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Old 01-08-2013, 13:27   #1
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Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

I'd be curious to know how difficult these dinghy/lifeboats are to launch -- especially in an emergency scenario.

While I realize few, if any of the folks here would have direct experience with abandoning ship with one, it would be good to get an idea as to whether someone who owns or has used one believes it is a reasonable possibility.

Thanks.
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Old 01-08-2013, 14:11   #2
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

I sailed my friend's around for a bit (obviously with the sail kit). Regarding launching I think it depends on how you had it rigged. His is on davits so it's pretty straight forward.

It sailed fairly well. Needed a long shaft outboard if I remember correctly.
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Old 01-08-2013, 14:50   #3
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

We met some Americans who sold theirs in Australia. They were using an inflatable, so it was "extra", but it made me wonder what they disliked about the Pudgy, a pricey bit of gear to offload.

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Old 03-08-2013, 05:44   #4
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

My main concern is over how difficult it would be to launch in an emergency. I am fairly convinced that given the unthinkable circumstance it would be a better life raft than an inflatable bath tool that might or might not deploy. But of course, it would be useless if you couldn't get it off the coach roof. Davits are not an option - I have a canoe stern that makes that option difficult, and frankly I am not a big fan even if it were a viable option.
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Old 09-08-2013, 02:41   #5
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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My main concern is over how difficult it would be to launch in an emergency. I am fairly convinced that given the unthinkable circumstance it would be a better life raft than an inflatable bath tool that might or might not deploy. But of course, it would be useless if you couldn't get it off the coach roof. Davits are not an option - I have a canoe stern that makes that option difficult, and frankly I am not a big fan even if it were a viable option.
Why would there be a problem getting it off the coach-roof? You are supposed to step UP into a liferaft. . . .
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Old 09-08-2013, 03:03   #6
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pirate Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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Why would there be a problem getting it off the coach-roof? You are supposed to step UP into a liferaft. . . .
LOLOL.... Good one....
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Old 10-08-2013, 10:00   #7
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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Why would there be a problem getting it off the coach-roof? You are supposed to step UP into a liferaft. . . .
har, har. I'm trying to be serious. Hydrostatic releases?!
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:24   #8
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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har, har. I'm trying to be serious. Hydrostatic releases?!
I would not like to try and move it in a hurry; the basic boat weighs 128 lbs and, if you are going to use it as a dinghy as well, you don't want to be keep moving hydrostatic releases as they are easily damaged by this.
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Old 10-08-2013, 11:44   #9
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

The Pudgy is heavy -- about 128 lbs (without any life raft accessories). For a life raft it will be tight for two people.

I sometimes carry my Pudgy on the foredeck, and I use the spare jib halyard to hoist it on and off the boat. In an emergency you could drag / toss it, but you might have to flip it upright and bail it out once it's in the water.

As a dinghy I've carried myself and two light passengers and we were extremely cramped. It's OK with two adults, but I wouldn't want to have to sleep in it.

So, without having any experience using it as a life raft, I would say that unless you're singlehanding, a regular life raft with an adequate crew capacity might be better. If you insist on being able to actively sail your way to safety, then perhaps the Pudgy would be adequate for two occupants. It's heavy, about double the weight of some of the 4-person "coastal" life rafts out there, or my 6-person Winslow offshore raft.
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Old 10-08-2013, 12:55   #10
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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The Pudgy is heavy -- about 128 lbs (without any life raft accessories). For a life raft it will be tight for two people.

I sometimes carry my Pudgy on the foredeck, and I use the spare jib halyard to hoist it on and off the boat. In an emergency you could drag / toss it, but you might have to flip it upright and bail it out once it's in the water.

As a dinghy I've carried myself and two light passengers and we were extremely cramped. It's OK with two adults, but I wouldn't want to have to sleep in it.

So, without having any experience using it as a life raft, I would say that unless you're singlehanding, a regular life raft with an adequate crew capacity might be better. If you insist on being able to actively sail your way to safety, then perhaps the Pudgy would be adequate for two occupants. It's heavy, about double the weight of some of the 4-person "coastal" life rafts out there, or my 6-person Winslow offshore raft.
Good to hear from someone with experience. The other option I've been considering is a conventional liferaft and a nesting pram.
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Old 10-08-2013, 14:01   #11
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

It's a bit of a tough call, if you will be single or double-handing your boat.

A proper life raft is bulky and expensive, and the odds if you actually using it are vanishingly small. Life rafts should be inspected every couple of years, and the inspection, re-packing, and certification is quite expensive. Life rafts designed for the high seas do have features that could save your life.

The Pudgy is also expensive, and heavy, but you will use it a lot. It's really rugged, and doesn't require a complicated regular inspection. If there are just one or two of you then it might serve as a life raft. People have survived a long time in worse life rafts than the Pudgy.

Since I often sail with a crew of six (including me), and the racing I do requires an actual life raft, for me there was no other choice. I don't usually carry the Pudgy, because it takes a lot of space on my foredeck. For a dinghy I usually use an inflatable (Achilles) that I can store deflated in a cockpit locker.
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Old 10-08-2013, 14:33   #12
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

It would just be the admiral and I. A nesting pram would be half the size and half the weight, present less windage on the foredeck, etc. So, there's that. I've gone back and forth on this a lot.

How would you compare the Pudgy's performance vis-a-vis a typically hard dinghy? How much better is it than an inflatable, sans a rigid bottom?
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Old 10-08-2013, 15:49   #13
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

I just read the thread title and it took me back to a long forgotten night in Portland, OR... oh, never mind! Phil
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Old 10-08-2013, 16:19   #14
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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My main concern is over how difficult it would be to launch in an emergency. I am fairly convinced that given the unthinkable circumstance it would be a better life raft than an inflatable bath tool that might or might not deploy. But of course, it would be useless if you couldn't get it off the coach roof. Davits are not an option - I have a canoe stern that makes that option difficult, and frankly I am not a big fan even if it were a viable option.

We sail with a 9" fatty knees on our coach, i Always carry a rigging knife at the very least to cut lashings. We think the trade-off for carying a #120 is the joy when on the hook we rig (sea cup) and sail the harbor.........only saying
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Old 10-08-2013, 16:57   #15
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Re: Experience with a 'Portland Pudgy'

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We sail with a 9" fatty knees on our coach, i Always carry a rigging knife at the very least to cut lashings. We think the trade-off for carying a #120 is the joy when on the hook we rig (sea cup) and sail the harbor.........only saying
A 9"? That ought to fit nicely on my coach roof!

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