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Mermaid, the boat we used in the Caribbean ten years ago, had a fantastic “sugar scoop” transom, with easy access from the dinghy and a great water-level deck to sit on while putting on dive fins.  It also made it easy to retrieve people from the water, should they fall overboard.  Sugar scoop transoms are now found on practically every new boat.

Bright Water, like many boats her age, has a reverse “wine glass” transom.  It’s small, it slopes aft, and it is not meant to provide access to the boat.  Visitors to boats of this era were expected to tie their dingy’s alongside and crawl up and over the rail.  Swimmers in the water are completely unable to climb on to the boat unless there is someone on board to install a ladder over the side.  Very dangerous.

So we’re designing and building a “swing-down” swim step and ladder for the transom.  Today we built a prototype out of conduit and posterboard.  Here’s a picture of the prototype swim step in the down position.

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There are two ladders to keep a dingy from washing underneath the deck.  In use, the bottom step will be about six inches underwater, which is probably not enough.  Here’s a picture of our smaller dingy alongside the prototype.

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Perfect.  When we prepare to get underway, we flip the whole framework up and attach it to the rail on the transom.  Then we disconnect the deck, which hangs vertically, and hang the dingy on slings between the two frames.

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When the frame is mounted on the transom, the dinghy will hang vertically, about three feet off the water.

We’ll try it on the boat tomorrow, then get the real thing built out of shiny stainless tubing.  Easy peasy.

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