There has been some comments made about the Portland Pudgy
dingy on this and several other forums
I visit, but no one was posting
with any extensive cruising experience and use of one so I chased down one such owner. If you want more information about the boat itself, google Portland Pudgy
. It is promoted to be a hard shell, small deck
stowable dingy that sails
and rows well and can be used as a liferaft/boat. It will also carry a small outboard
Here is a basic recap of their comments after about two years of liveaboard
cruising and several offshore
passages. The opinions in ( ) are mine, but the following is what I think is a fair recap of their statements.
They love the dingy, have no engine
but row and sail it regularly.
When rowing, it is possible to seat three on seats confortably, but a fourth person is cozy as the second person sits on the rowers seat. The seating when sailing is best done on dingy floor and it is really only good for two. Sitting on the sides like one does on inflatables is really not an option. With three or four people on board rowing, there is room for small day packs, maybe a bag of groceries and such but leg room gets a bit cramped. With only two people, plenty of room for grocieries and just about anything you wish to carry. The adjustable middle seat is a big plus as is the second set of row locks.
In typical moderate trade
winds, the boat does take a bit of spray over the bow, and is a bit difficult to row if the waves pick up over a meter or so. The spray is more of an annoyance than safety
issue. It gets markedly harder to row in over 25 knots of wind
A 200 lb person can stand on the rails without shipping water
, and standing on the bow is not a problem for lighter folks. (Sounds pretty darn stable to me)
Breakage/malfunctions The collapsable oars have broken a couple of times at the joint, the company is willing to replace components, but you have to pay shipping
. The rudder
for the sailing rig broke and was replaced with a reinforced unit, again by the company. No other reported breakages but the clip that holds the extended tube in place is a potential weak link. The quality of the other hardware
The sailing rig is easy to assemble in the water
, The owners said it was much easier to rig than the Tinker sailing version
The life raft canopy is easy to install while the boat is in the water, after the first couple of practice runs which took 30 minutes or so, they can install the canopy in under 10 minutes. The dingy is reported to be self righting with the canopy in place but they have not tested that feature. They have no factual informtion to share on the dingy potential as a actual liferaft
other than it would be crowded and probably uncomfortable. (Just like any small life raft)
the dingy davit harness to the dingy after it is hauled up is a bit awkward, primarily because you need to hang over the outside of the dingy to pass the harness underneath. It takes about about 5 minutes to rig.
Self draining is said to work well when towing or carrying in the davits
but the plug
is normally kept in place when the dingy is in use. There are grooves which contain any spray or other water that gets in and the Thirsty mate hand pump they have is just the right size so the discharge pipe pumps the water over the side. As a side note, they use the dingy to catch rain water.
The wheels work fine on hard surfaces, but are of little use on softer surfaces. Moving the dingy on shore is really a two person task, but a husky person can move it a bit by them selves on the shore. It takes that kind of abuse without batting an eye.
The dingy is not a great dive platform as it is hard and bruising to climb back into; (but stable apparently, does not ship water)
That is a summary of the two emails I recieved from these cruisers.
My opinion is that it is more than an adequate dingy for a small cruising boat, if you do not need more floor space for carrying four folks, and if you do not feel the need to have a planing hull
. The only serious drawback is that is is hard and bruising to get into as a dive platform, but then you have an adequately performing sailboat and a liferaft/boat alternative on the other side of the equations. Price
is also an issue, this is not a an inexpensive dink.