One Ladder to rule them all!

Projects & Maintenance

Amongst our inherited deck gear was a collapsable PVC ladder we could position and deploy amidships, either port or starboard side. It worked well enough as a boarding ladder at anchor, but it had to be stowed while underway. The mounts on the caprail had plastic slide-locks that had broken or emancipated themselves long ago, and this was an issue of concern. In a MOB situation, it was less than practical and hardly ideal…to be quite honest – it was worthless. However, there were few alternatives out there that improved upon the status quo.

Many of the ladders on the market aren’t up to the combined duty of boarding & safety. We needed something a single person could deploy quickly and easily, either aboard or in the water. Add to that requirement – something robust, sturdy and devoid of degradable plastic pieces. Such an animal would not be cheap, but considering the lives of my crew and my own, a pennywise approach seemed rather foolish in the grand scheme of things.

So, Ladies and Gentlemen without further ado, I give you the Mystic Stainless Steel Foldaway Ladder. Ave Maria!!!

Here's the rough install on the starboard side. I'll still need to rig a quick release cord to have the ladder deployable from the water.

Here’s the rough install on the starboard side. I’ll still need to rig a quick release cord to have the ladder deployable from the water.

It was the only ladder I found that met our criteria: accessible both for boarding and MOB events, instantly deployable and…shiny as all get out. With one pull of a line this little beauty deploys 70″ of stainless steel and teak to where it’s needed. It’s also rated to support my fat ass as I shimmy up into the boat like a pregnant harbor seal.

To sing praise of the folks at Mystic, they were helpful and pleasant to work with and had the ladder made to my specs and shipped in a week. We sprang for a few extras, optional teak steps installed and an additional pair of mounts for the port side so we could swap the ladder from port to starboard if needed. It wasn’t cheap. But the sticker shock was assuaged by the indubitable quality of the ladder upon arrival. Well-made and built to last.


Installation was simple. The two removable mounts were screwed to the cap-rail and the ladder is kept in place by two bypass pins. I measured the length of each stand-off tube in terms of the hull shape and cut them to size with a tubing cutter. Then, with the rubber boots fitted to the ends we checked for contact and alignment. Perfect! The only problem being, with the stand-offs customized to the starboard tumblehome they wouldn’t work if moved to the port side…so having another set of removable mounts proved useless. Or so I thought. The good folks at Mystic offered a simple solution – removable extensions on the standoffs, making them interchangeable for either side. For today, I’ll call the ladder project done.


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