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What kind of dinghy is that?

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The story of dory our dinghy

We get asked this one at least once every time we set up Dory (our dingy) and take her out for a ride, or when we have a shot of her in one of our youtube videos. In a boating world dominated by RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) not many people have ever seen a dinghy quite like Dory.

We didn’t know much about this type of boat either when we first bought Uma as it was one of the items left by the previous owner. In other words, we were not sure if she was worth keeping yet. It was when we had to lower the dingy down to clean it and take it out for a spin to see if it had any leaks (in our Step 3 video) that we realized how light she was. That day, we took her out for a row across the Acushnet River to Palmer Island and were surprised at how well she moved and how straight she tracked with minimal effort from the oars. She was incredibly stable and felt solid for being made our of a flexible material. We were really impressed and decided to do a little more research. 

She is a Porta Bote dinghy.

Palmer Island, Fairhaven MA

There is a lot of great information on their website: They are unsinkable due to the closed cell floatation foam along the interior sides of the hull. Their copolymer polypropylene hull makes them extremely hard to puncture. No inflation needed. We can set it up in about 10 minutes. It only weighs 70 lbs, so its easy to move it around and lower it off the boat. We have the smallest version. It’s only 8’ long and folds to 24” wide and 3” thick. Now that doesn’t include the seats and transom, which take up some additional space. There are even sail kits available for them so you can leave the outboard behind all together. For just one person, our 6hp outboard is overkill, you could get it to max speed with a 3 or 4 hp motor and save the weight, but with both of us and gear, the 6hp is perfect—although, heavier that recommended by the manufacturer. 

A modification we plan on making is getting the seat supports to fold down flat so they take up less space. Someday maybe even remaking the seats altogether so they stowed easier. We love Dory, because she is so easy to take down and stow on deck. We don’t need dingy davits and we don’t have to cover our entire foredeck with our dingy when underway. 

In the end, we didn’t get rid of Dory, and we’re sure glad we didn’t. We love our Porta Bote dingy. Its so light, and so sturdy and stores so small, we see it serving us well for years to come. Maybe someday we’ll get the sail kit for it and see how well that works. But in the meantime we have a motor and oars and they get us around just fine. 

Fort Pierce, FL

Hope that helps clarify a few things for you. Let us know if you have any other great questions for us. We love hearing from you, so leave your comments below.

Dan + Kika

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  1. Swab the Decks

    We are so jealous! The port-a-boat is awesome! It was our first choice for a dinghy but it is very hard to find them for sale used. We ended up getting a great little rigid dinghy for a good price but it lacks some of the advantages of a port-a-boat. Looking forward to gearing more about how it performs once your trip is underway.

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