Yes, setup can get interesting. We either look like we know what we're doing, or we're the entertainment of the anchorage.
Here's what we do... First, especially with a new portabote, before you take it on a trip, leave it set up in the yard (out in the warm sun, if possible) for a week before the trip. This will make it much easier to set up when you need to. When we set it up on the boat, I loosen the quick releases on our life lines first, so they can drop to deck level and stay out of the way. We assemble it cross-wise on the foredeck. I have 2 bridles, made from pieces of poly rope
, that I attach one to each seat. They have a carabiner on them that I attach to the jib halyard
. Drop it in and out with that. 15-20 min tops. This year I'm going to try a block and tackle between the halyard and the portabote as the halyard sheave tends to bind up some when off at an angle. Ours is an 8' boat. It's also one of the newer ones that has the transom incorporated in the boat (no extra pieces) so it's probably easier to set up than yours. I store the seats and paddles inside our boat (ie, not in the bote).
Tip. Put armor-all on the black tubes that run along the hinges periodically. This will do a lot to keep the portabote from leaving black marks on the deck of your boat.
Also, the portabote tows well, if you keep it close.
One other tip, and I'm not sure if it applies to the 3 seat boats. I often have trouble lining up the second seat pin on one of the seats (front maybe?). This is always a balancing act when trying to do this as well. I found out, rather than fight it, I use one of the ratchet straps, that I use to tie the portabote to the stanchions, to help finesse it into place. Much easier than fighting with it.