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Old 16-01-2011, 09:05   #1
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Using and Liking a Collapsible Dinghy ?

Ahoy! This is my first post and I'm hoping to visit with liveaboard, cruisers using the Porta-Bote collapsible dinghy. We are still landbound but are planning to cruise when time and money allow. We already own a hard Dyer Dinghy and an ancient Achilles. We have seen the Porta-Bote at the boat shows and are tempted. Need to have some experienced opinions. Thanks!
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Old 16-01-2011, 09:13   #2
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Never used one, but a guy here in KW has one that he uses daily... If I see him (as opposed to his boat only at the dinghy dock) I'll ask him to opine
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Old 16-01-2011, 09:17   #3
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Thanks George! By the way, we used to have a Cal 2-27 and loved it!
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Old 16-01-2011, 09:24   #4
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I am a full time cruiser/liveaboard. I used to own a 12 foot Porta-Bote. I had nothing but grief and problems with it. I found that the transom and seats are to lightly built for full time use. I replaced the seats and transom twice with "improved" ones from Porta Bote. There was no change. They all cracked. I finally cut a piece of starboard and made a transom, then used wood to refashion the seats.

The other proglem I had with the boat was that it was just too light for full time use. Any type of seas and winds would blow it over on top of you. The bow would bounce up on a small wave allowing the wind to get under it. Then hang on. The bow would fly over the stern. I would set as far forward as I could with a tiller extension, but it didnt seem to matter much. I did this 4 times before I got tired of rebuilding my engine.

My favorite thing about the boat was the companies response to my problems. I was told that they sold millions so it must not be true. Huh?

This boat is just not up to the conditions you will encounter as a full time cruiser. Consider a RIB.
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Old 16-01-2011, 12:20   #5
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Sailcapt- Thank you for your very thorough response. We would not have considered these possible problems. I think you've helped our temptation diminish! Anne D.
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Old 16-01-2011, 15:46   #6
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I have an achilles rollup which has been very good so far. Have had it for 2 and a half years and currently am cruising in the caribbean with it. Not quite as collapsible as a portabote but is much more like an RIB with the aluminum slats for a floor.
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Old 16-01-2011, 15:56   #7
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Thanks! Sound like you're using the recommendation Sailcapt has made....an RIB. Don't think we'll go the Porta-Bote route. Can't wait until we can say we're messing around in the Carribbean! What about taking a hard dingy like a Dyer? We have an inflatable too.
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Old 17-01-2011, 06:24   #8
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BTW, I had a roll up before the Porta bote. It was a fine boat, but simply wore out. The Porta-Bote was to be the replacement for the roll up. If you are interested, I pics of the cracked seats and transom.

The Dyer is a great boat for liveaboard. The only problem I would see is storing it while underway. I wish I had gone for the hard dink. The option of rowing is great way to get some sort of work out. Something that is hard to do while living aboard. If you have a sailing rig, even better. I often envy the guys that take a little sail in the anchorage. My next dink will be a hard wone with a sail rig.
Steve
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Old 17-01-2011, 06:53   #9
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I had a Porta-Bote and sold it after only a few uses. You can't board over the bow (very unstable at the bow and the sides flex too much to help your balance) so the only way to board at a crowded dinghy dock is to climb into other dinghies first. The aft corners are hard and sharp, and the black seam covers mark your deck and topsides. Especially in cold weather, can be very difficult to operate. I think Sailcapt's comments about quality are spot on, although you could rebuild any of those parts easily why should you have to? I use a lightweight RIB now.

BTW -- I do think it's a great concept, but don't be fooled about the marketing claims "folds into 4" flat". The seats and transom take up at least as much space as the hull, and they don't fold flat. Also, I'm not sure the seats and transom are included in the published weights of the PB. You should confirm, if weight is an important decision factor because they would add at least 20 more pounds.

All that said, it does have advantages, as touted in the marketing. If I needed to carry a second dinghy I would consider it again, or get a roll-up. Probably the roll-up would be better.
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Old 17-01-2011, 06:57   #10
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We just bought a 10 ft Port a Bote at the Annapolis boat show but have yet to use it. We considered it because we have seen them on cruising boats and after researching other threads and the Port a Bote fan site thought we would risk it. After reading the above we will have to take it out in some rough bay weather before we leave for our cruise in the fall. Also, although we mostly row, will hang on to our rib for a while!

Can I ask SailCaptn what size outboard you were using? We only have a very small one. I think it's a 4hp.
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Old 17-01-2011, 07:04   #11
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Avoiding the on deck storage compromise is what we were trying to avoid by buying the Porta-Bote, so I know what you're saying about the hard dink. We loved our little Dyer but not the part about losing deck space. Now you tell me it would be good to also take its mast and sail! Ain't sailing fun! Compromise, compromise, compromise!!!
One more question, Steve, where and how do you store your RIB when ocean sailing?
Anne
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Old 17-01-2011, 07:15   #12
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Another option is a nesting dinghy. You can google it and find one to buy. Several outfits make them. But for a little bit of fun and not much money, you can build one. Here's a website that has some good plans. catspaw

They have a much smaller footprint on your deck (maybe under the boom?) but have all the advantages of a hard dink. Something to consider.
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Old 17-01-2011, 09:27   #13
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Could write a book on this one,many factors here so here goes:.. should tow well,must get it on deck/davits must not compromise running of ship when underway,should be as big as possible,be rugged ,rowable,unsinkable ,capable of taking out a kedge during a blow when aground or when main anchor drags etc.,take at least a small outboard,must have some provision to protect topsides of your craft and of those you visit ,be easy to embark from mother ship and get back aboard when it blows up,be beachable and capable of securing against theft ,identifyable when it goes lost,good fishing platform , carry small anchor and rode,groceries ,ice and water out of the sun and of course be legal with life preservers for all on board ,flashlight, a flare or two and the list could go on.
If you want to really cruise and be free of land and marinas, this will require as much thought and expermentation as you are putting into the mother ship.
It's a good idea to check out others solutions, esp. those who have been at it for a while,but you may not meet many at the marinas;they are out in the anchorage and easy to recognize since they often have laundry in the rigging and bullet holes in the hull.
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Old 17-01-2011, 10:12   #14
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Like any dink there are people that like and hate everything. There are some people that have long term cruised and liked their Porta Bote, but needed to replace some of the parts.

This is one of many threads where the Porta bote has been discussed. I used the Google custom search in the pull down of the search button, which is between New Posts and Quick links in the green bar.

Port-a-Bote

I like mine, but I've only used it for week long cruises in the Salish Sea. I get in the bow just fine on mine, but it is the 12 footer.

John
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Old 17-01-2011, 10:58   #15
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Thanks all! So much to think about. I appreciate all the experience your posts grant me. Weather here in Corpus..5 k., seas calm...sounds like we're off sailing for the afternoon. I know, I know, that doesn't sound like very exciting conditions, but as we are just getting back into the sailing life, they're perfect. Docking was never my strong suit!
Anne D.
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