Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 27-12-2006, 15:23   #1
Registered User
 
Chrisc's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whangamata. New Zealand
Boat: H28
Posts: 210
Port-a-Bote

Greetings all, Merry Christmas and a happy new year.
A little while ago I contributed to a thread on dinghies in which I stated an on-going hate-affair with my inflatable and as a result, I built a gorgeous little Paul Gartside designed clinker dinghy. Well the dinghy is a joy to row and all that but being wooden it still has maintenance issues etc.etc so I didn't really come any further ahead for all my trouble building the thing.
There is a visiting cruiser here with a 10 foot port-a-bote for sale in excellent condition, and really cheap. Its a little on the big side (I would prefer the 8 foot one), but it would appear to make an excellent maintenance free and easy to stow tender, once you get over the fact that appearance-wise they're as ugly as sin.
Any positives/negatives I should be aware of with these boats? I should add that they are unknown here in NZ, but I have checked out their website.

Chris
__________________

__________________
Chrisc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-12-2006, 18:29   #2
Registered User
 
Wahoo Sails's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Marathon, Florida
Boat: Cape Dory 28, "Night Wind"
Posts: 353
Images: 16
Chris,
I have to agree with your assesment of the port-a-boats appearance. I will admit that I have never been in one, but due to my work position, I keep running into owners of them ... I have never had any owner express any unhappiness, and many, many of them are in love with them ... that alone say's a lot about them.
Bob
__________________

__________________
Wahoo Sails is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-12-2006, 05:45   #3
Registered User
 
Sunspot Baby's Avatar

Join Date: May 2003
Location: New Bern, NC
Boat: Prout Manta 38' Catamaran - Sunspot Baby
Posts: 1,521
Images: 14
I have seen several as tenders in the Bahamas. I wonder about their viability in heavy chop. I make shore trips with the dog when no sane sailor would jump in the dink. The inflatable will take it but will the folder?

George
__________________
She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
Bob Seger
Sunspot Baby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-12-2006, 06:46   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Currently based near Jacksonville FL; WHOOSH's homeport is St. Pete, FL USA
Boat: WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
Posts: 591
Chris, the Portabote has gotten a lot of coverage on discussion boards because it is such a unique choice, and I'd encourage you to research the existing archives of the boards. As one good example, visit the old SSCA Discussion Board - http://www.ssca.org/sscabb/indexold.php - and use the search engine, which will produce a good discussion on the various pluses & minuses of the Portabote.

My take-away is that the basic hull holds up well and is an especially viable choice when cruising in the tropics where U/V and coral can take their toll. It suffers from a number of 'finish' issues (longevity of the wood pieces, fixtures, oarlocks, etc.) and earns gripes for its towing performance (tho' overcome by some, apparently), and of course there's the storage 'issue' - both a seaworthiness issue offshore and a visual compromise. But as you have learned, picking a suitable tender is almost more difficult than picking the right Mother Ship.

Jack
__________________
WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
http://www.svsarah.com/Whoosh/WhooshSection.htm
Euro Cruiser is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-12-2006, 13:58   #5
Registered User
 
Chrisc's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whangamata. New Zealand
Boat: H28
Posts: 210
Thank you all for your responses.
We have gone ahead and purchased the port-a-bote, so I guess all its potential good points/failings will soon become clear. Concerning the points raised, we too make the twice daily trip ashore so the dog can de-ballast, so may need to glue some sort of thin non-skid material to the inside bottom so she can get a grip. Also, the boat we purchased is from 2004 and has no timber attachments to deterioate. They are all plastic or some sort of composite material, so perhaps this is a problem solved. Concerning towing, we were advised by another visiting cruiser who had one to keep the tow short and ballast the dinghy down with a jerry can of water to improve performance.
Anyway, all will soon be revealed and we are looking forward to trying it out.

Chris
__________________
Chrisc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-12-2006, 14:04   #6
֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎֍֎

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 13,033
Chris, I'm sure we all look forward to your experiences with the new dink. Dare one ask, did the sellers say why they were getting rid of it? (Learned to walk on water perhaps?<G>)
__________________
hellosailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 28-12-2006, 14:36   #7
Registered User
 
Chrisc's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whangamata. New Zealand
Boat: H28
Posts: 210
The port-a-bote was owned by a long term cruising couple who had taken up aqualung diving in a big way. They said that whereas they found the boat to be very convenient as a tender, it was not stable enough to clamber onto from the water when togged up with wetsuit, weightbelt, tanks etc, so they replaced it with an inflatable.
__________________
Chrisc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 29-12-2006, 17:03   #8
Registered User
 
Greg S's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 328
Chris,

I think you'll find that the "which dinghy" question is a bit like the "which anchor" question. Whomever you ask will likely tell you that the one they have is the best, and that may be... for them anyway. On this board you can go to a previous thread started by Gord May at http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/f117/dinghy-wars-hard-soft-nesting-folding-3885-4.html?highlight=porta+bote for some thoughts, from a lot of good cruisers, as to what they feel is the best dinghy.

The link to the SSCA by Euro Cruiser is an excellent read for the Bote. Another one talking about it's use as a platform for scuba is at ScubaBoard - Porta Bote?. There was also a recent post on the Tayana Owners Group (TOG) from a guy thats just returned from an extended cruise. You have to log on to get to their forum so here's the text.
=======================================
Earlier I had reported that we found it more difficult to enter the PortaBote from the water than our old Avon inflatable. This was a problem in technique on our part. Once we figured out the best techniques, we found it no harder to get back in the Porta and it makes a great platform for snorkeling from.

The 12' Porta Bote and the Tayana 37 work very well together. As you noted,when on passages, we stored it on the Stbd cabin top. It fits perfectly between the forward and aft dorades without protruding out into the side deck. By storing the aft and center seats under the Bote, it lifted it up just enough so that it wasn't resting (and rubbing) on the side rail. I never really noticed the lack of the side rail to grab when going forward or returning to the cockpit and with all the reefing/unreefing and foresail changes we did, we did this often.

Before I get into a list of the problems, I want to stress that overall, the Bote worked very well for us and the other cruisers we ran into using them. None for us have any desire to go back to using an inflatable.

OK, here are the issues we and others had with them:

- The plastic seats just didn't hold up to daily use. After less than a year, they were replaced with wooden ones we had made. I understand that they have redisgned them, but never having seen or used the new factory ones, I can't comment on them. I can say that we liked the wooden ones we had made (and painted white) much better than the plastic ones. They not only felt much more solid, but black plastic gets REALLY hot in the sun.

- The oars that came with it also did not hold up. One of the blades broke, the other one warped and the fittings on them rusted badly. Finding replacement collaspable ones while "out there" is impossible. We finally replaced them while on a visit back to the US.

- Some of the pop rivets that hold the seat brackets and the oar locks on failed. These were easy to replace with small SS bolts we had onboard. Before going out again, we'll go ahead and replace all of them.

- After 2 years, our wooden transom is pretty warped and we will be making a new one before heading out cruising again. I understand that the Botes are now shipping with a plastic one, but have never seen or used one of the new ones

- Some others, not us, had a problem with the black plastic piece that covers and protects the keel joint coming off. The Bote is still usable when this happens, I'd just be reluctant to run it up on some rocks, something we never worried about.

Balanced against this is the incredible ruggedness of the hull (we never worried about it rubbing against barnacle covered pilings or rocks), never having to deal with leaks or failed seams (a pretty common thing among those using inflatables), much easier rowing, smaller/lighter outboard needed to go the same speed as the inflatable and more room for groceries and more. In our minds, the Porta Bote comes out way ahead. We carried an old 10' Avon along as a spare, but never inflated it and will be getting rid of it in order to recover the storage space it consumed before heading out again.

_________________

Dan Best

S/V Tricia Jean - T37 #192
=======================================

Hope the "Bote" works out well for you.

Greg S.
__________________
Greg S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2006, 01:15   #9
Registered User
 
Chrisc's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whangamata. New Zealand
Boat: H28
Posts: 210
Greg S,
A great post with a lot of useful info. Thanks a lot for posting.

Chris
__________________
Chrisc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 30-12-2006, 10:44   #10
Registered User
 
Celestialsailor's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In Mexico, working on the boat
Boat: Hallberg Rassy 35. and 14ft.Whitehall pulling skiff.
Posts: 8,013
Images: 5
I had an 8 footer for years and reluctantly sold it when I thought my cruising days were over...STUPID!
The only problems I had were the plywood seats/speader plates were of poor quality and needed replacing. Also, since mine was the pointed type at each end, it could only handle a very small outboard...3 hp. One night when the wind was blowing 50+ knots, It would not manke it out into the anchorage. I eventually received a tow. It was easy to store, light to carry and rowed very well. There is a plus about its apperance...It's too ugly to steal!
__________________
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow - what a ride!"

http://wwwjolielle.blogspot.com/
Celestialsailor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2007, 20:19   #11
Registered User
 
Chrisc's Avatar

Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Whangamata. New Zealand
Boat: H28
Posts: 210
Well, I've used the port-a-bote for long enough now to form an opinion.
My god, the thing is ugly...
Having got that out of the way, I love this boat!! It was a little tatty when we got it, being second-hand, but a half an hour scrub with something found in the cupboard (oven cleaner, I think) and she came up looking like new. We were a little worried about having enough room on the foredeck to assemble the boat, but this proved not to be an issue. It takes the two of us about three minutes from folded up to in the water. The boat rows better than my zodiac, but not as well as my clinker dinghy but then I am using the clinker's 6'6" oars which are a little short. 7'6" would be the ones to choose. I have a 3.3hp outboard, and with two up plus the dog, I think that it is marginally faster that the zodiac, but with just one on board, the thing is scarily fast. My wife says I'm turning into a geriatric petrolhead. What I really love about the boat is its stability. It is possible to pull the dinghy up to the stern of the mother ship and step right into the bows of the port-a-bote without worrying about whether it will capsize. I know you can do the same with inflatables, but not with many rigid or semi rigid dinghies. Again, it tows as well as the zodiac, but not as well as the clinker, tending to wander around a bit. A little weight carried aft helps in this regard.
All in all, I think she will make the perfect tender for a livaboard, especially after a few minor modifications, foremost of which is some sort of towing bridle arangement to make her better behaved under tow.

Chris
__________________
Chrisc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-04-2007, 21:09   #12
Senior Cruiser
 
delmarrey's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Now in Blaine, WA
Boat: Modified Choate 40
Posts: 10,702
Images: 122
Thumbs up

Good to hear Chris. I've been kicking around the idea of buying one myself due to the rough beaches here and little available deck space............._/)
__________________
delmarrey is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2007, 15:55   #13
Registered User
 
Greg S's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 328
After two years with the Bote I still pretty much have the same likes and dislikes posted here and elsewhere on the forum. Over all I'm very happy with it and have made a couple of cradles to take care of storing it, and two of the seats, on deck. It all lashes down very securely and has the added benefit of being able to stand on it to flake the sail if necessary.

Using two tow lines as suggested by joshea (Dinghy Wars: Hard, Soft, Nesting, Folding...) sorks well for reducing the hunting under tow.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Bote 004s.jpg
Views:	712
Size:	120.9 KB
ID:	1809  
__________________
Greg S is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2007, 18:00   #14
Registered User
 
Latitude9.5's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2006
Boat: CAL 3-46
Posts: 441
Send a message via AIM to Latitude9.5
I've got two complaints about the porta bote. First off, we use our dinghy several times a day as we are live aboards and we live on a mooring ball. the plastic seats and transom don't hold up to daily use. You can tell that by looking at ours or any of the other two in the anchorage, they have the same cracks and weak points. My second complaint is; when we bought the porta we had small boat with no davits, here we are less then a year later we have davits and would like to have something we can raise in the davits easily. We took the porta to the bahamas this trip and putting it in the davits was pretty much impossible without doing some damage to the boat itself.

We are currently pulling the porta bote so i can glass some seats for it and using an aluminum dinghy for shore to boat and plan on buying a portland pudgy for cruising. Honestly there is no winning in the dinghy world, every take comes with a give..... or two.

The advantages of the porta? It will fold up on deck but keep in mind you have three seats and a transom to store, if you don't have a deck big enough to assemble it then it can be a real nightmare to launch. It rides nice, it's VERY stable and will plane with a 6 hp motor. Porta's are fast.
__________________
Latitude9.5 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-09-2007, 20:24   #15
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 976
Images: 6
Mine is ancient and has suffered the most terible abuse....but it still floats. It now leaks through the seams. The seats and spreaders where replaced years ago. Mine is a pointy both ends type and if there is a problem with them this is it. There is far to little bouyancy at the blunt end. You have to steer the outboard with an extension tiller or your big toe to keep the weight forward or else water comes oner the transom. The outboard that I am using is tiny so its not that , that is the problem. I sunk it with my brand new outboard because when i towed it water came over the back and next thing I new it was hangin straight down under the boat by its painter. Now I have "floatation sausage" permenantly around the outside and ALWAYS take the outboard off when I tow it. The dingy for the new boat is a 10 foot nester so I can sail it.
__________________

__________________
cooper is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
New from Port Washington, NY puckliny Meets & Greets 10 21-02-2009 15:40
Non EU Vessel in a EU Port TassieBloke Europe & Mediterranean 26 05-04-2008 20:49
Military port? Civilian port? Amgine Indian Ocean & Red Sea 1 21-09-2007 10:37
have u ever been to kusadasi port and ... ??? camaraderie Forum Tech Support & Site Help 0 03-09-2007 11:19
Hello from Port Townsend abtinling Meets & Greets 7 03-05-2007 22:14



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 00:15.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.