The “finished” Boarding Ladder cum Scramble Net
New Jack Stays. The old jackstays were ten years old so before making the ladder, it seemed prudent to make some nice new ones. Always best to stop people falling overboard in the first place!
Made from 3,000 kgf polyester webbing with Sunstop polyester V92 thread in a visible colour. Lashing lines are 5 mm matt polyester.

I’ve finished the the Scramble Net cum Boarding Ladder! Ok, I haven’t tested it yet, so it could be a totally useless pile of junk but we shall find out in a few weeks when I hope to test it in the chilly London Docks.

I was surprised how many things didn’t work. In the original drawing the webbing was just one loop at the top to be tossed over the winch which was being used as a strongpoint. However, when you put your foot on one side of the first rung, the loop slid around the “winch” and the rung just tilted over.

The original top loop had to be split into two separate loops to prevent the whole thing tilting

Another problem was that the rungs with their flexible nylon rods just slid through the central webbing. As I couldn’t get that area underneath my sewing machine I had to needle and palm stich them together using Speedy Stitcher polyester thread.

All the stitching was done on my Sailrite sewing machine except where I needed to secure the rungs to the central web to prevent them from sliding through. That was a needle and palm job.

The original wheels that I bought to hold the unit off the hull were way too big. I only chose them because the bore was 20 mm to fit the stainless tube.

Showing the massive 160 mm diameter wheels that were quickly swapped for 100 mm ones shown alongside

I had to buy some smaller ones and drill them out with a hole saw which kind of worked for this application. I bought them from Bearing Boys Ltd.

The hole saw in a pillar drill worked OK, but the plastic hub got very hot. Definitely a lathe job if they were actually being used as castors, but fine for this job.

Of course the narrower hub of the wheels meant needing to cut down the length of the stainless steel tube.

This is a handy gizmo from Supertool Japan. It removes the sharp burr from steel or plastic tubes.

I found that as I sewed the webbing, the ladder gradually shrank off the original masking tape marks. The doubled up central webbing seemed to be the worst offender. I wasn’t too worried, the measurements were only sucked out of thin air.

You can see how the sewn central webbing moved everything up a bit.

All the sewing was done with UV protected Sunstop Polyester Thread V92 size. With a stitch length of between 8 and 12 per inch it will apparently give a strength of 180 lb per inch (according to our friends at Sailrite). All the webbing was polyester from Point North Fabrics UK. The solid 12 mm diameter nylon rods which slid inside the polyester tubular webbing were from Metals4U. The thread came from Bainbridge International.

I choose a lightweight 6 mm floating polypropylene rescue line to be used for the parbuckling process. I’ll cut it to length after our testing is complete.

So here is a little video showing the final construction

Next up will be the testing the beast in the docks both as a ladder and in the “parbuckle rescue mode” It could be fun!

…and its a wrap! I hope the damn thing works now I’ve made a nice bag for it!

Breaking News!

My friend Torsten has just sadly informed me of a gross copyright infringement. After all the design work I have put into the project, I am gutted.

Obviously a direct copy of my design. If I catch the culprit I’ll have their webbing for garters.

2 Responses

  1. I find anything to do with a boat takes way more time than any land makes. It’s so time consuming but if it works and fingers crossed it will prove to be so when you test in the London docks, then all this hard work will be worth it.

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