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Old 05-29-2020, 12:51 PM   #1
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Grand Banks Boarding Step

When first encountering the new to me Grand Banks 36, when attempting to board my wife looked a bit like a bull looking at a new gate. She managed to board but stated she could not get off without assistance. Not just the 24" drop having to step over the 9" gunwale, but also the distance out to the floating dock.

I kinda use the rub rail for a foothold, but it is a bit "uncertain".

I could just use a 2 or 3 step Taylor poly portable step which would solve the height, but not the distance out.

I wondered if anyone has found a step or has made one that attaches to or goes over gunwale and provides a full step out? The ladder below is the "over" the gunwale, or "attach to top of gunwale with keyhole mounting" concept. The drawing below is a sketch of a fabricated "step out" that would go over the gunwale with weight carried by the combination of gunwale, rubrail and torque supported by the insulated leg against the hull. I could make such a thing or similar out of wood or get someone to bend and weld some aluminum tubing. Or I could take the gunwale ladder like in the pic and modify it.

I would then also use a 1 or two step stool on the dock, and there would be less risk of it being pushed when crossing from the stool to the boat step.

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Old 05-29-2020, 01:08 PM   #2
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Boarding step plans.

I have plans for a boarding step for a 42. Probably could be altered to fit a 36. If you want to pm me your email I will send to you. I canít get it to attach to this message.
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Old 05-29-2020, 02:01 PM   #3
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https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...der-10513.html

Link above is to the thread showing a concept.

This is very similar to what I was thinking about except those little attachments at the top. I thought about going over the gunwale and making the step a bit deeper so that you could step down forward rather than just backwards. Making the step deeper would introduce significantly more torque, making the top attachment strength more critical.

BTW--Marylanders Dave and Betsy's very nice blog about their 42 Monk on the Great Loop--link below

https://mvfryedaze.blogspot.com/
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:42 AM   #4
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17 in high two step stool works pretty well, but still a pretty large "gulf" to step over.
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Attachment 103199

17 in high two step stool works pretty well, but still a pretty large "gulf" to step over.
Those plastic steps are dangerous, so must be treated with a lot of caution. They bend with a heavy person, the feet will slide, no matter how well you try to secure them, They are the full width of your fender, plus the bull rail away from the side of your boat, and move with the dock, not with the boat.
When you can, get a step that attaches securely to the boat.
The concept shown in post #3 works, though the bottom step could be wider than the top step, for better access and for facing the dock when leaving the boat.
Those clips at the boat side of the attachment could be made of thicker material to provide confidence.
When I built my own steps, I bought a pair of 4" SS cleats with a 4 screw base, cut off the horns and used the centre part to attach the ladder hangars. Much more robust than the little bits shown above.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:14 AM   #6
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There is a wide variance in the strength of "plastic steps". I weigh 220# and the one in the picture, rated for 300# does not flex at all. Weight is carried by four rubber tipped reinforced feet..not by the plastic. It is as stable or more so than the Taylor marine steps. With the flexible mat, I could not move it sideways until the angle of my pushing was more than 30 degrees. So the relative safety depends on the "stride" of the person...the taller one is the more weight is almost straight down. Works well for me 6' tall. Works less well for my 5'4" wife.

Still, anything not physically attached to dock or boat is potentially dangerous. Of course, boarding a boat that moves relative to the dock, no matter what means is provided is dangerous...particularly for shorter elderly passengers.

Some narrow floating dock "fingers" can twist a lot, require good balance as you walk down them. In a perfect world, there would be railings. So, docks and boarding is kind of a calculated risk management task.

I do agree that steps fixed securely to the boat and easy reach to boat railing, with the boat pulled tight to the dock is probably the lowest risk scenario.
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:36 AM   #7
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We have a DeFever 44 Offshore, and the sundeck access is pretty high compared to the height of most floating docks.
At our home marina, I have a Little Giant step ladder cabled to the dock for stability. The higher handrail really makes it safer for older/younger crew.
When visiting other marinas, we use the standard DeFever/Marquipt boarding ladder.
We considered installing an articulating Marquipt stair, but they tend to block the slip neighbor's access on the finger pier, and thet are a lot heavier to stow than the standard aluminum boarding ladder.
Each boat/dock/owner may have different needs.....Click image for larger version

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Old 05-31-2020, 11:31 AM   #8
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We added a teak step strip to the top of the rub rail. Good traction.
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Old 05-31-2020, 12:30 PM   #9
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We have a ladder that attaches to brackets that are on each side of the boat. We love it, works well. I made a safety strap to hold it in case it gets knocked off the brackets so that the ladder wonít float to the bottom. Everything floats, just some things float on the bottom instead of the top of the water.
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Old 05-31-2020, 01:01 PM   #10
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Maybe boarding stairs would feel more comfortable for her. Something like this. Pretty cheap, light, and could be carried on deck. Also note the handrail.


https://www.amazon.com/TaylorMade-Pr...language=en_US



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Old 06-01-2020, 01:01 PM   #11
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I had the one stroutmail posted. I didn’t read the links but you used to be able to buy a kit in hardwood (teak or mahogany?) for that step that was already cut out. You could modify the profile to fit your boat.
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Old 06-04-2020, 10:16 PM   #12
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Hooks are bronze from a broken swimgrid support, hull attachments 4" cleats, with the horns cut off, ladder I made.
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Old 06-05-2020, 09:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
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Hooks are bronze from a broken swimgrid support, hull attachments 4" cleats, with the horns cut off, ladder I made.
Nice...did you thru bolt the cleats thru the gunwale or just screw them in?

Where did the metal hook/strip come from?
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Old 06-05-2020, 10:17 AM   #14
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Nice...did you thru bolt the cleats thru the gunwale or just screw them in?

Where did the metal hook/strip come from?
Thru bolts for the cleats.

I made the metal hook/strips, to match one I had seen, I made it all out of wood, maple because that was what I had lying around, took the wood prototype to a high school Industrial Education class who did a unit on foundry, the sand cast was made from the piece of wood, the bronze bits were cast in the sand. I supplied the broken bronze support from my swimgrid replacement project of a few years before, got back a pair of hook strips that continue to perform well. I cleaned them up and polished them before cutting the wood of the steps to fit.

Another current thread on coating brass, talks about various coatings. I just varnish over the bronze when redoing other varnish nearby.
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Old 06-10-2020, 12:50 PM   #15
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ID:	103698I just made this one..pic is before painting. Used 3/4" select pine at Home Depot..12 feet of 1x12. Pine is not particularly strong, but it is easy to work with. Had to reinforce for strength. Oriented wood grain for load. Calculations rate it at 400 pound capacity. A bit of custom fitting required.."hook" portion slides over gunwale and tread "sits" on rub rail, with some load taken also by gunwale trim. "Torque" keeps it against hull.

It is only a one step...about 17" above typical floating dock...some less agile would require a one step stool on the dock, but most can navigate using this one 17" step while holding on to boat railing.
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Old 06-10-2020, 12:59 PM   #16
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Attachment 103698I just made this one..pic is before painting. Used 3/4" select pine at Home Depot..12 feet of 1x12. Pine is not particularly strong, but it is easy to work with. Had to reinforce for strength. Calculations rate it at 400 pound capacity. A bit of custom fitting required..it "sits" on rub rail, with some load taken also by gunwale trim. "Torque" keeps it against hull.
Nice!
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Old 06-10-2020, 04:15 PM   #17
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Here is the step painted.

Amazing controversy about paint, varnish, coatings for wood. Since I used pine, and not teak, I researched what paint worked best for Adirondack chairs which are often made from pine.. Seems like several people claimed lacquer worked best as supposedly resins bond with wood, so I used automotive lacquer from Advanced Auto, and brushed it on..took many coats, used almost a pint of paint. Thought about Watco, but thought paint would shield UV best.
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Old 06-10-2020, 10:39 PM   #18
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step

Very nice. I am presently attempting to build one just about like that. If you had some dimensions you came up with that you could share it might save me
a lot of wood. I have some 1 1/4" mahogany left over from plank replacement job that I was planning to use.

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Old 06-11-2020, 07:50 AM   #19
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I cut the sides from 11.5 in x 23 in pieces. The step is 15 in wide, and 9 in deep. I made a pattern by cutting a piece of cardboard with scissors, using duct tape for adjusting small size and shape. The "channel" of the hook section is 2 3/4 in to fit/slide over rail. The "notch" below the step is the same height as the "hook" to clear the rub rail. The dimension from the radius that rests on rub rail and the hook that sits on gunwale rail is about 10 in....this dimension is critical..you want the weight to be carried by both surfaces..this requires "custom fitting"...port and starboard are slightly different.

The "feet" below the rub rail are to share the torque with the hook. They too will have to be fitted by making adjustments after assembly.

This design places stress on rub rail and gunwale that boat designer probably did not consider, so I tried to minimize forces by spreading loads onto more than one surface. I also over designed for strength as I figured wood kinda weakens over time when subjected to sun and rain. All of the joints where attached with screws and epoxy. I added strength for step by routering channels in the sides.

Mahogany is probably almost twice as strong as pine so 1 1/4 should be OK..just a bit harder to "machine" to make those "fitting" adjustments. (I used a knife to carve or whittle when fitting.)

We moved to a condo and I gave away most of my sophisticated woodworking tools. My tools were a hand held jig saw, a circular saw, a sharp hand saw, a router, a sharp knife, 4 in grinder, a Dremel die grinder, and an orbital sander..my work bench was the tailgate of my pickup.
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Old 06-11-2020, 10:23 AM   #20
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Thanks, I seem to be on the right track. Not being a precision wood worker and using a piece of paneling to make a pattern, I hope I don't run out of panel redoing the shape. I have access to a decent wood shop but it is 15 miles from the boat.
If I end up with more than a pile of wood scraps I'll post a picture.
Thanks again.
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