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    Just received this article written by one of the top outdoor writers in Canada who just purchased an 8 Porta-Bote dinghy. Thought you d get a kick out of some
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 1, 2003
      Just received this article written by one of the top outdoor writers
      in Canada who just purchased an 8' Porta-Bote dinghy. Thought you'd
      get a kick out of some of his comments. Sandy Kaye

      SUNDAY HERALD COLUMN -- May 28, 2003 [HH0321]


      by Silver Donald Cameron

      A woman can never be too rich or too thin, said the Duchess of
      Windsor. And a man can never have too many small boats. I own an
      armada of them -- a gorgeous Phil Bolger-designed Gloucester light
      dory, an old flat-iron skiff, a plastic canoe, a sparkling white Force
      4 inflatable dinghy made in New Zealand, and a 7-foot plywood dinghy
      which I built to fit on Silversark's foredeck.

      So why did I buy another?

      Because Magnus, our newly-refitted motorsailer, needs an appropriate
      dinghy. And none of the above will do.

      For adventurous, independent cruising, a good dinghy is essential.
      Your dinghy, says cruising guru Tom Neale, is "the family car, the
      family pickup truck, the fuel tanker and water barge; it will probably
      be your towboat or tugboat, your fishing boat and your reef-diving
      boat; it will be your far-off and rough-terrain exploration
      four-wheeler. And that's just the beginning."

      But the dinghy is always a problem. You can hoist a wooden or
      fiberglass dinghy aboard, which is not much fun, and then it will
      cover your hatches, block your vision, attack your shins and snag your
      lines. Towing one is literally a drag. In a breeze, the towed dinghy
      will blow around, fill with water, or perch on the waves astern and
      then charge downhill at the mother ship.

      Alternatively, you can get nesting dinghies -- two or three boxes
      which nest inside one another and can be bolted together to make a
      boat. You'll love doing that in a lumpy, windy anchorage.

      So most people use inflatables. Alas, even the best small inflatables
      are poor boats. Rowing an inflatable is like levering a doughnut
      through Jello, almost impossible in any wind. With an outboard, an
      inflatable moves like a doughnut driven by an eggbeater. Inflatables
      are desperately wet in a chop, and they are always vulnerable to
      abrasion, chafe and puncture. You can't let them rub on things or drag
      them up a rocky beach. The nails of a dog can do them in.

      Furthermore, most sailors never flate their inflatables anyway. The
      boats are inflated in the spring and (maybe) deflated in the fall. So
      the inflatable proves to be just as much of a bulky nuisance as a hard
      dinghy, and much less of a boat.

      And that's why I bought a Portabote (www.portabote.com) -- a folding
      boat made of polypropylene. (The Atlantic dealer is Paul Woodhouse of
      Quispamsis, NB,).The Portabote's two sides fold down against the
      bottom, and the two halves fold together, making a surfboard-sized
      package four inches thick, two feet wide, and 8, 10 or 12 feet in
      length. Our 8-footer'hull weighs just 47 pounds. Prices are very
      competitive with inflatables.

      A folding boat sounds gimmicky, but Portabotes have been around for 30
      years, and more than 50,000 have been sold. The hulls are guaranteed
      for 10 years, and the boats are almost indestructible. The Japanese
      Coast Guard tests every import shipment by loading a Portabote with
      600 pounds of concrete and dropping it 21 feet.

      Portabotes get rave reviews from cold-eyed judges such as Practical
      Sailor, Field and Stream and Canadian Yachting — not to mention
      several Nova Scotian owners. They're also popular with hunters,
      fishermen and RV owners.

      To open a Portabote, you unfold it, hold it open with a spreader
      stick, insert the seats and the transom and remove the spreader. How
      hard is it? Practical Sailor assembled the boat in 10 minutes. When
      our boat arrived the other day, I opened the package, read the
      directions, assembled the boat, went up to my workshop for a pair of
      oars, dragged the boat down the rocky beach into the water, took it
      for a row around the wharf and dragged it back on the shore — all in
      well under an hour.

      The 8-foot version is over four feet wide, and very stable. I can
      stand up in it anywhere. The flexible hull material yields easily
      underfoot, which is disconcerting at first. It dimples when you stand
      in it, and goes back to shape when you move away. With its drooping
      nose, the boat looks odd — but rows well, it's vitrually unsinkable,
      and it carriers a huge load. There is even a sailing kit for it.

      Practical Sailor describes the Portabote's performance under power as
      "startling." It is, too. With a borrowed 2.2-hp outboard, our boat
      lifted itself onto a plane and went screaming across the harbour. It
      rode softly and quietly, and steered nimbly. Onlookers guessed it was
      doing 10 or 12 knots. That's quite possible: Practical Sailor clocked
      a 10-footer with a 4-hp motor at more than 15 knots.

      Portabote owners love these innovative little boats, and no wonder. In
      just two days, mine has become the envy of the harbour.
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