in the cockpit area is 2' or so as she floats, a bit less if you are hanging over the rail but let's say 2' to be safe. HGS says space the rungs 12"-15", so 2 gets you to the waterline, add two more so you can get a foot on one? Maybe three is better? I'm leaning towards three (for a total of 5) easier to cut the last one off if it is just in the way than try to splice in more line.

    Suggestions for transiting from one boat to the other also welcome. It feels like there is a high probability for an unintentional swim when done wrong and the Salish Sea is cold.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    I made one. Uses a lot of line. Very cool to make. Hard as hell to climb as when it pushes against the hull it's hard to even get a toe over. I found the one I made more useful to get about four feet up the mast on my schooner, a great convenience on that boat, because I could then climb rope ladder style with feet going in from opposite directions.

    Not my first, second, or third choice for a boarding ladder.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Quite a few of the lobstermen back home in Maine had one lying ready on the off side washboard, just in case. They made them out of old potwarp they had lying around. It might not be the best ladder in the world for re-boarding, but it sure beats no ladder at all.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Second that, Pitslingo. Amazing what you can get up if that's all there is. And a lobster boat will have plenty of warp that will do just fine here even though it's not suitable for fishing.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    If Marianita had a transom to hang a ladder on it would be a simple thing to do. Danged double-enders... I was wondering about getting a foot on the rungs against the hull, I'll try to space them so one is a bit below the turn of the bilge to create some space.

    Picked up a length of former anchor rode in the 1/2 price bin at Longship Marine and it is supposed to be rainy with small craft advisories all week so I've a bit of time to play with.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    I'll third the opinion that that type of ladder is very hard to use. Put a foot on any rung below the turn of the bilge and your leg will swing right under the boat until your toes scrape off some bottom paint. And as Ian points out, the rungs against the topsides are very hard to get a secure toehold on.

    For these reasons, this traditional style is much more useful, and it will also roll up.

    -Dave

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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Just came across this instructive cartoon from West Marine. I've had a couple of worried moments when guests (middle aged or more, not unfit but not athletic either) have taken a swim while at anchor and then really struggled to reboard on a flexible ladder. Even on boats where I can scramble back aboard without a ladder, I've come to have a rigid one that runs deep for the less athletic.

    Check out the second image here. There are lots of seemingly fit people who have very minimal upper body strength, and cannot pull themselves up a short ladder like that.

    -Dave

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    If the ladder is intended to save a person from hypothermia and or drowning buy a real swim ladder. In cold water a person has about 15 minutes to get out before they expire. If an out of shape or overweight person is in the water they will have extreme difficulty with a rope ladder.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    For these reasons, this traditional style is much more useful, and it will also roll up.
    Those are great ladders, but on a small boat there often simply isn't room to stow one, let alone stow one where you can grab it and deploy it from in the water.

    And okay, I'll say it and be the one everyone can pour vitrol and scorn upon: the idea of mounting some terribly practical and safety-conscious and obtrusive and butt-ugly swim ladder on the off chance I'll go overboard is anathema. Ain't gonna happen. I've often considered building such a ladder as Stromborg is suggesting --and wished I still had access to my many lobsterman friends' heaps of old potwarp for the purpose!-- but that's about the most ladder I would ever carry on Bucephalus.

    If Marianita had a transom to hang a ladder on it would be a simple thing to do. Danged double-enders... I was wondering about getting a foot on the rungs against the hull, I'll try to space them so one is a bit below the turn of the bilge to create some space.
    One thing I've often wondered is if affixing/stowing the ladder farther forward, where the hull was more vertical, less overhanging, might make it easier to ascend. It's counterintuitive, I know, since it isn't at the lowest point in the sheer, or aft by the cockpit, but if it allows you to stay more upright, less like Figure 1 in Woxbox's graphic, it might be more effective. I'm not saying this *is* the way to go, it's just something I've wondered about. The times I've been overboard from B (all intentional, knock wood), I've always had the easiest time coming back aboard right forward at the bowsprit, both because I can get a foot on the bobstay and because there's no overhang.

    How big is Marianita, Stromborg? What is she? I don't know the boat, so I'm just talking out my ear on the entire subject.

    Alex

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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?


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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    My boat small and I try maybe every type rope ladder due to esay to storage. But difficult to use. At the and, I did this one and I use it olso a boom carrier.


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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Depending on freeboard I loved keyhavenpotterer’s idea - a horse stirrup

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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    For Meg I am planning to modify a common transom ladder for side use. When I get to it in the next month or so, there will be pix.

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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post

    One thing I've often wondered is if affixing/stowing the ladder farther forward, where the hull was more vertical, less overhanging, might make it easier to ascend. It's counterintuitive, I know, since it isn't at the lowest point in the sheer, or aft by the cockpit, but if it allows you to stay more upright, less like Figure 1 in Woxbox's graphic, it might be more effective. I'm not saying this *is* the way to go, it's just something I've wondered about. The times I've been overboard from B (all intentional, knock wood), I've always had the easiest time coming back aboard right forward at the bowsprit, both because I can get a foot on the bobstay and because there's no overhang.


    Alex
    Sounds good to me. We always get up by the pushpit, which is higher than midships, because it gives you a good vertical pull off the pushpit rails. My wife can get back aboard the J/36 (same hull as the better known J/35) by herself. If a 50 year old woman can get aboard a mid-size boat by herself and without a ladder or other aids then it seems to indicate that practise is vital and can allow you to do things that some would consider impossible, as is probably the case with your ability to climb up by the bobstay, or the way my 51 y.o. brother can swarm up the bow of his 36ft cat.

    It does seem odd in a way that something as vital as being able to get back aboard is a physical skill that so few people seem to practise. For example, the West Marine pic shows the short ladder as being hard to get a foot onto - but try it a couple of times and you find that you don't need to get a foot onto the bottom rung. If you put the "hollow" under your kneecap on the bottom rung, it gives you enough hold to lift yourself and then your other foot can go on the bottom rung and it's all easy. This is dead simple even when wearing two wetsuits and lead ballast after scrubbing the boat for 45 minutes - IF you've done it.

    One wonders if there is anything in boating as little practised and as vital to safety as getting back aboard, and why it would be so.


    PS - Of course this applies to regular sailors, not the unfit guests that Woxbox was talking about.
    Last edited by Chris249; 04-11-2018 at 07:07 AM.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    All you need to do is bring a dinghey up to a transom ladder in any sort of sea to put you right off the whole idea. I like a boarding ladder that is right by the cockpit for easy loading of many people and easy baggage handling.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Wandering Star is big enough to carry a wooden ladder on deck, though I often wish for something more compact.
    I can climb back aboard without it, though I may get scuffed up.
    I occasionally think of making a rope ladder with plank rungs to store smaller. For those with bowsprits, bobstay chains are easier to climb than wires. My stem is a good 6' above the water and I can climb up the chains from the water. For reference, I'm 6'5", 235, 50-60 years old, sailing is my only exercise.
    Good luck with that rope ladder, let us know how it works.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    My first impression is that these Plastimo units seem somewhat sketchy. Anyone one here with user experience? https://www.plastimo.com/en/mooring-...les-10068.html

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    DSCF2188.jpgDSCF2207.jpgDSCF2206.jpgDSCF2189.jpgLadder Extended.jpg


    Any ladder in any of my boats, home-made or off-the-shelf, has been configured according to Woxbox's #7 right-hand illustration, with our present "UP-N-Out" ladder on our swim platform appearing at the far right. The first 4 pics show my latest creation for easing entry/egress for our dinghy. The single rung shown in #3 is for people, but folds out for the dog as shown in #1. It all folds up rather compact to fit a space between the helm seat post and the starboard cockpit seat back.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pitsligo View Post
    How big is Marianita, Stromborg? What is she? I don't know the boat, so I'm just talking out my ear on the entire subject.

    Alex


    She's an Eun Mara, 19'9" on deck.

    I can see how physics is working against the rope ladder, though as noted something is better than nothing. Hanging off the chainplates while scrubbing the bottom I remember thinking "Holy hell that's a long way up!" and not really seeing a good way up anywhere. Using the bowsprit/bobstay is one option, putting a step of some kind on the rudder might work too. As noted before, the Salish is cold, it'll suck the strength out of you fast so getting back onboard quickly is key. Years ago I went out in more wind than I should have on a Laser, after capsizing a few times in 20 or so minutes I was wiped out, managed to get back to Golden Gardens and walk the boat back to Shilshole.

    I think the key is getting a toe-hold so you aren't relying entirely on arm strength to drag your soaking wet carcass, most likely dressed in more than a swim suit up and over the rail, the added bulk of a PFD isn't going to help. The SCAMP folks use a length of webbing to aid in getting back on board, might be something there to think about. Clearly I need to don my drysuit and work out something to get back aboard if I happen to fall off. Prevention is a good place to start, hope for the best but prepare for the worst, eh?

    If nothing else maybe this thread will get all of us thinking about getting back on the boat if the worst happens. Frankly, I hadn't thought too much about it until I started thinking about it; not exactly denial, just blissful ignorance.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    I bought a couple of these things a few years ago planning to put them on the narrow transom of my trimaran. Never got around to it, but they are light and fairly unobtrusive. They may well find a home on the next boat, which will be an 18' double-ender with a boomkin, so I'll be facing the same question you have. My boat will have a good-size endplate on the rudder as an initial foothold. One or two of these stainless mast steps placed strategically may be all I need to make reboarding a sure thing. They could also provide a good initial handhold when still in the water.

    -Dave

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    She's an Eun Mara, 19'9" on deck.
    So she and my Bucephalus (18' 11" LOD)are very similar in size --but very different in hull form.

    I can't help thinking that outboard rudder, with the boomkin right there as a handhold, sure looks likely as a good place to get back aboard. You wouldn't necessarily even need to bolt stirrups to the rudder or sternpost. If you were to rig that OP rope ladder to hang beside the rudder, you might be able to use the rudder as a non-overhanging surface for good purchase. Just don't then get clonked by the mizzen boom...

    I think the key is getting a toe-hold so you aren't relying entirely on arm strength to drag your soaking wet carcass, most likely dressed in more than a swim suit up and over the rail
    Ask any rock climber: you don't climb with your arms, you climb with your legs. Much bigger muscles to work with. So yes, getting your legs into action would, indeed, be key.

    Alex

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Steve,

    These guys will customize their ladder for you. If you were to shorten the horizontal members it could fold up against the cabin side just forward of the cockpit. If it were held there by a light weight piece of line with a lanyard also attached you could haul on the lanyard thereby breaking the smaller line to tilt it down from in the water alongside. Once you've climbed high enough you could grab the handhold on top of the cabin, if you can reach it. Another shorter handhold closer to the edge might be even easier.

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Is there supposed to be a link or picture in the post above this?

    I'm not seeing one
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Yes, there was Steve. Sorry.

    http://www.up-n-out.com/

    I was referring to this setup;


  25. #25
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Thanks

    I have climbed out of the water using one of those, (onto a dock) it worked pretty well.

    I also just got in from the shop where I tied up a 4-step rope ladder, hung it from a beam and tried climbing up a couple of rungs. Bit of a wild ride, but it was also hanging from an additional 6' of rope. Clearly more experimentation is in order, that would be easier if i was in the Caribbean as opposed to here in the Greyt Northwet!
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Quote Originally Posted by stromborg View Post


    She's an Eun Mara, 19'9" on deck.

    I can see how physics is working against the rope ladder, though as noted something is better than nothing. Hanging off the chainplates while scrubbing the bottom I remember thinking "Holy hell that's a long way up!" and not really seeing a good way up anywhere. Using the bowsprit/bobstay is one option, putting a step of some kind on the rudder might work too. As noted before, the Salish is cold, it'll suck the strength out of you fast so getting back onboard quickly is key. Years ago I went out in more wind than I should have on a Laser, after capsizing a few times in 20 or so minutes I was wiped out, managed to get back to Golden Gardens and walk the boat back to Shilshole.

    I think the key is getting a toe-hold so you aren't relying entirely on arm strength to drag your soaking wet carcass, most likely dressed in more than a swim suit up and over the rail, the added bulk of a PFD isn't going to help. The SCAMP folks use a length of webbing to aid in getting back on board, might be something there to think about. Clearly I need to don my drysuit and work out something to get back aboard if I happen to fall off. Prevention is a good place to start, hope for the best but prepare for the worst, eh?

    If nothing else maybe this thread will get all of us thinking about getting back on the boat if the worst happens. Frankly, I hadn't thought too much about it until I started thinking about it; not exactly denial, just blissful ignorance.
    On a boat like this you could simply install brackets on the rudder. 90* aluminum, stainless or what ever.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Marlinespike Sailor rope ladder?

    Gib Etheridge, I should point out that our Up-N-Out boarding ladder has had 3" Teak treads added to the rungs for greater ease under bare feet. The standard Up-N-Out product incorporates 1' flat steel treads welded onto the round rod; not sufficiently comfortable.

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