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  #1  
Old 09-11-2012
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Dinghy vs Porta Bote

I have Contest 31 and am considering options to go ashore while traveling the Chesapeake Bay. Towing a dinghy behind the boat is an an option.

Two of my marina neighbors have a small Porta Bote that they place outside the lifelines when cruising and put the boat together on the deck when they want to go ashore.

Does anyone have any experience good/bad with the Porta Bote?

Thanks,
George
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Old 09-11-2012
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

We have a portabote. I have mixed feelings about it. It rows decent, not as good as our sailing dinghy, better than an inflatable. It's light. It's pretty tough, we don't worry about dragging it up on the beach. It doesn't require a large motor to get it up on a plane. That means less weight, less expense and less fuel. It stores reasonably well. The boat folds up nicely, but you still have to find a place to store the seats and transom piece. We don't break ours down that often. It's not as stable as an inflatable. That's the main draw back. My son and I have hauled ourselves out of the water onto it after a dive, but it was with a coordinated effort with each of us hauling ourselves over the side at the same time. It's our primary dinghy around local waters. I haven't decided yet whether to stick with it when we go offshore or get an RIB.
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Last edited by erps; 09-12-2012 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 09-11-2012
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

Naples Sabot was the original tender.

There are thousands on the west coast
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

I had a 12 now have a 14 portabote I like mine. The 14 has a better design to hold in the seats its a full length aluminum tube that makes the sides more ridged. When rowing it doesn't flex as much as the 12 did. If you get one you could change to the full length design. It may also have been a year design change not length based. I bought mine used if you get one used and don't like it they sell easily. If you plan on rowing alot I think a cross brace up by the oarlocks would get rid of all the flex.
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

For my 28' boat, I have tried 5 different dinghies with the last being an 8' porta-bote. I am happy with the Porta-bote so I think it will be my last dinghy experiment. It rows well even with 3 adult men aboard. It is light enough for me to hoist onto the foredeck and assemble it. It stows between the shrouds and cabin top although it could be hung from the lifelines. When I leave my boat for a long time, I can take it apart and stow it below.
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

i like the idea of a port-bote...
it is the execution that made me go with a small inflatable.
An 8-10' roll-up inflatable can be stowed in a lazarette or pilot berth if necessary and est up in 5 minutes. a porta-boat is a life-line liner by default, and is an origami puzzle to assemble on deck.

two people and a dog can load onto an inflatable from a ladder without playing twister- a porta-bote, not so much.
We can inflate/deflate/deploy our small rubber duck from the foredeck of our 23' boat if necessary- not a chance with a porta-bote.
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Old 09-12-2012
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

All boats, even dinghy's are a compromise.

Jump into a dockmates PB and give it a try before you buy.

A deflated rollup in a bag tied to the mast is just as convenient to store and launch, more stable getting into and out of - but will row like a inflatable mattress.

A hard dinghy (water tender or other) towed behind is super convenient to store and launch, rows like a hard dinghy should, and drags like an anchor while underway.

My 9'6" RIB weighs 125 pounds, the 5 horse 2 stroke nissan it uses put me up on a plane (but not much else) and hangs from the davits like a dead weight - oh, and I don't even think about rowing it. I carry a 44 pound thrust trolling motor and a 115 Ah battery for a backup.
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

I don't think you can beat the convenience of towing a dinghy, which is what we do.

We tow this one: WEST MARINE WaterTender 9.4 Rowing Dinghy at West Marine

I haven't done enough comparison of towing vs. not-towing (we almost always tow it) to know how much it slows us down, but it's not that much.
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

I can assemble and launch my 14 footer alone.
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Re: Dinghy vs Porta Bote

I'd guesstimate my buddies Sabre is a knot off speed while he's towing his Saturn inflatable. I had to throttle down to almost nothing to let him keep up (I normally go 7 kts at 2/3 throttle).
That's a lot of extra diesel when motoring over time.
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