Our testing team arrived over Easter weekend and set forth on the Alberg in very light and variable winds, the kind that make you want to go swimming rather than sailing.
After a few tacks, it was apparent that we were not going to enjoy much wind on the day before Easter so we decided to toss the anchor out and deploy the swim ladder. It had been a long time since I had installed the ladder and this was the first time that it would receive a brutal test by numerous folks. Using a tough testing team, two grand-kids, we paid out the anchor rode and basked in the sun while the kids attempted to wear out the ladder.
It proved it's weight in stainless steel, as the kids and a couple of us adults tramped up and down on it for a couple of hours.
The kids weighed less than 50 pounds and both of us adults were at about the 200 pound level. Every time I mounted aboard I detected no movement whatsoever in the deck plate mounting which I had painstakingly affixed from below. The backing plates were enormous 6x6 stainless steel plates of about 1/8th's thickness.
One of our testers illustrating good technique coming aboard. The ladder extends about 4 feet down. With about a 3 foot free-board, the last step is submerged and rather easy for the small testing crew to negotiate. At 5'11" I did not find it hard to plant a foot and pull myself upward. One of the benefits of the side installation is being in close proximity to the lifelines and the shrouds which make for additional safety coming aboard. A great investment in fun and safety.
During the testing phase I was able to validate the ease by which if happening to fall overboard while solo sailing, I could remount the vessel. The reach from water to cap rail is about an arm's length for me, enabling me to hoist myself up and grab the ladder and deploy it over the free-board. Now I can remove the small lines I'd put in place to hoist it via the life-lines. They were awkward and being within easy reach the ladder becomes a valid safety feature for single-handing.
In this photo, the senior tester is examining the ease with which one can maneuver from the swim ladder to the fore deck.
All said and done, the Easter test was a grand success despite the lack of wind. Fortunately, the iron genny I repaired the other week was running without flaw for the entire testing period. We've got a placeholder for August with the same testing group for eclipse operations. We may have to turn on the running lights!