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Old 11-10-2009, 17:15   #31
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A friend has one that he uses from his moored live aboard. It's a 12 footer. A little weird at first, until your feet begin to trust that the slightly springy bottom is not going to give way. He has a small long prop outboard on it and it moves right along with 3 adults in it. Say 580 lbs mas o menos.

he has had it for years and loves it and we are watching for an 8 footer for ourselves. The 8 footers are less common than the larger versions. Tough little boats...
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Old 12-12-2009, 14:17   #32
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Porta-Bote - Four years on…

We purchased our 10 foot Porta-Bote about four years ago. For the first two years of ownership it was only used occasionally and stored on the dinghy dock as we did a refit. During the second two years we cruised up and down the east coast, to Key West the first year, and the Bahamas during the second year. The Bote was used in everything from calm ICW waterways, to crossing Georgetown harbor in 20+ knots. It was our only tender, served as our family car and sometimes our family pickup truck. We didn't abuse it, but it did get a real-life cruising workout. I would say that the actual "time in the water" use would be about 12 months.

We've had a love-hate relationship with the Porta-Bote and, while it has served us well, continuing issues with deployment time has caused us to switch to an inflatable. We had other problems with the Bote but the biggest detraction was not being able to stow it on deck for short hops without folding it up. We considered stowing it upside down, fully assembled for short hops but could not do so without removing our inner forestay and baby stay. We also feared that sails and running rigging would catch and chafe or tear against the relatively sharp corners of the upturned Bote.

So here are some of our thoughts on the "Bote" after two years of real cruising use.

HULL – The hull truly is nearly indestructible. In Beaufort, SC, we once stayed in town longer than planned, returning to find the Bote high and dry nearly 20 feet from the water. Grabbing the painter and towing it across the barnacles and shells with the outboard tilted up was not even a thought, we just did it and went on our way. Try that in any kind of inflatable!

Indestructible yes, but it can leak. Our Porta-Bote started leaking a small amount from the center seam at the stern after the first year of cruising. The amount was very small to start with but kept increasing to the point that it would take on about a gallon of water overnight while sitting in the water. In use, the more weight in the Bote, the more water leaked to the point that we kept a small hand pump onboard to pump it out every time we got in.

After several e-mails about the leak, the manufacturer reimbursed “most” of the cost of a 3M product (3M Scotchweld DP 8010) that they indicated would stop the leak. We had to specifically ask if they would reimburse us, then find the product on-line and order it. Then they refused to cover the full cost of the shipping and handling, though the hull was still under warranty. The manufacturer became quite rude after being asked to cover the total reimbursement. The instructions for repairing the leak included leaving the Porta-Bote in the open, unfolded position for a week after applying the Schotchweld – not easy to do while you are out cruising! We made the repair and the Schotchweld seems to have fixed the leak, the Bote was dry once again.

SEATS – Again, after just a year of real in the water use, both the middle and back seats started to break. The plastic shell cracked and split, showing the inside flotation foam. I don't think this affected the functionality of the seats but they creaked in protest when anyone sat on them. In our opinion the seats should be better built.

TRANSOM – It also cracked and split at the bottom on either side of center, and is a bit more worrisome than the seats as there is a lot of force on it from the motor. A repair using fiberglass and epoxy seems to have put it back to rights. How long will it last? Time will tell. Again, one would think a critical part like this should be a bit more stoutly built. (After our experience in getting reimbursement for the DP 8010 we didn't even bother to contact the manufacturer again.)

ROWING/OARS – The Bote rowed well and tracked straight. The oars were nice lightweight, two-piece, aluminum and plastic. However, the buttons that lock the two halves together, as well as the oarlocks, rust into a solid lump without constant lubrication. The lubrication spreads over everything, including your clothes. Why couldn't they have used stainless steel on these two items?

STABILLITY – We found the Bote to be very stable, in fact in some ways we find it to be more stable than an inflatable. We had no problem getting used to the flexing floor. Getting in and out of the Bote for snorkeling was also not a problem. To make it easier to get back in from the water we used a boat fender with one line through the fender and looped around the middle seat. A second line was looped through the fender and hanging in the water to help step up into the Bote. We've done it without the fender too, but it does make it easier. Our new inflatable is very stable as well, but much more skittish than the Bote when getting in and out at the dinghy dock.

CAPACITY – Rated capacity on our 10' Bote was “Three persons or 485 pounds.” We didn’t even think about putting four adults in the Bote in anything but calm weather. As the harbor chop built even three people became problematic. A bit of luggage arriving with the guests? Plan on a few trips.

FLOTATION – The web site shows a picture of someone standing in a Porta-Bote filled with water, and yes, it's still floating! Very nice, but notice also that other than the oars there is nothing else in the Bote. Now think what that picture would look like with two people, an outboard, the gas tank, and those bags of groceries in the boat. Would the motor still be above the water? Hmmm. In order to provide more flotation in the stern I always secured a medium sized boat fender (the same one we use when snorkeling) to the inside of the stern for extra floatation. Fortunately, we never had it put it to the test, but I think it would have worked. I believe the newer Botes now have some extra flotation foam attached to the inside of the stern, which is good, but that adds still more bulk to the stern for storage.

SPEED – Fast! With the two of us, groceries and a jug of water our 10' bote with a 6 HP Nissan got us up on plane. With just one person in the Bote it is very fast, to the point that it gets a bit squirrelly when you hit a quartering wave.

SAFETY – When motoring (using the 6 hp Nissan that came with it) into heavy chop, two foot waves or larger (think Garrison Bight at Key West or George Town, Bahamas in a blow) we found that water from the following waves would enter into the low cut transom on the Bote. On a ride of any length in those conditions we found constant bailing was required while under way, and I'm not kidding on this. One hand on the outboard and one hand working the hand pump is the rule. You must also be careful when backing up. Too fast and you will find a good amount of water coming in over the top of the transom to join you in the Bote.

DEPLOYMENT/RETREIVING/STOWAGE– This was the biggest negative for us. We found that the process of retrieving all the pieces from stowage and assembling the Bote took generally 45-6 0 minutes, not including mounting the outboard. It’s true that once all pieces are on hand and ready, the actual unfolding and assembly only takes 5-10 minutes but that is a small part of the process on a cruising boat. Here was our process:

First, clear the foredeck of any extra rigging, for us a baby stay and inner forstay. Next, tie a tarp down on deck to protect the hatch acrylic from scratches. Remove restraints and bring the hull on deck from its stowage location. Remove restraints and bring the 3 seats from their stowage locations. Remove restraints and get the transom out from its stowage location. Get out the bag of hardware. Unfold and assemble the Bote, taking 5-10 minutes depending on anchorage conditions. Remember, you are on the bow of the mother ship putting together a 10-foot dinghy. With a bit of wind and a just a little bit of chop you will need to be VERY mindful of that life line just a half a foot or so behind you. Rushing at this point could find you in the water very quickly.

In an emergency you can muscle the assembled Bote over the lifelines. I can, my wife cannot. We always used a halyard, pulley and the windlass for deployment. No wrenched backs, pulled muscles or bent stanchions should something catch on the way over. This is no different than launching just about any deck-stowed dinghy, but you need to include rigging this system in the deployment time.

Re-stowing the Porta-Bote is pretty much the opposite of launching the Bote with the added tasks of cleaning salt, sand and marine growth off the hull before stowing. Hoisting the Bote out of the water overnight will limit the growth to some extent, but the issue is still there. I made storage chocks that contained the folded Bote and two seats securely on deck. The remaining small forward seat and transom are also securely stowed on deck in another location.

Once stowed and secured on deck it’s wonderful! It’s pretty much out of the way and no worry about waves over the bow, or stern. No obstructed visibility issues --stow it and forget it for the trip. Beautiful!

DAVITS – We have a Monitor wind vane on the stern so davits are not an option for us, but I believe the Bote would work well on davits. For security, and sometimes just to keep the bottom clean, we hoist the Bote, including the outboard, out of the water alongside the hull of “Yoohoo". To do this, I first installed a couple of grommets on either side of the hull just aft of the first seat, of the same type as the factory-installed grommets for towing. Then, on a tip from another Bote owner, I replaced the top machine screws on the stern insert with, larger, 3/8" machine screws and eye nuts on the inside. The outboard is already hanging on the stern, right? So there is little or no increase in weight on the stern as you hoist it out of the water. The harness attaches to the grommets and the eye nuts and the spare jib halyard pops it easily out of the water. The hull only weighs 67 pounds, the seats just a few more, and the weight of the motor and gas can are borne by the stern attachments. I have never seen our Bote bow, or bend, when lifted in this manner. In order to leave it on the davits the only other thing you need to do is install a drain plug for rain. I did look into this, the plugs are readily available and would seem to be easily installed.

TOWING – With double, crossed painters it tows like a dream in normal conditions. Tracks like an arrow. The Bote comes with two grommets installed at the bow for the painter attachments. As your speed varies, and conditions change, you will have to adjust the painters, but it's not a problem until waves build to about 3 feet, especially in following seas, then you WILL have a problem. The Bote is so light that it easily surfs in following seas soon tries to pass you up! Heading back to Nassau last spring we were caught in much more wind than forecast and found ourselves towing the Bote in 20-25 knots on the stern. It was too late to even consider stowing it at that point so all we could do was manage it. We found the only thing that worked was to pull the Bote in so close to our stern that its bow was slightly lifted out of the water. It wasn't pretty, the worry of it ruined a great day of sailing, but it worked, and unintentionally proved it could be done.


SECOND THOUGHTS – Do we have second thought on getting rid of the Bote? Sure we do. Motoring through the water with our new inflatable I now find I am constantly scanning the water for anything that might puncture the tubes. As we approach the docks at low tide we find ourselves leaning forward, ready to stiff-arm those barnacle encrusted pilings to fend us off. We never had to do that with the Bote, but we now have a dink that carries four and fits on our foredeck for short hops so, for the moment, life is good!

Other owners may have additions or detractions, but this is what we experienced with the Porta-Bote. If you are considering a Porta-Bote as your new cruising dinghy, we hope the information is of help to you.
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Old 12-12-2009, 18:12   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg S View Post
Porta-Bote - Four years on…

We purchased our 10 foot Porta-Bote about four years ago. For the first two years of ownership it was only used occasionally and stored on the dinghy dock as we did a refit. During the second two years we cruised up and down the east coast, to Key West the first year, and the Bahamas during the second year. The Bote was used in everything from calm ICW waterways, to crossing Georgetown harbor in 20+ knots. It was our only tender, served as our family car and sometimes our family pickup truck. We didn't abuse it, but it did get a real-life cruising workout. I would say that the actual "time in the water" use would be about 12 months.

We've had a love-hate relationship with the Porta-Bote and, while it has served us well, continuing issues with deployment time has caused us to switch to an inflatable. We had other problems with the Bote but the biggest detraction was not being able to stow it on deck for short hops without folding it up. We considered stowing it upside down, fully assembled for short hops but could not do so without removing our inner forestay and baby stay. We also feared that sails and running rigging would catch and chafe or tear against the relatively sharp corners of the upturned Bote.

So here are some of our thoughts on the "Bote" after two years of real cruising use.

HULL – The hull truly is nearly indestructible. In Beaufort, SC, we once stayed in town longer than planned, returning to find the Bote high and dry nearly 20 feet from the water. Grabbing the painter and towing it across the barnacles and shells with the outboard tilted up was not even a thought, we just did it and went on our way. Try that in any kind of inflatable!

Indestructible yes, but it can leak. Our Porta-Bote started leaking a small amount from the center seam at the stern after the first year of cruising. The amount was very small to start with but kept increasing to the point that it would take on about a gallon of water overnight while sitting in the water. In use, the more weight in the Bote, the more water leaked to the point that we kept a small hand pump onboard to pump it out every time we got in.

After several e-mails about the leak, the manufacturer reimbursed “most” of the cost of a 3M product (3M Scotchweld DP 8010) that they indicated would stop the leak. We had to specifically ask if they would reimburse us, then find the product on-line and order it. Then they refused to cover the full cost of the shipping and handling, though the hull was still under warranty. The manufacturer became quite rude after being asked to cover the total reimbursement. The instructions for repairing the leak included leaving the Porta-Bote in the open, unfolded position for a week after applying the Schotchweld – not easy to do while you are out cruising! We made the repair and the Schotchweld seems to have fixed the leak, the Bote was dry once again.

SEATS – Again, after just a year of real in the water use, both the middle and back seats started to break. The plastic shell cracked and split, showing the inside flotation foam. I don't think this affected the functionality of the seats but they creaked in protest when anyone sat on them. In our opinion the seats should be better built.

TRANSOM – It also cracked and split at the bottom on either side of center, and is a bit more worrisome than the seats as there is a lot of force on it from the motor. A repair using fiberglass and epoxy seems to have put it back to rights. How long will it last? Time will tell. Again, one would think a critical part like this should be a bit more stoutly built. (After our experience in getting reimbursement for the DP 8010 we didn't even bother to contact the manufacturer again.)

ROWING/OARS – The Bote rowed well and tracked straight. The oars were nice lightweight, two-piece, aluminum and plastic. However, the buttons that lock the two halves together, as well as the oarlocks, rust into a solid lump without constant lubrication. The lubrication spreads over everything, including your clothes. Why couldn't they have used stainless steel on these two items?

STABILLITY – We found the Bote to be very stable, in fact in some ways we find it to be more stable than an inflatable. We had no problem getting used to the flexing floor. Getting in and out of the Bote for snorkeling was also not a problem. To make it easier to get back in from the water we used a boat fender with one line through the fender and looped around the middle seat. A second line was looped through the fender and hanging in the water to help step up into the Bote. We've done it without the fender too, but it does make it easier. Our new inflatable is very stable as well, but much more skittish than the Bote when getting in and out at the dinghy dock.

CAPACITY – Rated capacity on our 10' Bote was “Three persons or 485 pounds.” We didn’t even think about putting four adults in the Bote in anything but calm weather. As the harbor chop built even three people became problematic. A bit of luggage arriving with the guests? Plan on a few trips.

FLOTATION – The web site shows a picture of someone standing in a Porta-Bote filled with water, and yes, it's still floating! Very nice, but notice also that other than the oars there is nothing else in the Bote. Now think what that picture would look like with two people, an outboard, the gas tank, and those bags of groceries in the boat. Would the motor still be above the water? Hmmm. In order to provide more flotation in the stern I always secured a medium sized boat fender (the same one we use when snorkeling) to the inside of the stern for extra floatation. Fortunately, we never had it put it to the test, but I think it would have worked. I believe the newer Botes now have some extra flotation foam attached to the inside of the stern, which is good, but that adds still more bulk to the stern for storage.

SPEED – Fast! With the two of us, groceries and a jug of water our 10' bote with a 6 HP Nissan got us up on plane. With just one person in the Bote it is very fast, to the point that it gets a bit squirrelly when you hit a quartering wave.

SAFETY – When motoring (using the 6 hp Nissan that came with it) into heavy chop, two foot waves or larger (think Garrison Bight at Key West or George Town, Bahamas in a blow) we found that water from the following waves would enter into the low cut transom on the Bote. On a ride of any length in those conditions we found constant bailing was required while under way, and I'm not kidding on this. One hand on the outboard and one hand working the hand pump is the rule. You must also be careful when backing up. Too fast and you will find a good amount of water coming in over the top of the transom to join you in the Bote.

DEPLOYMENT/RETREIVING/STOWAGE– This was the biggest negative for us. We found that the process of retrieving all the pieces from stowage and assembling the Bote took generally 45-6 0 minutes, not including mounting the outboard. It’s true that once all pieces are on hand and ready, the actual unfolding and assembly only takes 5-10 minutes but that is a small part of the process on a cruising boat. Here was our process:

First, clear the foredeck of any extra rigging, for us a baby stay and inner forstay. Next, tie a tarp down on deck to protect the hatch acrylic from scratches. Remove restraints and bring the hull on deck from its stowage location. Remove restraints and bring the 3 seats from their stowage locations. Remove restraints and get the transom out from its stowage location. Get out the bag of hardware. Unfold and assemble the Bote, taking 5-10 minutes depending on anchorage conditions. Remember, you are on the bow of the mother ship putting together a 10-foot dinghy. With a bit of wind and a just a little bit of chop you will need to be VERY mindful of that life line just a half a foot or so behind you. Rushing at this point could find you in the water very quickly.

In an emergency you can muscle the assembled Bote over the lifelines. I can, my wife cannot. We always used a halyard, pulley and the windlass for deployment. No wrenched backs, pulled muscles or bent stanchions should something catch on the way over. This is no different than launching just about any deck-stowed dinghy, but you need to include rigging this system in the deployment time.

Re-stowing the Porta-Bote is pretty much the opposite of launching the Bote with the added tasks of cleaning salt, sand and marine growth off the hull before stowing. Hoisting the Bote out of the water overnight will limit the growth to some extent, but the issue is still there. I made storage chocks that contained the folded Bote and two seats securely on deck. The remaining small forward seat and transom are also securely stowed on deck in another location.

Once stowed and secured on deck it’s wonderful! It’s pretty much out of the way and no worry about waves over the bow, or stern. No obstructed visibility issues --stow it and forget it for the trip. Beautiful!

DAVITS – We have a Monitor wind vane on the stern so davits are not an option for us, but I believe the Bote would work well on davits. For security, and sometimes just to keep the bottom clean, we hoist the Bote, including the outboard, out of the water alongside the hull of “Yoohoo". To do this, I first installed a couple of grommets on either side of the hull just aft of the first seat, of the same type as the factory-installed grommets for towing. Then, on a tip from another Bote owner, I replaced the top machine screws on the stern insert with, larger, 3/8" machine screws and eye nuts on the inside. The outboard is already hanging on the stern, right? So there is little or no increase in weight on the stern as you hoist it out of the water. The harness attaches to the grommets and the eye nuts and the spare jib halyard pops it easily out of the water. The hull only weighs 67 pounds, the seats just a few more, and the weight of the motor and gas can are borne by the stern attachments. I have never seen our Bote bow, or bend, when lifted in this manner. In order to leave it on the davits the only other thing you need to do is install a drain plug for rain. I did look into this, the plugs are readily available and would seem to be easily installed.

TOWING – With double, crossed painters it tows like a dream in normal conditions. Tracks like an arrow. The Bote comes with two grommets installed at the bow for the painter attachments. As your speed varies, and conditions change, you will have to adjust the painters, but it's not a problem until waves build to about 3 feet, especially in following seas, then you WILL have a problem. The Bote is so light that it easily surfs in following seas soon tries to pass you up! Heading back to Nassau last spring we were caught in much more wind than forecast and found ourselves towing the Bote in 20-25 knots on the stern. It was too late to even consider stowing it at that point so all we could do was manage it. We found the only thing that worked was to pull the Bote in so close to our stern that its bow was slightly lifted out of the water. It wasn't pretty, the worry of it ruined a great day of sailing, but it worked, and unintentionally proved it could be done.


SECOND THOUGHTS – Do we have second thought on getting rid of the Bote? Sure we do. Motoring through the water with our new inflatable I now find I am constantly scanning the water for anything that might puncture the tubes. As we approach the docks at low tide we find ourselves leaning forward, ready to stiff-arm those barnacle encrusted pilings to fend us off. We never had to do that with the Bote, but we now have a dink that carries four and fits on our foredeck for short hops so, for the moment, life is good!

Other owners may have additions or detractions, but this is what we experienced with the Porta-Bote. If you are considering a Porta-Bote as your new cruising dinghy, we hope the information is of help to you.
Excellent post, Thank-You for that.

I also have a Porta-bote (same size as yours was). I have not used it extensively but absolutely love it so far. Having said that, I don't doubt your experience for a second. I'm sure ALL tenders have their draw backs and the Porta-bote is no different. With mine, once folded it gets stowed in the Pilothouse under a settee when not required. For short hops I'll either tow it or put it on deck (I don't think room will be a problem).

Anyway once I start using it more I'm sure I will be able to confirm at least some of your findings and will try to find ways to circumvent its short comings. Right now I see it as having far more attributes than drawbacks.

We'll see.

Regards,
Extemp.
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Old 12-12-2009, 19:03   #34
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Thanks for your report.

I bought a 10' last spring thinking I would use it for this years Canada trip (because of rock oysters & sharp rocks) but the faults I found with it was the only place to tie a line was through the forward eyelets without drilling a hole or adding a fitting of some kind.

I got it sight unseen but being only a year old, totally unused (off an RV) and less then half the price of a new one, I figured I couldn't loose (too much).

After setting it up on the lawn I got to looking at it and wasn't real impressed, especially the transom. And the wife stepping on the flexible bottom turned her off. BUT I THINK IT WOULD BE GREAT FOR KIDS to mess around in, being so durable! It seems like the folding/unfolding would put more wear on it then anything.

For a lake or river I probably wouldn't mind too much but if I had to make a long run on a stormy night in a harbor, I'll stick with the old inflatable, it's served me well for 20 years now.
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Old 12-12-2009, 21:35   #35
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We have had our 10'er for going on 13 years and plan to keep it as long as it is useful.
Since ours it is quite a bit older it has wooden seats and transom. Have had to re drill the middle seat a couple of times; we use it for snorkeling and diving as well as our regular tender. We will be replacing the middle and front seat next year.
The rivets for the oar locks gave out years ago, so we went to bolts and nut.
One nice thing about it is you can take out the middle seat and load two full sets of diving gear.
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Old 13-12-2009, 16:25   #36
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We found our 8' portabote a few months ago and like it just as much as we expected too.

For anyone interested in how far you can take these babies check out the yahoo groups photo page for a huge display of amazing post dealer mods... these are not just kids toys for dinkin around. They are sturdy little workhorses, built tough to take a beating.

PortaBote : Yahoo Portabote Group

ours is 9 years old and was stored on a deck folded up, with the transom under a tarp. The hull and seats are in fine condition. The transom is delaminated in a number of places, and slated for early replacement, but still functional. The oars, as seems to be typical, are in decent condition except for the little rusted out bumps that keep them locked together. They work, but we have a set of wooden oars I like better anyway.

I will be using an idea I got off the yahoo group and making the transom hinged to make it less bulky for storage on our little pocket cruiser. I am looking into material that will be lighter weight than ply.

We have an electric minetonka 27 that works fine in quiet conditions and is wonderful for jaunting around the marina. Everyone has had a good time looking it over and seeing one of the *folding boats* in person. We had the 6hp johnson on it recently and with 2 people and a dog we were at 370lbs, plus the motor, which is heavier than recommended and she hauled across the waves like no one's business. We had to keep our weight forward to counter balance the motor weight and low transom, but man she flew.

By the way, I am 5', 115lbs, and not a weight trainer, and I can set her up in about 15 minutes on the dock and haul her around to put her in the water just fine. The hardest part was the day I put the 6hp on. That sucker is HEAVY!

Setting her up on deck would be tricky on our 28 footer, but doable. I think standing up on her transom in the cockpit might be the easiest.

Nothing is perfect, but I think that for the most part the challenge with these *botes* is that they are a different beast from a standard hard dink or an inflatable. You just have to embrace the squishy deck, and the appearance of vulnerability until you get used to the little beast and begin to trust her hardiness!
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Old 13-12-2009, 16:51   #37
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Extemporaneous.

Wonderful post.

You too sarafina.

I asked at a boat show and emailed the company about just exactly how it could be hung and lifted and stored long term on davits and did not get a satisfactory answer. When my dink goes bad then I will probably get one........and figure out exactly how to do it on my own.
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Old 13-12-2009, 18:00   #38
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When my dink goes bad then I will probably get one........and figure out exactly how to do it on my own.
I can't help but believe that you'll be impressed (I think?) once you, as sarafina says "embrace the squishy deck".
And I'm sure you'll figure it out how it could be hung, lifted and stored just fine.

Good Luck and let us know if you do get one, then you can be one of us folding Bote people!

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Old 27-05-2012, 14:37   #39
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12' portabote hull trade for 8' or 10'

I have a brand new portabote hull (no transom or seats) for sale or trade. It's the new silverish color, and still has the plastic film on the hull (with a few scratches from transport/storage).

I bought this at a lost freight auction planning to use it as a tender for my sailboat (making my own transom and seats from plywood), but I've decided that it's really too big for me. Ideally, I'd like to trade it for a used 10' or 8' portabote (hull only is OK too) or air-floored inflatable dinghy, but will also consider selling it outright. Located in Salt Lake City, UT.
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Old 27-05-2012, 15:05   #40
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Re: Port-a-Bote

If you are an occassional user, they are easy to stow. You will have to be comfortable in a boats that flexes... pretty much everywhere! You might as well opt for a big one if you're getting one.
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Old 30-05-2012, 16:39   #41
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Re: Port-a-Bote

I've owned two Porta-Botes, a 12' and a 10' which I currently have. Main thing when evaluating is talk to people who have actually used them. Some things that I haven't heard mentioned yet is that they offer a much dryer ride than a RIB. We spent months anchored in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle that gets big chop every afternoon that reminded of us of San Francisco Bay but warm. When we rode in friend's RIB's we'd get drenched but stayed dry in the Porta-Bote. It's also a smoother ride in the Porta since the hull flexes instead of pounding.

As for customer service, Porta-Bote is hard to beat. I called them to report the plywood transom of our 10' that we purchased secondhand was falling apart. They gave us a brand new one and only asked us to provide photos for their records. I need some pins and they sell those very reasonably, like 2 bucks.

I'm not too impressed with the plastic seats as they're starting to crack. Some cored composite seats with stringers underneath would take up a lot less space and be pretty light. On the other hand they wouldn't provide the flotation of the plastic ones.

If I switch dinghies, it will probably mean building a nesting hard dinghy. In Mexico and elsewhere, large outboards are a theft risk. The Porta-Bote planes with a 2hp with just me in it. We have an 8hp as well for longer expeditions. I like the fact I don't even have to worry about locking the 2hp. The whole package is pretty light. I can hand the small outboard up with one hand. It sips gas.

I think a nesting hard dinghy is the ultimate tender but it means you have to build it or pay someone to do that for you.

The Porta-Bote is pretty economical when you consider it requires less horsepower and you don't have to build a set of chaps to protect it from the sun.
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