Perfect in quotes, because there could be no such thing from all points of view, but I think I have begun to develop a very nice refinement:
Lots of cruisers, myself included, have seen the advantages of portabotes as cruising dinghies and I won't recap their virtues here. I settled on one for my Bristol 30 (a ten footer) aware of its shortcomings, mainly that they are a bit of a pain to set up on the boat, especially for one person. Probably a little harder, though maybe a little faster, than a similarly sized roll up inflatable
I like the idea of a small lifeboat, as opposed to a life raft, and I actually had a Portland Pudgy
on my circumnavigation
, but until now I have not regarded the portabote as a potential lifeboat, at least not if it is to be stowed folded while at sea.
So here's the gimmick: I sprang for a huge inflatable fender
and fastened it into the portabote as shown. As I hoped and imagined it deflates and allows the bote to fold very easily and, most importantly, unfolds the bote in a matter of seconds, putting it immediately into a ready-to-launch condition. Thereby eliminating both of the shortcomings I was troubled by.
Over the coming weeks I will be incorporating an air storage
canister (using an aircompressor now), a sun/rain canopy, and other lifeboat features. If this post shows there is interest in the project
I will post a video of the inflation.