Fold-flat Portabotes from £2089. These American-built boats have been made for over 30 years, with over 90,000 sold worldwide. They come in four sizes, from 8 to 14 feet, and their unique feature is that they fold up to make a surfboard-like package that is just 4" thick (perhaps we should say thin). Some advantages of a Portabote include:
- Back home, you can hang it right out of the way, on the wall of your garage or shed (even a large cupboard!)
- On a yacht, you can tie it to the cabin roof or guardrails.
- Getting it to-and-fro, the lightweight hull can be strapped on a roof rack; you'll barely notice it's there.
The removable moulded plastic thwarts (seats) brace out the sides of the hull, and are also double-skinned to provide extra buoyancy. Once you've done it a few times, the unfolding-to-launch process takes about two minutes.
The hull is made from exceptionally durable, specially-engineered, copolymer plastic that has been tested to open and close at least half a million times without failure. You can bash it into quaysides, drag it over rocks, and go fishing in it without fear of puncture - at most you might make a slight scratch.
The flexible sides and bottom might seem "wrong" at first, but in fact they are one of Portabote's best features, because when you hit a wave (or more solid obstruction) much of the energy is absorbed by the plastic flexing, rather than cracking/denting (rigid hulls), or puncturing (inflatables). You can - and people do - abuse Portabotes to an extent that would destroy almost any other boat.
Their toughness, relative lightweight, and portability, are the main reasons that the RAF chose a Porta-bote to take with them on an expedition up Mount Everest... (see picture 5)
The hull's flexibility, combined with relatively wide beam, also makes Portabotes highly stable in the water. When moving about inside for example, most of the forces (that would normally start tipping a solid boat) are absorbed by flex in the hull.
Another advantage of a Portabote compared to an inflatable "of the same size" is that it has a lot more internal space - getting on for half the footprint of a typical inflatable is taken up by air tubes. You also definitely sit inside a Portabote (rather than on the sides), meaning that you tend to stay drier, and feel safer.
PORTABOTE PRICES 2016
Portabote 8 model £2089
Portabote 10 model £2138
Portabote 12 model £2272
Portabote 14 model £2822
We stock most of the popular Portabote accessories - including the custom oars/rowlocks (£107) and "Portadolly" land transport wheels (£251) - plus outboard motors by Torqeedo (electric) and Tohatsu (petrol).
When buying a Portabote together with a motor we can offer money-saving package deals.
We are based near Christchurch in Dorset and can demonstrate the boats by arrangement.
email - [email protected]
landline - 0800 999 2535
mobile - 07768 600595
website - www.portableboatshop.com
We also sell Nestaway sectional nesting boats and Point 65 sectional kayaks - the other approach to easier transport and storage.