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Old 27-12-2014, 05:14   #31
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Concerning expense -- yes, I'm shocked at all the prices for dinghies these days. My present dink came with the boat, so I haven't bought one in eons. But still -- $3500 for a fold-up boat??

I can't keep a RIB on my foredeck -- I've a cutter rig with deck-sweeping staysail.
A big boat like yours and there is no place on deck to store a dinghy while on passage??? Maybe a pendent on the staysail? Is yours a center-cockpit? If so, the aft deck, perhaps cross ways. Or under the main boom. Boats with a lot less deck real estate than yours find good places for their dinks on passage. I'd put good, reliable dinghy storage on passage pretty high up on my list of deck space usage.
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Old 27-12-2014, 05:17   #32
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

I am anchored in San Jacinto bay, Guanica PR since Wednesday. My tender us a 10' PaB Alpha 1 series bought new 8 months ago. I also have a 9' Apex dinghy with soft bottom in one of my lockers rolled up. Only used it once since I have the PaB.
When I got my PaB I did some modifications before it hit water for the first time.
Installed 4 lifting points, changed seat bolts for proper ones and redrilled holes for easier assembly, installed SS drain, painted black seats with grey epoxy paint (flame treated plastic seats before painting!), changed a few screws and nuts which were either to short or not adequate.
It takes me ten minutes the most from car top to fully assemble the bote, not including to mount the engine as I do this with the engine lift on my 39' sailboat.
Never assembled the bote on my boat though as I carry it assembled on my davits with no problem.
It actually rows quite well even though this is not what I usually do. Should keep the oars disassembled as they corrode and it took a torch to separate them again.
I use a 6hp fourstroke which works perfectly well. Flat water plaining with wife, dog and myselfe. 1' chop plaining with 110lb dog and myselfe. the bote is pretty fast with this little engine. No way to plane the Apex with same engine making it a wet ride in chop, not so the PaB.
The bote is not as stable as an inflatable which is the main concern of my wife. Going in and out is more difficult for the dog, specially on the beach.
When the dog shifts, I have to shift. As it turned out it was a matter of getting used to it taking some time however.
Zipping around in the large bay where I am actually is a blast compared with the Apex using the same engine. With my 2 hp Honda spare engine it still moves quite well.
I just come back from getting some bait with my throw net which is no problem
there is a lot of space and you can stand up to throw the net as long at it is calm.
The bote is tough, no more worries about punctures.
After a getting used to phase I love the bote. Wife and dog are not complaining anymore either.
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Old 27-12-2014, 07:13   #33
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

This is a vexing problem. I don't want davits, it would look out of place and likely be unreliable. PB's are ugly, rolled up inflatables are a pain and requires gasoline on the boat, a no no in my view....
I don't have a solution... So, waiting, watching and reading. Come on you geniuses... A solution is needed.
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Old 27-12-2014, 07:52   #34
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

The fine print: Those of you who believe the maker's weight specs are not getting the full picture. Add the seats, oars, transom and you're adding about 30 pounds maybe more. The seats and transom take about as much additional stowed space as the folded hull. There are sharp edges, in cool weather the black seam covers harden and stiffen, and they made black marks on my deck. The transom corners can easily scratch your topsides, or even dent a cored hull if there's an impact. There's no boarding over the bow at a crowded dinghy dock -- especially if you need to carry anything in one hand.

I had bought one and sold it quickly. Inflatables also have downsides but overall are the better choice for me.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:23   #35
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Even though I've already read a zillion dinghy threads it seems, I'm always drawn to yet another one. Maybe because it's one of those largely unsolveable cruising boat issues that I'm hoping somebody comes up with a solution for. If nothing else, it's always helpful to read others opinions & experiences.

I recently replaced my tattered, 7-year old 8' Achilles inflatable with a new 10' one with an air floor. I've read about some drawbacks to the air floor, but ultimately went with the lighter weight and easier set-up. I too spent a bunch of time considering a Porta-Bote and went and looked at one. It definitely has some promising features but in the end I went with another inflatable, for better or worse. I have an old 4hp Mercury 2-stroke that would get my 8' up on plane if I was solo, and I suspect will do equally well with my new 10'-er. I found a new, leftover model on Defender and paid $2,100 plus shipping.

I have dismissed installing davits, given the expense, weight, and aesthetics (oh, the vanity . . .). I can easily deflate the inflatable, roll it up, and stow it on the afterdeck (I have a CC), or wrestle it down below for significant offshore passages. Sometimes I'll store it inflated on the foredeck or even tow it, but only in benign conditions with an equally benign forecast. Like Dockhead, I have a generator and so use my small, reversible shop-vac to blow it up to about 90%, and then finish it off with the foot pump. It can be a PITA but overall pretty manageable.

What has me most intrigued thus far was a nesting dinghy that I saw on one of Minaret's build threads I think. The one that I saw used some sort of membrane that allowed you to assemble/disassemble the two halves in the water. Had a sailing rig too as I recall. But then you need to install chalks & have the deck space, of course. Even something like an inexpensive Walker Bay could be the ticket if you have the room under the boom, for example, but installing proper chalks would be no easy matter. And then there's the weight & hassle of getting it shipped on & off. All a compromise . . . .
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:34   #36
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

As usual, there are differing opinions. Considering our different boats and different needs and wants, that's understandable. Even though I chose to buy an inflatable (and deflate it most of the time when not in use), I own and use a Porta Bote and think it's a viable dinghy choice for many people.

Each of us should evaluate the options and make a choice based on personal needs and preferences.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:43   #37
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Sorry, I cannot help except to suggest one of the old style (still available) Avon Roll-ups - the 3.4meter is plenty big enough and takes a 20hp. The slatted floor is totally rigid once the dinghy is pumped up and it planes great. We sold our Avon 3.1 roll up with our last cat as it was ancient but still going strong after a life in the tropics. Presently, we have recently bought 2x new dinghies from Ocean Craft, in Australia. These are all aluminium, we bought a 3.3m and a 2.6m version for the kids. We are lucky as our cat has an aft slatted platform and the dinghies nest beautifully on this. We use a 25 and 15hp respectively, with Yamaha Malta's 3.5hp for puttering duty.
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Old 27-12-2014, 08:49   #38
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

This has been a good thread.....no one has become over zealous about "the best dinghy".......Sailing is all about freedom of choices........decision,decisions......O so fun this sailing we do.......


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Old 27-12-2014, 08:51   #39
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Way not use one of this
I have used one for 4 years and it has worked great
It takes about 1to 3 minits to asambly
It is easy to mount it laying sidways on the lifelines
It stores werry god besides the lower shruds

Learn more about the Origami Folding Dinghy
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Old 27-12-2014, 09:11   #40
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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Dockhead, I agree and find astonishing that dinghy storage is essentially always an afterthought in designing a boat, when for a cruising boat, it is one of the most essential and important parts of your boat, maybe even more important than your sails or engines, because without a working dinghy you will be swimming in the water.

It takes a very large sized boat before they have a build-in a dinghy garage,
but it doesn't need to take millions of dollars, just a desire to care about it.

But as I have no actual experience, the ugliness of hanging inflatables I guess is something you just 'get over it', like the smell of diesel fuel, and learn to like it, rather than complain about it.

My approach to the dinghy is a 50 lb lightweight catamaran that disassembles for easy storage. Is easily propelled at 14ft long, but will fold to 7ft, with a mesh deck, it can be left on the water and will not collect water or sink. Wish I had time to finish the project.
interesting project
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Old 27-12-2014, 09:13   #41
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

I had a 12' Portaboat for our Motorhome. Used 7 or 8 HP Nissan which was a little overpowered, but I already owned it. Just didn't run at full power.

At first, it ran good, even in the FL Keys chop. After some use, the sides started bending in when plaining with 2 of us. I guess the water pushed up on the front and make the sides cave. Didn't feel comfortable with that.

Pain to assemble on solid ground - worse in cool weather. Assembly on the bow of a boat would be much worse. The seats and parts take up a lot of room and must be stored somewhere.

I do not recommend for extended cruising, but OK for short non-plaining trips to dock.
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Old 27-12-2014, 10:44   #42
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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Originally Posted by datmbn View Post
Way not use one of this
I have used one for 4 years and it has worked great
It takes about 1to 3 minits to asambly
It is easy to mount it laying sidways on the lifelines
It stores werry god besides the lower shruds

Learn more about the Origami Folding Dinghy
It depends a lot on what you are planning to do with the dinghy. A dinghy on a cruising boat is a work boat. It gets beat to hell on a regular basis. If you look at the majority of cruisers out you'll see they have a solution. A hard floor inflatable RIB. Some are big like the OP console dink, others are pretty small, like our aluminum floor 9ft RIB. You see some Portabotes, some hard dinghys, some foldable inflatables, but mostly they are hard bottom RIBs, either fiberglass or AL.
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Old 27-12-2014, 11:29   #43
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Given all or your complaints about different dinghy experiences stay away from Porta-Bote. I had a 10' PB and returned it to a very reluctant PB representative (the owner I think). They do not have any where near the capacity of an inflatable, you cannot board from the water unless you have the 12' model per the manufacturer, if you lean over your OB for inspection or maintenance it is likely you will get water over the transom, storage on board is not handy.


Davits and an inflatable, RIB or otherwise, would be the least objectionable option. I use a inflatable floor 10' dinghy with a 6hp Merc and am considering converting the Merc to propane to reduce maintenance. Since I rarely open the engine up I can live with the loss of HP using propane.
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Old 27-12-2014, 11:32   #44
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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I had a 12' Portaboat for our Motorhome. Used 7 or 8 HP Nissan which was a little overpowered, but I already owned it. Just didn't run at full power.

At first, it ran good, even in the FL Keys chop. After some use, the sides started bending in when plaining with 2 of us. I guess the water pushed up on the front and make the sides cave. Didn't feel comfortable with that.

Pain to assemble on solid ground - worse in cool weather. Assembly on the bow of a boat would be much worse. The seats and parts take up a lot of room and must be stored somewhere.

I do not recommend for extended cruising, but OK for short non-plaining trips to dock.
The later (Genesis I think) model on our 14 foot has a square tube for seat mounts. This made a huge difference in the flex of the boat. This could easily be done to smaller/ older models. We use ours for day trips up rivers and on large lakes. We used the 6hp two stroke this year. Full load two adults two kids fishing gear lunch/water etc 500 plus pounds not counting motor or fuel. Bote would run semi displacement speed 11/12 knots wot. Going to try to get a 8hp this spring. The 6hp isn't enough the 15hp too much. Should be able to get 16 or so with full load. Buy used, if you don't like it you can sell quickly. I've tried Whalers,board floors blowups, foam floor blowups, light solid glass dinks. We like the porta best, as the least compromise for us.
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Old 27-12-2014, 12:17   #45
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

There are multiple videos on the PortaBote found on YouTube.

Here is a good video showing the ease of getting a Portaboat ready and on the water.

The assembly, including installing the seats, took just a few minutes, and appears very simple, with no tools required.

The video also demonstrates the rowing ability and maneuvering with oars.
A related video by the same guy shows him taking it off the roof of a truck and assembling, using, then breaking it down and then back up on his truck, by himself.

No one has yet mentioned that the PortaBote has a highly desirable feature that many boaters want: multiple cup holders are built in the seats.

http://youtu.be/TnUKBWaFo6U
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