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Old 26-12-2014, 13:41   #1
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Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Choice of dinghy and how to store it is one of the knottiest problems for a cruising boat, even large ones.

A friend of mine had a Swan 90 with professional crew, and the dinghy was a problem even on that boat. To avoid marring the beautiful lines with davits, he used a small roll-up inflatable with 5hp Mercury. What a PITA that was. We would often pull it up on a halyard and tie it down on the foredeck, to avoid having to deflate and roll it up etc. Where it was in the way. And as a dinghy -- incapable of planing, and without the capacity to really deal with the number of people and volume of things to carry for a boat that size -- bah.

I have a splendid dinghy -- an Avon RIB with a 25 horsepower wheel-steered Mariner. A proper little motor boat which will get up on a plane with five people on board, and carry as many supplies as can fit in the bilge. The only problem is that it weight a couple hundred kilos, and can only be stored on davits. My davits are Simpson electric ones, and they have been the most troublesome items of equipment on board, long time star of the fix-it list. And looks hideous, spoiling the lines of the boat, and causing windage, etc., etc.

They are now really broken, with unsourceable parts missing from both motor mechanisms. I have a choice of spending a couple (or more) grand replacing the mechanisms entirely, or simply getting rid of them.

I don't want a roll-up like my friend had on his Swan. But what about a Porta-Bote? I know they get mixed reviews, but how bad can they be? I know folding them up or setting them up is not instantaneous, but stowed on the stanchions, surely it's vastly easier than a roll-up.

The 12' version can hold four people, and it looks like you can board them from the water.

A 5 horsepower two-stroke Yanmar would be the perfect motor. Guess it wouldn't plane with passengers, but I think I could live with that.

Anyone willing to encourage or discourage me along this train of thought?

The other idea I had was to carry (in addition to a Porta Bote or other kind of dinghy) a two-main inflatable kayak for quick trips ashore, which represents 75% of dinghy use anyway. This kind of thing could be kept inflated and tied down on the afterdeck for instant deployment, when sailing coastally, and would reduce the amount of setting up and breaking down the main dinghy.

What say ye?
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Old 26-12-2014, 13:45   #2
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

One alternative, dreamed up by ingenious crewmen in the Baltic last summer, is to extend the pushpit aft to make room for a deck cradle for the existing dinghy.

I would then need some kind of crane to lift it on and off the cradle.

Very clever, but will be quite expensive, and will leave windage and weight at the extremities problems of davits.
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Old 26-12-2014, 15:14   #3
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

We love our 10' portabote, with our 3.5 hp 2-stroke Nissan. You are right, the outboard won't make the dinghy plane with two onboard but the portabote is a dream to row. It also dos well with rocks and over oysters, it is a tough little boat. It does need to be put together when you want to use it which can be a PITA but the latest version has a redesigned transom which makes it easier. We are cruising in Mexico with our third portabote. Our last one lasted 10 years under heavy use. They are really stable and can be boarded on the water. They take getting used to since the plastic sole flexes underway but when you are used to it, it isn't a concern. doesn't tow well. There is a portabote group on yahoo that you might want to check into. Cheers.
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Old 26-12-2014, 15:18   #4
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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Originally Posted by Annie in WA View Post
We love our 10' portabote, with our 3.5 hp 2-stroke Nissan. You are right, the outboard won't make the dinghy plane with two onboard but the portabote is a dream to row. It also dos well with rocks and over oysters, it is a tough little boat. It does need to be put together when you want to use it which can be a PITA but the latest version has a redesigned transom which makes it easier. We are cruising in Mexico with our third portabote. Our last one lasted 10 years under heavy use. They are really stable and can be boarded on the water. They take getting used to since the plastic sole flexes underway but when you are used to it, it isn't a concern. doesn't tow well. There is a portabote group on yahoo that you might want to check into. Cheers.
Thanks. How long does it take you to put it together and launch it?

Knock it down and stow it?
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Old 26-12-2014, 15:28   #5
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Choice of dinghy and how to store it is one of the knottiest problems for a cruising boat, even large ones.

A friend of mine had a Swan 90 with professional crew, and the dinghy was a problem even on that boat. To avoid marring the beautiful lines with davits, he used a small roll-up inflatable with 5hp Mercury. What a PITA that was. We would often pull it up on a halyard and tie it down on the foredeck, to avoid having to deflate and roll it up etc. Where it was in the way. And as a dinghy -- incapable of planing, and without the capacity to really deal with the number of people and volume of things to carry for a boat that size -- bah.

I have a splendid dinghy -- an Avon RIB with a 25 horsepower wheel-steered Mariner. A proper little motor boat which will get up on a plane with five people on board, and carry as many supplies as can fit in the bilge. The only problem is that it weight a couple hundred kilos, and can only be stored on davits. My davits are Simpson electric ones, and they have been the most troublesome items of equipment on board, long time star of the fix-it list. And looks hideous, spoiling the lines of the boat, and causing windage, etc., etc.

They are now really broken, with unsourceable parts missing from both motor mechanisms. I have a choice of spending a couple (or more) grand replacing the mechanisms entirely, or simply getting rid of them.

I don't want a roll-up like my friend had on his Swan. But what about a Porta-Bote? I know they get mixed reviews, but how bad can they be? I know folding them up or setting them up is not instantaneous, but stowed on the stanchions, surely it's vastly easier than a roll-up.

The 12' version can hold four people, and it looks like you can board them from the water.

A 5 horsepower two-stroke Yanmar would be the perfect motor. Guess it wouldn't plane with passengers, but I think I could live with that.

Anyone willing to encourage or discourage me along this train of thought?

The other idea I had was to carry (in addition to a Porta Bote or other kind of dinghy) a two-main inflatable kayak for quick trips ashore, which represents 75% of dinghy use anyway. This kind of thing could be kept inflated and tied down on the afterdeck for instant deployment, when sailing coastally, and would reduce the amount of setting up and breaking down the main dinghy.

What say ye?
I considered a PB deeply.
Friends who have one, told me that they replaced the rowlocks, the seating and strengthened it all round. They also keep it on deck more or less assembled as it becomes one more thing to do otherwise.

It will do the job. Its just........I dont feel it would be a boat tender for me..I want a boat that I dont have to setup and break down, whatever it is. But then I dont mind davits either. Either way, a smaller tender and a different more sleek davit setup will go a long way to meeting your requirements. Good luck with your choice
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Old 26-12-2014, 15:43   #6
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Quote:
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I considered a PB deeply.
Friends who have one, told me that they replaced the rowlocks, the seating and strengthened it all round. They also keep it on deck more or less assembled as it becomes one more thing to do otherwise.

It will do the job. Its just........I dont feel it would be a boat tender for me..I want a boat that I dont have to setup and break down, whatever it is. But then I dont mind davits either. Either way, a smaller tender and a different more sleek davit setup will go a long way to meeting your requirements. Good luck with your choice
Well, I could take off a good bit of weight by getting rid of the jockey console and replacing the 25 horse mariner with a 15 horse tiller-steered deal.

It would still be a RIB, and it would still plane

And it would be much easier to handle.

But I would still have those bloody davits

Maybe it's a good excuse to just chuck it all and spring for that HR64 with the Williams Jet RIB in the transom garage . . . .
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Old 26-12-2014, 15:51   #7
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

I know this is not any help, however, I can't help myself. Every time this comes up I immediately recall this video that leaves me holding my sides again.




I'm Sorry. We too also have the whee do you stick it problem. We have a 9.5' Carribe RIB with 15 hp. I was told that a dinghy should be big enough (HP) to get your boat out of trouble. At 35 tons, I think 15 HP is the minimum. That sort of fixes the dinghy size. We store it inverted on the aft below the mizzen when its not being towed. It is a serious pain. Our transom is old school narrow so davits are also trouble.
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Old 26-12-2014, 16:10   #8
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
I know this is not any help, however, I can't help myself. Every time this comes up I immediately recall this video that leaves me holding my sides again.



............
Another guy who can't RTFM.

There's a wooden stick you insert to hold it open, then you install the seats.
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Old 26-12-2014, 16:21   #9
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Hilarious.

Here's a more serious video of setup of the new type:




He does it in about 3 minutes. Doesn't actually look too bad, although of course it will be much harder from the moving deck of your boat.
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Old 26-12-2014, 16:22   #10
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

That is a really big leap going from a 25hp center console RIB to a Portaboat. PB owners seem to be a little more along the small-is-beautiful type of philosophy.
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Old 26-12-2014, 16:33   #11
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

I have a PB on each boat. I've replaced the oar locks with real ones and oars. Much better.

I see the new PB's have a kind of folding transom that stays with the boat. I see the attraction, but I'd have to look at one to see if I really like it.

We find hoisting it on a spare hallyard works best for assembly and disassembly. We are getting better at it and now only swear slightly.

The real PITA of the PB is the damn seats and transom. If I'm solo then they go in a pilot berth, otherwise they are on deck.

If you are solo on a 54 I think a PB would work well. We have an 8 hp on a 10'er. Can't open it up, too much HP.

They tow OK if you haul em up right tight keeping the bow out of the water, otherwise they torpedo.
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Old 26-12-2014, 16:43   #12
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
That is a really big leap going from a 25hp center console RIB to a Portaboat. PB owners seem to be a little more along the small-is-beautiful type of philosophy.
I don't know about that -- actually it looks to me that the hull form is quite good, for decent motoring performance.

As far as I can tell, the pluses and minuses are:

Plus:

Good hull form, stable, easily driven
Light, requiring less power
Good volume inside -- a lot more than comparable inflatable
Less effort (it looks like to me) to set up or break down than to unroll and inflate or deflate and store a roll-up

Minus:

Looks like horrible, crude engineering of all the peripheral parts -- wing nuts -- bah
Poor quality of the different mechanisms
Not unsinkable in case of swamping
Expensive
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Old 26-12-2014, 16:58   #13
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Also you might want to figure out how to cover the black "rub rails" as they streak your topsides with black marks. Tim
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Old 26-12-2014, 17:08   #14
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
.....

Plus:

Good hull form, stable, easily driven
Light, requiring less power
Good volume inside -- a lot more than comparable inflatable
Less effort (it looks like to me) to set up or break down than to unroll and inflate or deflate and store a roll-up

Minus:

Looks like horrible, crude engineering of all the peripheral parts -- wing nuts -- bah
Poor quality of the different mechanisms
Not unsinkable in case of swamping
Expensive
It might be light, but I've never seen one planing like your loaded RIB will do.
Volume -- how much do you need? Even a smaller RIB will take a lot of goods and people.
Less effort --- Not less than a smaller RIB that lives on the foredeck on passages. Are you really considering a rollup?

Expensive -- price a RIB they are expensive too
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Old 26-12-2014, 17:17   #15
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Re: Getting Closer to a Porta Bote

A Porta-Boat? Ugh. Have you been in one? The rides I have had...I cringe...never would I use one by choice.

Rolling up a dinghy is difficult? How lazy are you? There was a "crew" on that Swan 90 and it was a problem to roll up a dinghy? WTF? A complete failure of command. Here's how that should work:

Captain to crew, "Roll up and stow the dinghy."
Crew, "Yes, ma'am."

Now I realize that that the many cruisers who have inflated their dinghy exactly once will find this astonishing, but I will roll up and stow my dinghy below for a *day trip*. Then inflate it again the *same day*. What's the big deal? A few minutes and some exercise?

Also greatly simplified if your default motive choice is rowing instead of motoring as there is no motor to wrestle with. But then what cruiser would row what with needing to make 12 to 20 trips a day at planing speed to the dock a few hundred yards away?
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