How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

I want to build a sailing/pulling boat and the Skerry has caught my fancy.

Question: suppose I find myself in the water (hopefully not accidentally.) Is it possible to climb back into a Skerry? I'm 66 years old and reasonably spry, but not as much as I once was.


11 replies:

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RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

   I can't answer your question about the Skerry, but it is quite easy on the Northeaster Dory. I can easily pull myself in between the aft thwart and the sternsheets. It's just like getting out of the deep end of a swimming pool. The rail tips down almost to water level and I slide in, bringing only a few splashes of water with me.

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

   It will be a lot like getting back in a canoe.  I haven't done it yet with mine, but I have entered from a dock enough to know it is a bit tender.  Ultimate stability is pretty good, but the narrow waterline means it will tip toward you if you don't distribute your weight across it.   But you don't have as convenient handholds like the thwarts on most canoes, and it's wider so reaching the opposite gunwale might be a trick.  Thinking about this, I might make a couple of web loops that I can tie into the center thwart (through the limber holes?) that are long enough to reach over the sides to give myself an easier handhold.  Something to try when warm weather and water returns!

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

I have a Skerry and I'm 66 years old (nearly 67!) and I can get back in reasonably easily. I try not to have to though as it's getting more and more difficult asI get older. My usual procedure is to try and get some of the water out before pulling myself in but it is possible to almost swim into the boat and if you can stop it going over again, start bailing. My Skerry will stay afloat full of water and with me in it but it will roll easily. I don't sail it much now partly  because of this but then I originally built it for a rowing boat that I could sail if I wanted to. 

It's a great rowing boat and I have other options for sailing so it is used mainly as a rowing boat. I use it in the sea exclusively by the way and with a great coastline to explore where I live (just south of Marmaris in Turkey) it's an ideal small boat (and the water is warm if you do capsize lol). I can row it for hours (I enjoy rowing, have a rowing machine in the house and I'm in an online indoor rowing club) and cover a lot of miles in a day. If I have a criticism it can be tough going against a stiff breeze as most of the boat is out of the water but good planning can aleviate that. I have 4 boats at the moment and the Skerry is very much the favourite.

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

 I dumped my Skerry once - the first day I sailed it. The problem was that I didn't have the clip that keeps the rudder from floating out of the gudgeons installed. As I came about and pushed the tiller, the rudder came out and I went for a swim. Anyway, as Yambo said, it is pretty easy to get back in the boat. But, to keep it upright, I had to remove the sail rig. It is just too top heavy with the sail & mast up -  and the boat full of water. It was disconcerting at the time but a good lesson. Once I figured it out, it was pretty easy to uninstall the sail rig, tie it off to the boat, get in the boat and bail. You absolutely need a bailing bucket. I also bring Clorox bottle that I cut for bailing so I can bail 1-handed. I have had 1 1/2 seasons with the boat and love it. I've been in strong and gusty winds and kept it upright.

 

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

If I'm sailing or rowing on a very hot day I may want to jump in for a dip. Would it be reasonably easy to climb back in without swamping the boat, or should I forget the dip?

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

Climb in at the stern if you are on your own. I weigh in at around 90 kgs and if I try and climb in amidships I'll start filling the boat. Getting in at the stern lifts the bow quite high but prevents loading water. I wouldn't say it's that easy mind. If you have somebody with you it's easy, just get them to balance the boat and climb in amidships.

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

I've had a Skerry now for three summers.  I do most of my sailing on a lake where I have to share the water with a bunch of motorboaters pulling tubes or water skiers.  I recently turned 75, and I've capsized more than once (sometimes helped along by a wake), so I've learned a thing or two.  As Dan-PA suggests, you really want to pull out the mast and let it float nearby.  Between the weight of the rig and the windage of the sail, a swamped Skerry is quite tender unless you do.  And as Yambo suggests, it works best to climb in at the stern. If I'm going out alone on a windy day, I tie on a Sea-Step from C-Level Inc. (http://clevel.com/catalog.htm).  I discovered the Sea-Step in an online test report of boarding ladders for small boats by BoatU.S. Foundation, which is well worth reading (https://www.boatus.org/findings/44/).

I bought the Sea-Step with a single step.  I've only had to use it a couple of times, but it's worked very well for me.  Obviously, I tie it on before I leave the shore.  Until it's needed, it sits on the stern seat.  If I go over, I right the boat and position it on the port side of the rudder, opposite the tiller, and step right up.  You'll have to figure out a good way to tie it on.  In my case, this was easy, as I had bored a hole, maybe 5/8" diameter, in each breasthook when I built the boat in class at CLC.  I car-topped the boat home and I wanted to tie it down securely fore and aft.

I've only used the Sea-Step to reboard after capsizing, so I've not tried reboarding a "dry" boat.  I think it would work, though, even leaving the mast in, assuming you struck the sail before going for a swim.

hokker

   

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

Doesn't a "soft" ladder push under the hull and leave you leaning backwards with the boat tilted over you? Or is there a trick?

Laszlo

 

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

That's potentially an issue with any ladder.  However, I no longer have the arm strength to hoist myself up unaided.  I think the simplicity of the Sea-Step is an advantage.  I keep the ladder as short as i can, make sure it's hanging as far aft as possible, get my right foot set in the stirrup (sp?) before putting any weight on it, and heave myself up as smoothly and quickly as possible - appearances be damned.  Obviously, it's a good idea to practice capsize recovery, no matter what the method.  

hokker

 

 

RE: How easy to climb back in a Skerry?

The trick to using any sort of rope ladder or jacob's ladder or other method of climbing up involving placing the feet into loops not supported against the side of the boat is to approach it like an arialist climbing those long, skinny, whispy rigs they use in the circus, i.e., address the ladder from the side, placing the feet alternately from the "front" and "back" as one goes up, preferably inserting the heels rather than the toes, not trying to place the first foot too high relative to one's hips, and getting a good pull from the hands placed above one's head with each step.

Here's a video which demonstrates the basic idea:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bv9opQXiX_E

That ladder would, I think, more properly be called a "jacob's ladder" since it has rigid rungs of wood or some such.  An actual rope ladder has rope rungs as well, consisting of either a single line if it is heavy stuff made up with some sort of netting knot, or made up with alternating hangman or heaving line knots from smaller stuff something like this:

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/2b/79/a3/2b79a30d8791fe4438f1080fd61efd81.jpg

I made a rope ladder like this from some 3/8" three-strand nylon (don't use polypro--it floats) which we used aboard our Sea Pearl 21 for years.  The fat rungs were easy on the bare feet (mostly used in recovering swimmers), and it stowed away quite easily when not wanted.  People always had trouble with it until I showed them the airialist technique, as had I before somebody explained it to me.  Ours had six rungs, which was enough to get the lowest one submerged far enough that the first foot didn't need to do more than just get one's head out of the water before the leg was fully extended, making it easier to keep one's weight close to the ladder to keep from going upsy-daisy.

A quick and dirty rope ladder can be gotten up in a pinch with multiple alpine butterfly knots (my personal favorite of the various manrope knots, once I learned a technique for tossing them in quickly), spaced appropriately.

.....Michael

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