Swim ladders swim platforms and davits

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Ideal combination of swim platform and windvane gear on a Roberts 53.

The presence of a swim ladder in the centre of the transom admittedly makes installing a windvane gear slightly less straightforward, but the swim ladder is not necessarily as important on long-distance voyages as some people think. The idea that a swim ladder is an essential means of recovering a crew member lost overboard sounds good in theory, but MOBs are most likely to occur when the sea is rough, the boat is bouncing around and under the transom is a very dangerous place to be. The crew member would be better recovered over the side in these circumstances. Folding swim ladders stored in plastic boxes and positioned on both sides of the boat amidships would be a practical solution.

Ideal combination of swim platform and windvane gear on a Roberts 53.

A swim platform is the perfect landing place on a long voyage and makes boarding the dinghy much easier when lying at anchor. It should ideally be about

50 cm / 20 in above the water. Often standard on modern French designs, this feature only really comes into its own on a long trip. After a few rounds of struggling up the swim ladder with provisions or fuel cans a sailor could easily come to covet his or her neighbours' platform. The platform is also good for showering in fresh water after a swim as it keeps the salt out of the boat. With proper planning it is quite possible to install a windvane gear and a swim platform at the same time.

Davits and a acific Plus are perfectly French Ovni 43, moored in Las Palmas, compatible on this HR 41 in Pepeete. ready for a long passage.

Davits can be fitted in around a windvane gear given the following. An inflatable will spend the bulk of a long-distance trip either lashed to the deck or packed away and stowed. It would be irresponsible on an ocean crossing to leave a tender exposed on davits to bad weather and big seas, and with the dinghy out of the way the windvane gear has all the space it needs. Modern windvane systems can be removed very quickly, so it is perfectly straightforward to swap between the tender and the gear as required. The pendulum rudder is the only part of the PACIFIC PLUS which could foul the tender, and this can be removed by undoing just one bolt. The auxiliary rudder does not interfere with the tender at all.

Following the suggestions above it should be possible to combine swim platform, davits, offset-mounted swim ladder and windvane gear and still enjoy the full benefits of each. They all play very useful roles at various points of a blue water voyage and it would be a shame to have to manage without. The Pacific Plus could even be partially integrated into the swim platform, given a little forethought, which amongst other things would help protect the auxiliary rudder when reversing. Even the pendulum unit could be protected: it is angled down and back by 10 degrees in use, and therefore up and forward by the same amount in its raised position, so if the platform extended back to the shaft it would project beyond the raised pendulum rudder.

Consideration should also be given to the positioning of the various antennas. An equipment carrier with integrated davits such as that favoured by French Garcia yard is an ideal solution, putting the GPS, Inmarsat, radar and VHF antennas, solar panels and wind generator about 2m / 6 ft above the deck. This position keeps them clear of the crew and ensures good reception, short cable paths to the receivers and, perhaps most importantly, protects the sensitive antennas from clumsy crew. Pushpit-mounted GPS antennas are forever being sat on or mistaken for convenient handholds.

A practical and visually unobjectionable solution can always be found provided the requirements of the various items to be fitted are properly assessed in the planning stage. Every subsequent addition or modification (eg davits, wind generator mast, etc) means extra weight and more unattractive clutter

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