269. Top Tips Tuesday - Three Steps To Heaven

Three Steps To Heaven was a song co-written by Eddie Cochran and released in 1960. The record became a posthumous UK number-one hit for Cochran following his death in a car accident in April 1960. Whilst I do admit these days to being an old git, I can only vaguely remember the song on radio Luxembourg. It was re-released by Showaddywaddy in 1975 and I was told in no uncertain terms by my big brother that the original was by far the best, and who was I to argue! In those days the shearline (where the hull meets the deck) was perhaps one metre, maybe slightly more, above the waterline. Fast forward some forty or fifty years and very few boats designed/built have a low freeboard, below deck headroom and loads of storage is what skippers and their crew want. The downside of increasing the freeboard is that the distance from the deck to the marina pontoon is, on most modern boats of over 35 feet, a bit of a challenge and climbing aboard or off amidships becomes hard work. Rigid ladders are all very well but storage is often an issue and they can be damaged or damage the hull if, say, a passing boat throws up a 'bit' of a wash and the ladder gets trapped between the hull and the pontoon or quay.

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Fortunately those clever folks at the various fender manufacturers have made life easier for those sailors who have higher topsides than we have on Hindsight our Mystery 35. Fender steps range from a single rung to a two, three or even a four rung step. Being flexible there is no danger of damage to the boat and of course being manufactured from a tough but flexible yielding material they will protect the hull if it gets some movement from a passing boat!

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High topsides, of course, do present other challenges such as getting a line ashore to a pontoon cleat or ring and then back to the boat. Not new to the market but redesigned in so much as the head is now manufactured from carbon/glass reinforced PA with forged aluminium and stainless, is the Hook and Moor M60. This fiendishly clever boat hook can be extended from 1-25m to 3-2m and, as it says on the label, 'thread the dockline through rings, cleats and buoy rings with a simple push or pull. Like magic or three steps to heaven?

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