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Old 13-03-2015, 02:08   #31
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Re: Porta-Bote

Well, I been studying on this for a while. Our boat came with a four year old West Marine 11.5 ft inflatable, and we have a 15 horse two stroke merc for it. Way too much. Too big, too heavy. I've been looking at rowable/sailable dinks including Walker Bay and portabote. We are trying to fit two SUPs and dink on the boat and it's getting crowded, too.

For two people, total wt. about 400 lbs, would you hard core experienced portabote drivers recommend the ten ft. or the twelve footer? I have room for either one, but my own inclination would be to go for the smaller boat that will do the job unless someone with some experience says the twelve's a better choice. We do a lot of snorkelling, so reboarding from the water is important to us. Got a dog, but he ain't much weight. 15 lbs and an attitude.
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Old 13-03-2015, 05:13   #32
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Re: Porta-Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Well, I been studying on this for a while. Our boat came with a four year old West Marine 11.5 ft inflatable, and we have a 15 horse two stroke merc for it. Way too much. Too big, too heavy. I've been looking at rowable/sailable dinks including Walker Bay and portabote. We are trying to fit two SUPs and dink on the boat and it's getting crowded, too.

For two people, total wt. about 400 lbs, would you hard core experienced portabote drivers recommend the ten ft. or the twelve footer? I have room for either one, but my own inclination would be to go for the smaller boat that will do the job unless someone with some experience says the twelve's a better choice. We do a lot of snorkelling, so reboarding from the water is important to us. Got a dog, but he ain't much weight. 15 lbs and an attitude.
I have the 12, but then I'm 6'4" and like the space.

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Old 13-03-2015, 05:22   #33
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Re: Porta-Bote

Are all three seats required in it? I'm only a squirrelly little six two, but do like to stretch out.
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Old 13-03-2015, 05:47   #34
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Re: Porta-Bote

Go with the larger PB...I have been using mine with a 6hp 4 stroke Nissan since 2007... No issues with either.
All 3 seats must be installed at all times as means for structural support.




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Old 13-03-2015, 06:00   #35
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Re: Porta-Bote

I have the 10' portabote, with a crew of 2 (combined weight pretty close to 400#, mostly thanks to me ). It does us fine, but if the extra weight and length of the 12' makes no difference to you I'd probably recommend that.

The main challenge with our 10' bote is that it's a difficult to row with two people on board. It's not the weight, it's just that the passenger gets in the way of my row-swing space. Of course, there's no problem with 2 using our outboard. The 12' would take a somewhat larger outboard (if that's important), take a larger load, and would likely offer a slightly easier ride in larger seas (although I've never tested a 12').

The possible downsides of the 12' over the 10' would be weight, length, and perhaps the challenge of set-up/tear-down. We can do this fairly easy on our foredeck. The 12' would be harder, although we could likely manage it. It goes without saying, but the 12' will take more space to store (both the bote and seats).
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Old 13-03-2015, 06:38   #36
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Re: Porta-Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
Well, I been studying on this for a while. Our boat came with a four year old West Marine 11.5 ft inflatable, and we have a 15 horse two stroke merc for it. Way too much. Too big, too heavy. I've been looking at rowable/sailable dinks including Walker Bay and portabote. We are trying to fit two SUPs and dink on the boat and it's getting crowded, too.

For two people, total wt. about 400 lbs, would you hard core experienced portabote drivers recommend the ten ft. or the twelve footer? I have room for either one, but my own inclination would be to go for the smaller boat that will do the job unless someone with some experience says the twelve's a better choice. We do a lot of snorkelling, so reboarding from the water is important to us. Got a dog, but he ain't much weight. 15 lbs and an attitude.
Depending on the dog that "attitude" can weigh as much as 5 to 100 lbs!
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Old 13-03-2015, 07:04   #37
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Re: Porta-Bote

We have a 10' and 12' Porte and prefer the 12 for diving, groceries and material hauling, extra passengers, etc. if space is not an issue, go with 12'.
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Old 13-03-2015, 07:16   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fjwiley1 View Post
Go with the larger PB...I have been using mine with a 6hp 4 stroke Nissan since 2007... No issues with either.
All 3 seats must be installed at all times as means for structural support.
^^^ We have the same setup as fjwiley1 and are very happy with this.
Many many moons ago I had a "Banana boat" in the Med and was looking for something similar in the USA, the "Porta bote" fit the bill and more.
Very stable and at the same time very flexy which makes for a dry boat even in a good chop. Takes a couple hours to get used to (to trust) but once there you will love it. And as you say, space on your 12 meter for a 12 footer is no problem.

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Old 13-03-2015, 07:23   #39
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Re: Porta-Bote

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Originally Posted by floridabilly View Post
hey.....I have the 10' portabote....does anyone have a saltwater trolling motor on there's. I am wondering which size 35/45/55/65 lb. thrust will work the best...I am using as a tender mostly...some snorkeling/fishing. always in calm water.
I have a 6 hp. Tahatsu at the moment and at 125 lbs. post open heart surgery, I am finding difficult to put on and off the ketch to the dinghy. Would a trolling motor push the dinghy as a 3 hp. outboard motor. How would ya'll rate the push of electric to comparable outboard....ie...what outboard would compare to a 4 hp outboard?


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Old 13-03-2015, 09:47   #40
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Re: Porta-Bote

I am looking at a tender for our vessel once we move offshore.

In my current boat (28' Pearson Triton) we use an old O'Day 7'11". It is barely adequate.

The boat which will be used for our blue water cruising is a traditional heavy displacement ketch. I will not be able to have davits. I have looked at RIBs and such but really don't want to mess with them. Can't stow them unless I can roll them up and am not excited about that.

The porta-bote is, well, not pretty. That may be an advantage in places where theft is a problem.

I have read many reviews. Black plastic seats that get very hot in the tropics. "Flotation" foam at the gunnel that flakes off. Wobbly oar locks. The gasket/hinges marking up the hull and/or not being strong enough and having to be built up or replaced. The problem is, there are no dates listed for these reviews so one can't determine if these problems have been addressed by the company or not. Their website doesn't detail these things - not that I would expect a website to detail all the flaws in a product.

I am a SCUBA diver and want to be able to get onto my tender from the water, preferably with my gear on. The website shows a woman in a wetsuit using the ladder - quite nice but I am larger than her and would have my BC/tank/weights/regulator equipment on, not just my wetsuit.

I would also have to still consider a lifeboat of some sort, altho that would be true even if I had an RIB. Being somewhat old fashioned, I would really like a lapstrake skiff of some sort - but that just isn't in the cards, practically speaking. I have considered a Portland Pudgy for a life boat - but where to put it?

I would really be interested in hearing about how folks have dealt with the "cons" of this boat especially if they have experience with climbing aboard it with/without gear, and how they have dealt with hot seats, limited flotation, etc. There are many aspects of this boat that are very intriquing.

Thanks

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Old 13-03-2015, 10:39   #41
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Re: Porta-Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
I am looking at a tender for our vessel once we move offshore.

In my current boat (28' Pearson Triton) we use an old O'Day 7'11". It is barely adequate.

The boat which will be used for our blue water cruising is a traditional heavy displacement ketch. I will not be able to have davits. I have looked at RIBs and such but really don't want to mess with them. Can't stow them unless I can roll them up and am not excited about that.

The porta-bote is, well, not pretty. That may be an advantage in places where theft is a problem.

I have read many reviews. Black plastic seats that get very hot in the tropics. "Flotation" foam at the gunnel that flakes off. Wobbly oar locks. The gasket/hinges marking up the hull and/or not being strong enough and having to be built up or replaced. The problem is, there are no dates listed for these reviews so one can't determine if these problems have been addressed by the company or not. Their website doesn't detail these things - not that I would expect a website to detail all the flaws in a product.

I am a SCUBA diver and want to be able to get onto my tender from the water, preferably with my gear on. The website shows a woman in a wetsuit using the ladder - quite nice but I am larger than her and would have my BC/tank/weights/regulator equipment on, not just my wetsuit.

I would also have to still consider a lifeboat of some sort, altho that would be true even if I had an RIB. Being somewhat old fashioned, I would really like a lapstrake skiff of some sort - but that just isn't in the cards, practically speaking. I have considered a Portland Pudgy for a life boat - but where to put it?

I would really be interested in hearing about how folks have dealt with the "cons" of this boat especially if they have experience with climbing aboard it with/without gear, and how they have dealt with hot seats, limited flotation, etc. There are many aspects of this boat that are very intriquing.

Thanks

Daniel McNeil
Hi.

I don't own one of these boats yet, but plan on it. So you can take my comments with a splash of saltwater.

A few suggestions (as I see it) for the issues you raised above:

Hot Black Plastic Seats?
Paint them with white or bright yellow (my choice) plastic compatible paint on the topside.

Flimsy Oar Locks?
Replace with stronger or augment the fitting.

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You mentioned climbing aboard the dinghy with your gear still on.

I would not do that for any small dinghy while in the ocean.

Instead, I would have a floating (yellow poly) line attached to the boat that has a carabiner on it. This line should not be long enough to reach the prop if you are using an outboard, to avoid fouling the prop if left overboard by mistake. Probably attached to the strong point near the bow, like a painter would be.

My Suggestion (what I would do):
When surfacing with any dive gear (tanks, etc.), clip the carabiner to your BC Vest and then take the gear off your body. Then enter the boat (just you) and then pull the gear aboard after you are in the boat. Why? As I see it, when wearing heavy or cumbersome dive gear, a person is more likely to be awkward and imbalanced. Small boats move with waves, sometimes unexpectedly. Reducing the external weights (tank, etc.) leads to a more secure and easier to manage load when clambering aboard a small or larger boat, in short, an easier and safer way to enter the dinghy.

Use a net bag attached to the same line or separate line to capture and hold small items such as mask/snorkel. Then pull the bag up into the boat where it and all contents will be secured as you zip back to your sailboat. Unload by detaching that bag when at the sailboat and lifting it up to the sailboat deck.

That's what I would do.
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Old 13-03-2015, 10:54   #42
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Re: Porta-Bote

There are several of us who have posted extensively on this forum about our experiences with the portaboat. You have touched on the issues you are likely to have with one i.e. Seats don't last that long foam starts to flake after a year or two in the sun. It is no big deal. We made plywood seats to replace the plastic ones and added large pool noodles to the top rails to replace the seat flotation. We have a 10 and 12 footer that have been in constant service for years. They are an acquired taste and there is a ton of misinformation from people who sat in one once and hated it. They are not the fastest tender you can get and max HP is 6 with a max engine weight of 54 lbs. Ours will plane with the wife and I in calm conditions but moves along nicely just under planing speed with our Yamaha 6hp motor. We absolutely love them. We never worry about sharp objects puncturing them, we dive from them all the time boarding with full gear and Im not a small guy at 220 pounds 6 foot tall. There is a technique that works without any assistance where you simply remove your BC and hang it on the side of the boat then just roll in. Even in heavy chop I rarely ship more than a gallon or two of water. The cargo space on the 10 footer is easily double or more of our old 10 foot rib. The floors being soft and having a slight v bottom due to the fold will collect some water if its sloppy and your dripping wet so we also made a plywood removable floor that adds very little weight and keeps things we want to stay dry out of the bilge water. When we finally retire these Portaboats they will be replaced with another Portabote.

Hope this helps.


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Old 13-03-2015, 10:58   #43
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Re: Porta-Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
I have read many reviews. Black plastic seats that get very hot in the tropics. "Flotation" foam at the gunnel that flakes off. Wobbly oar locks. The gasket/hinges marking up the hull and/or not being strong enough and having to be built up or replaced. The problem is, there are no dates listed for these reviews so one can't determine if these problems have been addressed by the company or not. Their website doesn't detail these things - not that I would expect a website to detail all the flaws in a product.

I am a SCUBA diver and want to be able to get onto my tender from the water, preferably with my gear on. The website shows a woman in a wetsuit using the ladder - quite nice but I am larger than her and would have my BC/tank/weights/regulator equipment on, not just my wetsuit.
There are real cons to portabotes. Marking the hull is an issue. We carry a small fender to avoid it. I've never heard of a bote having a gasket failure. Apparently older bote designs had failures of the transom. Can't see it happening with ours. After six or seven years of seasonal, but fairly extensive use, our bote has suffered no problems with the flotation or oar locks, although I too have read about the latter. I do plan to replace mine ... eventually. But as I say, so far no problem. The hot-seat factor is likely real, but in my cruising it has not been an issue. I suppose you can toss a towel over them, or some water, or make a cover. Or just sit slowly and warm your butt. They can't get warmer while you're sitting on them .

I do wonder about the SCUBA aspect. I'm not a diver, so can't comment. I can get back into my 10' boat without the ladder, but it ain't a pretty operation. I'd look at Portabote's boarding ladder, and stick with the 12' version. Might want to try first if you can.

I view the portabote like so many other things on a modest cruising sailboat: it's a compromise. For me the pros outweigh the cons, but it's certainly not perfect (nothing is).
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Old 13-03-2015, 12:17   #44
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Re: Porta-Bote

On the floatation issue, my kids have a couple old opti's, they use airbags. How about strapping a few of those under the seats. I bought a three pack and it wasn't much money. Easy to inflate/deflate, might try this year once the lake warms up.
Just looked them up 3pack $60.
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Old 13-03-2015, 13:43   #45
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Re: Porta-Bote

The pool noodles serve several functions one of which is helping to keep our topsides scratch free. For boarding from the water they are soft and grippy plus help keep water out during choppy conditions. They look cool but we do have to change them out about twice a year. We now use the space under the seats for the fuel tank and other odds and ins we keep just in case.


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