I've been using a PorteBote in extended cruising
since 1998. The stories and mis-conceptions about the PorteBote are really incredible.
1) I intentionally take the boat out to surf in waves up to 6' - my brother and I (total of 360 pounds) surfed all over the west coast
of Vancouver Island in our 12 foot PB. We use a 2 HP Suzuki to get us out thru the break, turn into the shore, use the motor
to catch the wave, lift
the motor out of the water and have a great time surfing. I've been doing that since 1999 and never had a bit of trouble with anything breaking.
2) I've crossed 5 miles of open Sea of Cortez
water in 5' waves in my PB with two cases of beer
and five bags of groceries. Perfect control and not a drop of water got into the boat.
3) I have a custom made wood transom in our 12' and 10 PB and can do an easy 20 knots with my wife, groceries, and myself in the boat when using a 9.8 HP 2 stroke Nissan
4) The boat tows like a dream, IF - you manage the towing line length so the bow of the PB is on top of the stern wave when towing in calm water. When towing in rough water (I've done it in 5' waves) you want the bow of the PB pulled all the way up to the top of the stern rail or in my case with a big radar arch
- I lead the tow lines (two to a bridle) up to eyes on the bottom of the arch - 8' above the water.
5) My little 1994 2 HP Suzuki will easily plane my 120 pound wife and will almost plane the 200 pound Captain
6) The PB rows like a dream - I use 8' aluminum
drift boat oars and row the boat miles at a time for exercise.
7) With fold down dinghy wheels and a big outboard
we can come ashore in large surf breaks that no RIB or inflatable would ever consider. I just power over the top of the breaking wave - use the motor for control of location on the wave face, and go hard just before hitting the beach - the wheels keep the prop out of the sand, and the wave carries the really slippery PB way up the beach - I've come to rest 10 yards up the beach in a big break.
8) No one in their right mind would ever consider stealing a Portebote so they are the most secure dinghies in the anchorage
9) They are great dive boats - they are fast and dry when going to the dive spot and very easy to climb into when coming up from the dive. You just grab the flexible side, pull down the flexible side, roll in, bail out the gallon or so of water that followed you in.
10) They feel tippy but are very stable - I jump from the mother ship deck into the PB or even onto the seat - have never had it tip or flip.
11) They are indestructible! I park ours on rocks, tie them to floating logs
, run them onto the beach at full speed, and never worry about hitting anything that might deflate them.
12) Nothing grows tightly to the bottom. I would take the boat to the beach (in 85 degree Mexican water) once a month to clean the hull. Just flip the boat over, scrape the bottom with a putty knife (can't hurt it - right!), and it is spotlessly clean in 5 minutes.
13) They are DIRT cheap
- you can buy a used 12 footer in San Diego
for $500 and since they are indestructible the age of the PB does not matter
14) UV or high temps do no damage - no need for covers or worry about the material aging or drying.
I had been sailing for 25 years when I bought our first portebote and had tried every know dinghy - some were OK, some terrible, and our PorteBote was perfect!