Windvanes 101Crash Course in Selfsteering Systems
Swim Ladder Location
The location of boarding ladders sometimes presents a small problem and many times we have wished that boat builders and designers put the boarding ladders where they have been for thousands of years, midships. For the majority of yachts this is the natural location to get people and goods on and off the boat. This is the lowest place with the best motion. Unless the boat has a wide swim platform at the same level as your dingy entering a boat from the stern is highly impractical. On a conventional boat design with an overhang the dingy will have a tendency to slide under the transom and with a modern reverse transom it is a long way from the dingy to the stern rail. In addition, the stern rail is often rather high and often cluttered with antennas, barbecues, radar masts and life buoys.
Most boats have their swim ladder already mounted in the center of the transom when it is time to select a windvane. The idea to move the swimladder is initially rejected and off center mounting of the self-steering gear is understandably appealing. In our opinion, all windvanes, regardless of brand, should be mounted in the center of the transom on a monohull. Downwind it might be all right to have an off center installation but going to weather or on a reach it would not work very well or not at all. On one tack the servo oar would be up in the air and on the other tack it would be submerged too deep in the water.
Once again, it is a matter of priorities. If you want a windvane to work with maximum efficiency you mount the windvane in the correct place and relocate the swimladder . The boarding ladder is only used once in a while and it can be located in many places. Just make sure that your priorities are right.