Swim Ladder Removal, Issues and Alternatives [Retitled]

Thalassa

Junior Member
swim ladder attachment copy.jpg
The swim ladder is attached to two L shaped brackets and was wondering how to detach it (so I can bring it to a shop to add a few steps).
 

Loren Beach

O34 - Portland, OR
Senior Moderator
Blogs Author
Looks like it is socketed into the two right-angle parts of the mounting pieces.
Tie some light lines around the ladder and each ss stand-off.
Get a wrench on the nuts on the inside - might take some pondering to find the least-contorted position to do this... :)
Have your helper hold the screwdriver on each bolt, and once they are free, remove it.
Once off, treat yourselves to a "refreshing adult beverage"!

Edit: removing only one stand-off will enable removal of the ladder, unless there is something holding the pivot parts in place.
 
Last edited:

Thalassa

Junior Member
Thank you Loren. I was/still hoping to find a solution to disconnect the ladder from the L brackets instead.
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
Thank you Loren. I was/still hoping to find a solution to disconnect the ladder from the L brackets instead.
Thalassa: We use a simple portable ladder extension. Wish I could take a picture for you, but we are in an all time record ice and snow storm...for the next several days!
 

Thalassa

Junior Member
It will come off easily. Here's what the backing plates look like inside.

View attachment 37143
Thalassa: We use a simple portable ladder extension. Wish I could take a picture for you, but we are in an all time record ice and snow storm...for the next several days!
Thalassa: We use a simple portable ladder extension. Wish I could take a picture for you, but we are in an all time record ice and snow storm...for the next several days!
Thanks Tex, no worries this is not an emergency. Maybe you could send me a picture whenever convenient.
 

Thalassa

Junior Member
It will come off easily. Here's what the backing plates look like inside.

View attachment 37143
Thank you Christian. Just want to make sure, before squeezing into the transom lazarette, that the ladder can't be simply separated from the L brackets as this would be a much easier way. In order words you and Loren seem to imply that the ladder and the L brackets are one solid piece although the connecting part shows what looks like a removable tube. I think that I was able to move that horizontal tube just a 'hair' outward (using a screwdriver as a lever) but no further. Now thinking if there is a (remote?) possibility that it might have been screwed in. Which from a conceptional/engineering point of view would also be the better solution.
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
Either way, one of the mounts has to come off.

I'm not aware of a successful welded add-on to the ladder, but maybe you have a clever design. The bottom rung of the ladder, when in place, forms the stern pulpit (pushpit) on these boats, and would be difficult to alter elegantly. A temporary rope/pvc sections extension might suffice for swimming--if your crew swims in our 68F summer water.

What would be great is a modification to allow the ladder to be deployed by a swimmer, unassisted. Nobody has figured out how, for our stock Ericson ladder. I conceived a bag of lines to be lashed to the lowest rung on the stern (when ladder is in normal position) so a man overboard could open the bag and use the footstrap to climb the ladder even when it was not deployed. It remains a conception, like wings for my car.

Most sailboats can't be boarded by a swimmer unassisted. When I was a kid a sailor drowned and his family never knew what happened. When the boat was hauled out in the fall, they found written in pencil this inscription on the waterline: "I could not get back on board."
 

Dave G.

1984 EY30+ Ludington, MI
When I go out alone I release the ladder latch at the stanchion and tie a slip knot with a long tail to hold the ladder in place. So if I ended up in the water I could release the knot and pull the ladder down. I also throw out a floating line attached to the stern in hopes of grabbing it before the boat sails away. All that said it is totally untested so just a hopeful theory at this point.
 

nquigley

Member III
- seen these options?
- I use the latter option
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
I concur that the ladder is relatively easily removed by unscrewing the brackets. I did the same job recently.

You need two people: Send the more flexible person into the locker with a ratchet. Second person holds the screwdriver.

Flip your boat around in your slip if you have one, and the outside person can stand on the dock.

I think the L-piece is not intended to be removed from the ladder without a destructive approach.

IMG_1147.JPG
 

nquigley

Member III
Since the L-shaped pieces don't slide out once you've detached one mounting base, you have to undo both bracket attachment points. How did you manage to reach the stbd-most mounting base's backing nuts on the inside? Wasn't the glassed-in propane tank bin in the stbd stern lazarette in the way?
I know for certain that the upper stbd transom area is definitely inaccessible from the port rear lazarette - I had to cut an access hole in the aft combing to secure the stbd side legs of my radar/solar arch.
 

goldenstate

Sustaining Member
Blogs Author
Since the L-shaped pieces don't slide out once you've detached one mounting base, you have to undo both bracket attachment points. How did you manage to reach the stbd-most mounting base's backing nuts on the inside? Wasn't the glassed-in propane tank bin in the stbd stern lazarette in the way?
I know for certain that the upper stbd transom area is definitely inaccessible from the port rear lazarette - I had to cut an access hole in the aft combing to secure the stbd side legs of my radar/solar arch.
In my case, -this may be a 32-200 vs. 32-3 difference- the entire transom area is 'open' more or less as Christian's picture shows. There is no wall or separation between port and starboard. The propane locker fiberglass pot shape descends into the space, but one can reach around it. Bent at the waist, torso down into the port aft locker, I was at maximum arm's reach to get over to the starboard plate you mention.
 

nquigley

Member III
In my case, -this may be a 32-200 vs. 32-3 difference- the entire transom area is 'open' more or less as Christian's picture shows. There is no wall or separation between port and starboard. The propane locker fiberglass pot shape descends into the space, but one can reach around it. Bent at the waist, torso down into the port aft locker, I was at maximum arm's reach to get over to the starboard plate you mention.
Ah - good to know that you can reach around/under the propane locker/pot. I bet it was a wee bit uncomfortable ... like most of the less common projects we do on these things ;-)
 

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Moderator
Blogs Author
One of the features of ownership is lying in bed pondering access to inaccessible, impossible, ridiculous zones of the boat.

It is good therapy and, in the same way lifting weights turns us into Dwayne Johnson, strengthens also the mind. Makes us invincible. Rulers of the earth. Grants superiority over peers, those coddled victims of limited anatomy manacled forever to the underestimation of their own will.

We fit because it is necessary to fit. It may mean entering a lazarette head-first. It may mean multiple tries. It may mean that, instead of severing a foot like a short-sighted muskrat, we find a way to stick it past the water heater. It may mean we remove the water heater. Or the hoses in the way. Or the bulkhead. But as owners, we are bounden always by our belief that nothing is impossible, and however we contort or wriggle, jam or confoundedly find ourselves stuck, despite the rush of blood to the head or the thumb caught under our butt or the fact that the sun is low in the sky and it will soon be dark and, say, did we leave a note in the cockpit so first responders would know where to look for the body? --despite all that, we are consoled that the way back is always there, written in knuckle blood to lead us home just as Ariadne's thread guided Theseus from the Minotaur's lair.

It is said that if they put it in, we can take it out. Yes, I have measured nine times and drilled to find a bulkhead blocking the intended nut. I have descended into darkness, flowing around obstacles like low grade oil, only to to find I brought the wrong wrench. I have dropped the last screw, stuck to a screwdriver by lump of butyl, and had to drive five miles for the replacement. I have traced water lines through every hidden recess of the yacht for 10 hours looking for a leak that was in plain sight from the start, if I had not been so determined to make it harder than it was.

To remove a starter motor from under an M25 is flat out impossible, until somebody tells you (and did me), that there's an extension for a ratchet wrench, and do you think you're the first person ever to do it? To remove a traveler without removing the hatch is impossible--until a forum member welded up a specialty tool. A stuffing box, a topping lift, a new radio with its mysterious wires--all call for a moment of doubt, and yet all reveal in time the virginity of their innocence.

There is almost nothing we cannot do that a boat mechanic can do for $130/hour, given faith in the sacrifice of time and thought, determination, belief in ourselves, reliance upon the untested authority of the human will, and the unshakable image ever in mind of a cold beer and a shot of Cuervo afterwards. And in groveling for answers on this forum.

We are owners. We believe in ourselves.
 

Thalassa

Junior Member
Either way, one of the mounts has to come off.

I'm not aware of a successful welded add-on to the ladder, but maybe you have a clever design. The bottom rung of the ladder, when in place, forms the stern pulpit (pushpit) on these boats, and would be difficult to alter elegantly. A temporary rope/pvc sections extension might suffice for swimming--if your crew swims in our 68F summer water.

What would be great is a modification to allow the ladder to be deployed by a swimmer, unassisted. Nobody has figured out how, for our stock Ericson ladder. I conceived a bag of lines to be lashed to the lowest rung on the stern (when ladder is in normal position) so a man overboard could open the bag and use the footstrap to climb the ladder even when it was not deployed. It remains a conception, like wings for my car.

Most sailboats can't be boarded by a swimmer unassisted. When I was a kid a sailor drowned and his family never knew what happened. When the boat was hauled out in the fall, they found written in pencil this inscription on the waterline: "I could not get back on board."
One of the features of ownership is lying in bed pondering access to inaccessible, impossible, ridiculous zones of the boat.

It is good therapy and, in the same way lifting weights turns us into Dwayne Johnson, strengthens also the mind. Makes us invincible. Rulers of the earth. Grants superiority over peers, those coddled victims of limited anatomy manacled forever to the underestimation of their own will.

We fit because it is necessary to fit. It may mean entering a lazarette head-first. It may mean multiple tries. It may mean that, instead of severing a foot like a short-sighted muskrat, we find a way to stick it past the water heater. It may mean we remove the water heater. Or the hoses in the way. Or the bulkhead. But as owners, we are bounden always by our belief that nothing is impossible, and however we contort or wriggle, jam or confoundedly find ourselves stuck, despite the rush of blood to the head or the thumb caught under our butt or the fact that the sun is low in the sky and it will soon be dark and, say, did we leave a note in the cockpit so first responders would know where to look for the body? --despite all that, we are consoled that the way back is always there, written in knuckle blood to lead us home just as Ariadne's thread guided Theseus from the Minotaur's lair.

It is said that if they put it in, we can take it out. Yes, I have measured nine times and drilled to find a bulkhead blocking the intended nut. I have descended into darkness, flowing around obstacles like low grade oil, only to to find I brought the wrong wrench. I have dropped the last screw, stuck to a screwdriver by lump of butyl, and had to drive five miles for the replacement. I have traced water lines through every hidden recess of the yacht for 10 hours looking for a leak that was in plain sight from the start, if I had not been so determined to make it harder than it was.

To remove a starter motor from under an M25 is flat out impossible, until somebody tells you (and did me), that there's an extension for a ratchet wrench, and do you think you're the first person ever to do it? To remove a traveler without removing the hatch is impossible--until a forum member welded up a specialty tool. A stuffing box, a topping lift, a new radio with its mysterious wires--all call for a moment of doubt, and yet all reveal in time the virginity of their innocence.

There is almost nothing we cannot do that a boat mechanic can do for $130/hour, given faith in the sacrifice of time and thought, determination, belief in ourselves, reliance upon the untested authority of the human will, and the unshakable image ever in mind of a cold beer and a shot of Cuervo afterwards. And in groveling for answers on this forum.

We are owners. We believe in ourselves.
Christian, I think I'll frame those wise and inspiring words and consult them each time I'm hitting a 'road' block!
 

1911tex

Sustaining Member
It is said that if they put it in, we can take it out. Yes, I have measured nine times and drilled to find a bulkhead blocking the intended nut. I have descended into darkness, flowing around obstacles like low grade oil, only to to find I brought the wrong wrench. I have dropped the last screw, stuck to a screwdriver by lump of butyl, and had to drive five miles for the replacement. I have traced water lines through every hidden recess of the yacht for 10 hours looking for a leak that was in plain sight from the start, if I had not been so determined to make it harder than it was.

We are owners. We believe in ourselves.
Been there and still there and will ever be there!
 

Tin Kicker

Sustaining Member
Moderator
As others wrote, you need to send somebody down into the locker behind the propane tank BUT you do NOT want to simply have an extension welded onto the bottom of swim ladder for the 32-3 without doing some other mods.

The first of two reasons is that the existing attach points are fairly small and the fiberglass will crack, as mine have. This upside-down photo is of one of those attachments so you can see how the ladder pulling outward on the outside concentrates the load into a small area of flat fiberglass. iirc - The thickness was about 3/8"
20190224_141416-X2.jpg

The fix for this is fairly easy, in that when remounting the ladder you'll want to put a solid thick doubler between the mounting points inside the transom to spread the load pulling outward. I used half inch plywood, the original discs, and large fender washers.

The second problem is that the bottom of the ladder is already a long lever and the two small 1" feet are pressing in on the flat area of fiberglass lay-up. This is a high ratio lever pressing on the glass and a horrible design from the perspective of loads so no surprise that the feet on mine collapsed.
360_F_282425548_JtQX2Suo5WjFLTdbMe0mhIcWa0fQmhLv.jpg

When the ladder was off for repair I had new feet (1" tube) re-positioned to the locations of the blue tape below. This (1) reduces the pulling loads on the hinges, (2) the feet are not pressing hard on a flat area of glass, (3) they are on the built-up area of the corner, and (4) there is lower bending force on the ladder itself.
20190224_154432-X2.jpg
 
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