New Swim Ladder
|Not only will the swim ladder be used when we check the anchor almost |
everyday, but it will be our means of getting into the dinghy and back
onto the boat. It will certainly be used many times each day.
Used as a ladder rung, one-inch diameter tubing really hurts your bare feet. As a remedy, I found teak steps that could be bolted onto the one-inch diameter ladder rungs and make climbing the swim ladder a lot more comfortable. I purchased them from Thai Teak. I had to pay in advance and wait a couple weeks for them to arrive but it was well worth it!
|The swim ladder steps from Thai Teak are 12 inches long x 2-1/2 inches wide x |
1-1/4 inches thick with a round groove on the bottom to fit 1-inch tubing
and two small rectangular grooves on the top for
water drainage. They are certainly robust!
|The countersunk holes in the teak steps make the head of the socket head |
cap screw perfectly level with the top of the teak step.
Mounting the teak steps turned out to be a more difficult task than I imagined. It was very time consuming drilling holes thru the stainless steel tubing, 17/64-inch on the top to clear the 1/4-inch bolts and 21/64-inch on the bottom to clear the 5/16-inch body of the barrel nuts.
It took all of 10 hours to drill all the holes and mount all the teak steps, the bottom step taking the most time because it had to be shaped to clear the radius of the bottom of the ladder. I did the shaping of the underside of the bottom step with a Dremel tool and a wood carving bit.
One More Rung
The original ladder seemed to be the perfect overall length. However when folded up, one rung was located right at the teak toe rail at the stern--this would prevent us from simply adding teak steps because one step would interfere with the toe rail and the ladder couldn't be folded up completely.
|Our old swim ladder was bent and generally |
was not very comfortable to climb.
The existing spacing of the ladder rungs was 13-3/4 inches when, ideally, it should be more like 10 inches.
A diagram of the old ladder design versus the new ladder design
Adding one more rung in roughly the same overall length, makes the spacing a nice even 10 inches and prevents the interference of a teak step with the toe rail.
Most of the construction of the ladder was done by Kato Marine--and they finished earlier than promised. It is a pleasure dealing with Kato Marine because they consider every little detail, like adding a weep hole in the hinged area so that water doesn't accumulate in the ladder when in the up position and freeze over the winter.
|We now have the perfect swim ladder and it should last |
throughout our future cruising adventures.