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Old 18-12-2014, 07:58   #1
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Porta-Bote

Has anyone had any experience with using a Porta-Bote for a tender instead of an inflatable? My interest in it is because the dealer claims that it is very lightweight and it will fold down to the size of a surfboard for easy storage. I wonder if that is true and how much trouble it is to fold it down and then to set it back up. And does it leak? Are there other issues with it that I should be aware of?
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Old 18-12-2014, 10:32   #2
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Re: Porta-Bote

Several threads on the subject.

I own 3.

Yes fold up and down. I use a spare halyard, much easier.

Takes a few times to get the hang of it.

I replaced the wimpo oarlocks with real ones, makes rowing much better.

Nearly indestructible.

To be towed you need to pull them up tight and get the bow right out of the water.
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Old 18-12-2014, 11:48   #3
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Re: Porta-Bote

Folds to the size of a surfboard; pretty easy to fold/unfold; rows very well; makes a good tender; no leaks at all.
I recommend it.

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Old 18-12-2014, 11:58   #4
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Re: Porta-Bote

I don't own one, but I know that they have been discussed on the forum several times. Look for Dinghy threads or use the search feature on key word port-bote and I would spell it several ways as most people do.

There are several interesting videos on youtube showing the porta-bote and I found them impressive demonstrations of the utility and compactness and ease of opening and closing it down. I was impressed enough to consider it a very likely buy for me in the future.
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Old 18-12-2014, 12:20   #5
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Re: Porta-Bote

i own one. She folds up nice and neat and sits in stanchon racks on starboard side. She works well in the water with a 2hp mariner outboard as well. Tows fine and rows good. The thing to consider is the extra storage needed for seats and oars. Mine all fit in rear lazarette of my HR28 but they are a bit bulky.
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Old 18-12-2014, 13:01   #6
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Re: Porta-Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbyham View Post
i own one. She folds up nice and neat and sits in stanchon racks on starboard side. She works well in the water with a 2hp mariner outboard as well. Tows fine and rows good. The thing to consider is the extra storage needed for seats and oars. Mine all fit in rear lazarette of my HR28 but they are a bit bulky.
Agreed, seats and transom are a PITA. I throw them in a pilot berth when alone or short.
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Old 18-12-2014, 13:20   #7
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Re: Porta-Bote

I took a 10' one to the carib in 2011-2012 as my tender. The GOOD: folds down to about 6" high, tied down hard on forward deck offshore. Didn't leak, hull held up fine. The BAD: This one was used. Some people report problems with the transom piece flexing. The oars were junk, as were oarlocks. The black rubrail leaves black streaks on mother ship. One of the seats became unusable with the metal supports poking thru the plastic. (that's with my wife at 110#'s.) That was a reoccurring problem as reported by other cruisers. They now have "better/stronger"seats says the co owner. This could be a great product but the owner appears to be combative and if you have a problem he'll say none of the other xxx thousand owners ever had the problem, but then you find it's been a common problem. There is a portabote yahoo group.
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Old 18-12-2014, 14:01   #8
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Re: Porta-Bote

This is a perfect example of how to use Google to your advantage. This isn't the only boating forum, right? Google it and you can read posts about from all sorts of different boating forums.
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Old 18-12-2014, 14:11   #9
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Re: Porta-Bote

There are several threads but here are the essential points

We have owned two for 15-years
Cruised in Mexico with a 12' for two years it was destroyed in a hurricane and then cruised another year with a 10'

Love them and would never have another inflatable

- cheap
- indestructible (I park it ON the rocks when snorkeling off the cliffs)
- fast
- scary fast with my 9.9 2-stroke Nissan
- huge load carrying
- very stable
- easy to row
- a 2 HP 2-stroke suzuki will plane it with my 110# wife
- very easy to keep bottom clean
- easy to assemble (even on foredeck of our 40' cutter)
- unsinkable (I've tried several times!)
- can surf on biggish waves
- I could come ashore in big breaking waves no one else would attempt
- theft proof (who would steal such an ugly thing?)
- very easy to store on deck
- light and easy to hoist, full assemble to foredeck

YES - the oars, transom, and seats are cheap junk!

I replaced all that with plywood transom, wood reinforced seats, good river raft oars for a total cost of $200. Our current seats and transom are 10-years old and as good as new.
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Old 18-12-2014, 14:19   #10
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Re: Porta-Bote

Another happy bote owner here. Have had a 10-footer for many years now. Is the perfect compromise dink for our needs. Others have covered it all. Do consider where you'll store the seats/transom. On our current sailboat it all stores rather easily on deck, but most would have to store the seats down below. Think about where.
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Old 18-12-2014, 14:55   #11
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Re: Porta-Bote

I own a 12' model. It's impossible to comment on the seats or transom because these have changed over the years. You have to say if the ones you are talking about are plywood or plastic.

I don't use mine as a dinghy or tender because I don't have a space on my boat to set it up. I've seen them being towed and if towing works for you, this would be a great choice.

My personal experience is that they are not as easy to be set up as the company would have you believe. Once set up though, it's a great small boat.
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Old 18-12-2014, 15:11   #12
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Re: Porta-Bote

I wonder about two things concerning the PortaBote -

1) I assume you do not apply bottom paint because it would not adhere well and would get on the mother ship when assembling, disassembling, stowing, etc.
One poster said it was easy to keep the bottom clean, but how often do you have to clean it in areas of high fouling? When I paint my rib I don't have to worry about it most of the time between annual coats.

2) How easy is it to get into from the water after a swim or snorkeling? Ribs are the best for that that I've had experience with. I should mention that I'm 70 years old and 240 lbs. Answers from young jocks will be disregarded lol.

Thanks
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Old 20-12-2014, 12:58   #13
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Re: Porta-Bote

1) I assume you do not apply bottom paint because it would not adhere well and would get on the mother ship when assembling, disassembling, stowing, etc.
One poster said it was easy to keep the bottom clean, but how often do you have to clean it in areas of high fouling? When I paint my rib I don't have to worry about it most of the time between annual coats.


No bottom paint or any bottom protection. In the Sea of Cortez, summertime 85+ F water, full time cruising. I would beach the boat every 14 - 20 days, roll it over, and attack the growing stuff with a paint scrapper and scotch brite. Ten minutes later it would all be scrapped off and I would rinse the boat with water from a bucket.

Easy-Peasy!

2) How easy is it to get into from the water after a swim or snorkeling? Ribs are the best for that that I've had experience with. I should mention that I'm 70 years old and 240 lbs. Answers from young jocks will be disregarded lol.

I used mine a lot for snorkeling. The sides are flexible so I would just grab hold of the center seat while still in the water and pull myself up between the rear seat and middle seat. The edge would pull down about about 6" and in I would roll - along with a couple gallons of water. I kept an old yogurt container and manual bilge pump in the boat and it took less than a minute to get the water out.

My personal experience is that they are not as easy to be set up as the company would have you believe.

My 110# wife and I can assemble ours on the foredeck in 25 minutes with no effort. It just takes practise. It can be difficult to assemble if the air temp/boat temp is below 60 as we found out in late July on the NW coast of Vancouver Island at 50 degrees North.

It is very easy, pliable, and flexible in 95 degree Mexican sunshine. I put it together on the foredeck by myself many times.

Once took the 12' Portebote from Coronando Island (off the Loreto BCS, Mx coast) six miles across open water to Loreto. Stayed in town to long (beer and lunch with friends?) and found the afternoon onshore 18 knot winds had built some waves. Crossed back to Coronado on a full plane with 50 pounds of groceries and beers while surfing on every wave. What a Boat!

Did I mention load carrying?
Me and two other, even bigger, guys for a total of 700 pounds of manly cruiser beef. Surfed ashore in Bahia Santa Maria on the west coast of the Baja peninsula - full plane down 3' waves with a old 6HP Johnson on it.

Surfed the NW coast of Vancouver Island with my 160# brother with a 2 HP Suzuki in 5' waves. Catch the wave with the motor, lift the motor and surf away!

I've attached a picture taken at Tenacatita on the Mexican Gold Coast. No other boat anchored out could get the crew ashore. I surfed in with the Portebote several times a day - just for fun.
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Old 20-12-2014, 19:10   #14
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Re: Porta-Bote

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
-----
I used mine a lot for snorkeling. The sides are flexible so I would just grab hold of the center seat while still in the water and pull myself up between the rear seat and middle seat. The edge would pull down about about 6" and in I would roll - along with a couple gallons of water. I kept an old yogurt container and manual bilge pump in the boat and it took less than a minute to get the water out.----

Surfed the NW coast of Vancouver Island with my 160# brother with a 2 HP Suzuki in 5' waves. Catch the wave with the motor, lift the motor and surf away!
----
Ok.
Might I ask your age and weight?
Also, how do you steer while surfing if the motor is tilted up?
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Old 20-12-2014, 22:47   #15
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Re: Porta-Bote

Might I ask your age and weight?

At the time I was cruising full time I was 54 - 58 years old and about 200 pounds. I can still get in and out as described and I am now 67 and 230 pounds. But, I am pretty flexible and in decent shape. I bicycle (road and single track mountain bike) 20 to 40 miles most days and I singlehand a high performance 17' planning hull boat at least once a week.

Also, how do you steer while surfing if the motor is tilted up?
The same way I steer almost all the time the motor is driving the Portebote - by shifting my weight and leaning slightly one way or the other. I lock the motor straight ahead and then just sit there and steer with my butt!

The only time I use the outboard steering is in tight slow quarters or when I am doing more radical turns such as weaving amongst rocks.

Some more Portebote pictures:
My brother in the boat in La Paz inner harbor headed away in the blue/green Kingston ball cap
The next two are Blind Bay on Shaw Island (Washington State San Juan Archipelago) - Me Obviously Butt steering!
And Me - accelerating away - the boat was not yet on a plane

And finally a man with a question in the Portebote on Succia Island (Ewing Bay) in the San Juan Islands
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