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Old 29-06-2018, 03:51   #1
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Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Hi all,

I am planning to buy a first dinghy for my offshore cruising boat.
Requirements - carrying 2 Adults, rowing, possibility to use small engine.

I am debating between Porta Bote 8 and Banana boat 260/290

Porta Bote 8:
- Length: 2.75m
- Load-carrying capacity: 237 kg
- Price: 2000 Euro

Banana boat 290:
- Length: 2.9 m
- Load-carrying capacity: 255 kg
- Price: 1800 Euro

Any advice here?

Anyone used Banana boat?
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Old 29-06-2018, 05:45   #2
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Donít know a Banana boat, but have used a 10í porta bote for over a decade now. For us, itís been the perfect tender. Rows well, takes a small outboard, carries a decent load, stows on deck, light and near-indestructible. Even has a rinky-dink sail rig which can be fun in an anchorage.

Personally, I think the 8í is too small for our needs.
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Old 29-06-2018, 06:18   #3
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Hi Mike, any reason you recommend 10' instead of 8' ?
Me and my GF are pretty light weight people... so from carrying capacity, I can fit 3 persons and some water jugs in 8' one.
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Old 29-06-2018, 06:26   #4
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by xslim View Post
Hi Mike, any reason you recommend 10' instead of 8' ?
Me and my GF are pretty light weight people... so from carrying capacity, I can fit 3 persons and some water jugs in 8' one.
Itís not just the carrying capacity. Itís the physical space. You will have a hard time getting a good stroke in with the smaller boat. Oars will have to be set too far out, otherwise youíll bump into passengers. In addition, smaller wonít track as well.

Not saying you canít make it work. But I certainly would not want something smaller. If I were buying new today for my 37í mothership, Iíd seriously consider the 12í bote.
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Old 29-06-2018, 09:02   #5
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

I echo Mike's endorsement of the Porta-bote and also the caution about getting the larger size so you can swing the oars without bruising the passengers. Don
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Old 29-06-2018, 09:24   #6
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

I am beyond enthusiastic for PBs, but have no experience whatsoever with BBs.

The PB laughs at rocks, planes 2-up on 6HP in the 10', weighs little, and tows nicely.

There are a couple of Facebook groups devoted to PBs which would be good to peruse.

As well, our single complaint, that of the tubes protecting you and others from the sharp edges of the HDMWPE slabs from which it's fabricated marking atrociously, has now been solved (being, now, the same material as the hull).

If it weren't for the marking issue (touch the side of a light-colored hull and leave a black streak which, while it WILL come off with StarBrite Black Streak Remover, who needs the aggravation), I'd say you should also look for a used one, as they are essentially timeless. If you will never touch the hull of another (or your) boat, a used one will do you just fine.

We store ours folded up on the port rail forward, and the gear in a home-made duffel on the port rail aft. Folks put them together aboard routinely, but the marking issue has me loading it onto the Walker Bay Genesis RIB to assemble it on a dock, now.

Cleaning it, if you are in foul waters, is as simple as running a 3M scrubbie pad along it and the tubes. It's light enough that even with the engine, we routinely pull it up over the high tide line and don't worry about anchoring it.

It rows well; I adapted competitive Concept II oarlocks and racing sculls (10' long carbon fiber oars) to work aboard and I can plane it on the stroke (it settles on the recovery, of course.

YMMV but if you are going to use it as your regular dinghy, I'd suggest the 10', if for no other reason than carrying volume. We HAVE had, on one instance, 4 very large people aboard and circumnavigated a Bahamas island comfortably, albeit not at a plane, and we've used it to haul 8 5G (320#) water jugs when we've been someplace we needed to do that vs fill at a dock. I don't think you'd manage that in an 8' Bote.

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Old 29-06-2018, 10:24   #7
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Agree with all that has been said. Only thought to add is while I prefer to row our PB, it is easier to carry additional people with the outboard since you donít need the space to row. We use a 3.5 hp with our 10í bote. Sheíll easily plane with one overweight guy in it . And in calm conditions weíve been able to place with two adults.
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Old 29-06-2018, 19:54   #8
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

I had a PB 8 for a few years - hard to row, to small for stable outboard, and hard to get in and out.

I traded it (trashed it, it was old and leaking) for a PB-10. It was perfect. Stable, indestructible for about 10 years, rowed and motored easily.

Skip the 8 experience.
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Old 01-07-2018, 00:47   #9
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

I have an 8 foot and agree with all the above re 10 foot is much better. I am planning to either get a rib or up the portaboat to 10, or even 112?.
The only drawbacks are that it is not possible to get into it from the water, and rowing in a chop, water comes in through the recess in the bow.
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Old 01-07-2018, 03:40   #10
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

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Originally Posted by noblewarrior View Post
I have an 8 foot and agree with all the above re 10 foot is much better. I am planning to either get a rib or up the portaboat to 10, or even 112?.
The only drawbacks are that it is not possible to get into it from the water, and rowing in a chop, water comes in through the recess in the bow.
Your difficulties may be of the 8' variety, because, while a stiff breeze makes it difficult to row (lots of windage), we don't have an issue of water coming over the bow in our 10'.

AND...

I find it MUCH easier to re-enter my 10' Bote than my 10 Walker Bay Rib from snorkeling.

In both cases I remove my weight belt (to achieve near neutral buoyancy) before flipping up. But on the PB, I come over the bow. One hand on the forward seat, and the other on the opposite gunwale (we don't have the plate over the bow, though I don't think it would matter). Grab, flip, and up, the side folds under you and it's an easy slide in.

I'm 73 and no spring chicken, with a very impaired right shoulder to boot, so most others would probably have an easier time.

Those considering should not have water exit as a negative; it's much easier than into a rib.
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Old 01-07-2018, 08:22   #11
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Had several PBs (8 and 10') over the years and would say they are just ok. They are stable, and row ok. The rub rail does leave black marks on the hull and with the relatively newer PBs (with squared stern) have large wooden/plastic sections that need to be stowed. They take up a decent amount of room.

The BB shape reminds me of the original PBs. The more canoe stern like in the BB, rows well (less windage than the square stern) and the 8' could work for you if you are mostly rowing.

The square stern of PB can handle a slightly larger OB than the canoe stern on the BB (~2 hp). The floor of the PB w/flex/undulate w/waves and as you are trying to get up on plane. We like our current hard nesting dinghy much better and it is sturdier and comes up on plane much easier/less power than the PB.

Again overall they are ok for performance and can take a beating. Would really look around for a used one as they are significantly cheaper than new.


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Old 02-07-2018, 02:15   #12
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Thank you for answers!
I do not plan to have a big outboard. 1.5 - 3 HP.

I do like the shape of BB. and the weight for same size is much less -

Porta Bote 8 - 34 kg
Porta Bote 10 - 38 kg

Banana boat 290 - 21 kg
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:45   #13
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by xslim View Post
Thank you for answers!
I do not plan to have a big outboard. 1.5 - 3 HP.

I do like the shape of BB. and the weight for same size is much less -

Porta Bote 8 - 34 kg
Porta Bote 10 - 38 kg

Banana boat 290 - 21 kg
I use a 3.5 hp Tohatsu. Itís on the same block as the 2.5 hp, so same weight for a bit more oomph. The 3.5 easily planes my 10íPB with one person, and will plane with two in ideal conditions.

The BB certainly looks good to me, at least from the website.
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:17   #14
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Re: Porta Bote vs Banana boat

A couple of curiosity observations.

Their rub rails appear to be soft material, yet there are the same indentations as on the PB, which are used to hold the rigid tube in place (ends are riveted).

And, they claim unsinkability but there is no flotation that I could see. As you've researched it closely (and it's in your part of the world, a not-insignificant matter), how would the BB not sink if swamped?

They otherwise look to be very similar, other than the shape, which, with its potential shortcomings, overcomes the issue of failed stern bladder that affects the PB sometimes (always at the joint for the hull and keel)...
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