Portland Pudgy Dingy

I am looking into a new tender, as my old home made plywood invention made of the best 1/4 inch plywood Home Depot sells is falling apart (insert David Vann jokes here). I am planning on using it as a lifeboat/dingy for a world trip starting in June. I don't trust my life to vacuum packed air bags that I myself cannot test.

I am wondering if anyone has seen or used one of these before. I am hearing great things about them, but not from an actual cruiser.

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Pudgy Website

Previous Short Thread from last year

Any info would be appreciated, thanks in advance.

 

sailak

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I think Portland Pudgy should sponsor a transpac.. but in Portland Pudgies, maybe a few WB 8's for competition.. now that would be cool!

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I still can't see wrestling one of these onto my deck

This: I have on my deck,

picwalkerbay8ba.jpg


 
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I think Portland Pudgy should sponsor a transpac.. but in Portland Pudgies, maybe a few WB 8's for competition.. now that would be cool!
202-final-canopy-x%20copy.jpg


I still can't see wrestling one of these onto my deck

This: I have on my deck,

picwalkerbay8ba.jpg

Yes, I guess 71 lbs vs 128lbs is quite a difference.

I am guessing that you just lift your tender out of the water by hand, and without help from a halyard.

 

Not My Real Name

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Here's a picture of several anarchists fondling one while making smartass and disparaging remarks at the Providence Boat Show last year. The anarchist in the back (who I will not identify unless he chooses to come forward) sorta looks like he's about to hurl in it, which I think accurately reflects his impression of the boat.

The question you have to ask yourself, is that if you DO get shipwrecked and have to use it to stay alive, do you think you can spend a week at sea with a bag over your head? Because that thing is PAINFULLY fugly. Heavy & ugly; I can not imagine it could get out of it's own way.

On the plus side, if memory serves from the feel of the deck and hull you SHOULD be able to easily use it as a cutting board to fillet any flying fish that are not too repelled by it's hideous appearance to fall into the boat.

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hobot

Super Anarchist
Here's a picture of several anarchists fondling one while making smartass and disparaging remarks at the Providence Boat Show last year. The anarchist in the back (who I will not identify unless he chooses to come forward) sorta looks like he's about to hurl in it, which I think accurately reflects his impression of the boat.
The question you have to ask yourself, is that if you DO get shipwrecked and have to use it to stay alive, do you think you can spend a week at sea with a bag over your head? Because that thing is PAINFULLY fugly. Heavy & ugly; I can not imagine it could get out of it's own way.

On the plus side, if memory serves from the feel of the deck and hull you SHOULD be able to easily use it as a cutting board to fillet any flying fish that are not too repelled by it's hideous appearance to fall into the boat.

A 10 day boat show pitching that boat......Daaaamn! thats a long boatshow.

 

Ishmael

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A 10 day boat show pitching that boat......Daaaamn! thats a long boatshow.
Yep. You'd be pitching it off the roof by the third day to prove its seaworthiness.

"Look, it falls 48 feet and just bounces! And most of your children lived through it!"

 

catboat sophia

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I think the Portland Pudgy is a great looking little boat. OK, it's not a classic wooden boat, but it's aesthetically pleasing the same way other utilitarian things, whose form follows function, are pleasing. Its beauty is in its functionality, like a Jeep (which is a classic design).

The Pudgy is really a little catboat. (It looks great with our big catboat.)

If you look at a Pudgy in person you see the amazing amount of detailed workmanship that goes into each one. How anyone could scoff at the Pudgy, yet have a Walker Bay (which to my mind is a flimsy little Dixie Cup of a boat) is beyond me. By the same token Zodiacs are really ugly, don't even look like boats, can't be sailed, row and tow miserably, and deflate. The Pudgy is carefully engineered, pleasing in its functional aesthetic, and it does everything it's supposed to do really well.

When we go down to the dock and find our self-bailing Pudgy riding high in the water in a marina full of swamped and sunken dinghies and inflatables, it's hard not to feel kind of smug. And when we skim along out to our mooring (with all of our provisions, two dogs, two adults and two kids), and pass some poor souls struggling along, up to their gunwales and carrying half our load, ditto. When we reach an island, and set up the sailing rig, so the kids can toot around while we grownups relax, I feel safe, knowing the Pudgy is easy to sail, unsinkable, hard to capsize, and easy to right if it does capsize, unlike an Opti. (And it's a lifeboat, which thank God, we haven't had experience with yet, but I can tell you, I feel a lot safer knowing we have it.)

 

Not My Real Name

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I think the Portland Pudgy is a great looking little boat. OK, it's not a classic wooden boat, but it's aesthetically pleasing the same way other utilitarian things, whose form follows function, are pleasing. Its beauty is in its functionality, like a Jeep (which is a classic design).
The Pudgy is really a little catboat. (It looks great with our big catboat.)

If you look at a Pudgy in person you see the amazing amount of detailed workmanship that goes into each one. How anyone could scoff at the Pudgy, yet have a Walker Bay (which to my mind is a flimsy little Dixie Cup of a boat) is beyond me. By the same token Zodiacs are really ugly, don't even look like boats, can't be sailed, row and tow miserably, and deflate. The Pudgy is carefully engineered, pleasing in its functional aesthetic, and it does everything it's supposed to do really well.

When we go down to the dock and find our self-bailing Pudgy riding high in the water in a marina full of swamped and sunken dinghies and inflatables, it's hard not to feel kind of smug. And when we skim along out to our mooring (with all of our provisions, two dogs, two adults and two kids), and pass some poor souls struggling along, up to their gunwales and carrying half our load, ditto. When we reach an island, and set up the sailing rig, so the kids can toot around while we grownups relax, I feel safe, knowing the Pudgy is easy to sail, unsinkable, hard to capsize, and easy to right if it does capsize, unlike an Opti. (And it's a lifeboat, which thank God, we haven't had experience with yet, but I can tell you, I feel a lot safer knowing we have it.)

You can certainly sell me on its utility...but not it's beauty. I've seen one up close (I took that picture) - workmanship wasn't what popped into my mind.Valid point in re Walker Bays - they are no thing of beauty either. They do have a utilititarian appeal as a 2nd kids dink, though I don't love them they seem to meet the requirements. I'd love a chance to sail either to compare.

 

abettermousetrap

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Yes, the Pudgy could be cheaper and flimsier. A very common small dinghy on the market is one thin layer of plastic and is prone to cracking in cold weather, and to tipping over. The Portland Pudgy is "the fun boat that could save your life." On the double-hulled Pudgy you could chop the first hull off with an axe and you would still have a boat. You could shoot it full of holes and it would still float, because of the buoyant foam in the bottom adding over 500 lbs of flotation. Damn tough and seaworthy. You don't get this with wimpy materials and construction.

All 8 foot dinghies that I know of are USCG rated for 2 people. The Pudgy has twice that--it is USCG approved for 4 people. It took 1255 lbs at a USCG test to submerge it to its gunwales. Try that with one of those 90-lb weaklings. The Pudgy is pram-shaped to conserve deck room when stored on the mother boat (it's 7'-8"). If you extended the bow to a point, the Pudgy would be about 9'-6" long. A 9'-6" long boat at 128 lbs is pretty good, and this pram won't sink; you can walk around on the unobstructed floor without serious tipping, you can stand in the bow, and you can climb in from the water easily (a 275 lb tester wiggled over the gunwale and the Pudgy did not ship a drop except from a wet bathing suit).

Take a look at Good Old Boat magazine May/Jun 07 issue, "Seeking the Perfect Dinghy" lifting the Pudgy up by a halyard, or spinnnaker pole.

The proof of the pudding will be when some lost soul sails his proactive Pudgy lifeboat from the middle of the Atlantic to the safety of shore while his fellow sailor's cloth liferaft was shredded to pieces by the same storm that sunk their passage-making boat. Boy, will it be beautiful then (or, as the vast majority of boat show enthusiasts say, "cute, really cute"). Oh, it is also just a dinghy, that sails and motors, and kids just love it (watch them).

 

sailak

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If you look at a Pudgy in person you see the amazing amount of detailed workmanship that goes into each one. How anyone could scoff at the Pudgy, yet have a Walker Bay (which to my mind is a flimsy little Dixie Cup of a boat) is beyond me. By the same token Zodiacs are really ugly, don't even look like boats, can't be sailed, row and tow miserably, and deflate. The Pudgy is carefully engineered, pleasing in its functional aesthetic, and it does everything it's supposed to do really well.
I won't argue WB's are cheap and flimsy, they are, they also don't weigh 128lbs, or cost over $2000. I wouldn't want an extra 70 lbs on my deck, offshore or anywhere... its too much, too much to handle, to much to break free of its lashings, too much to carry (by yourself esp) 50-100ft up a beach like you have to due in regions with big tides. Great it is self bailing and tough as hell and probably is well suited for some people.. but it is a niche product, in a class of its own. Not a big market. I don't think pointing these things out is necessarily scoffing at it!

 

catboat sophia

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I won't argue WB's are cheap and flimsy, they are, they also don't weigh 128lbs, or cost over $2000. I wouldn't want an extra 70 lbs on my deck, offshore or anywhere... its too much, too much to handle, to much to break free of its lashings, too much to carry (by yourself esp) 50-100ft up a beach like you have to due in regions with big tides. Great it is self bailing and tough as hell and probably is well suited for some people.. but it is a niche product, in a class of its own. Not a big market. I don't think pointing these things out is necessarily scoffing at it!
I have to admit, I was kind of irked by the "fugly" thing (that was the "scoffing" I was defending my beloved Pudgy against). I didn't mean to hurt any WB-owner's feelings.

 

Not My Real Name

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I won't argue WB's are cheap and flimsy, they are, they also don't weigh 128lbs, or cost over $2000. I wouldn't want an extra 70 lbs on my deck, offshore or anywhere... its too much, too much to handle, to much to break free of its lashings, too much to carry (by yourself esp) 50-100ft up a beach like you have to due in regions with big tides. Great it is self bailing and tough as hell and probably is well suited for some people.. but it is a niche product, in a class of its own. Not a big market. I don't think pointing these things out is necessarily scoffing at it!
The Walker Bay HULL is under $2K; by the time you stick the RIB tube and a sailing rig on it you're spending twice that.

At some point we're going to get a second dink - main requirements being relative indestructibility (think dragging up on beaches, so no pretty glass or wood I have to maintain), sailing capability, rowing capability, lightness for ease of handling and being able to carry me plus someone moderate sized like my wife or a big kid. This would be the "kids car" they can use to get around, and a backup to the powered RIB. On paper the WB with the RIB tube and rig meets that requirement. It appears the Pudgy might too, and for less money at the end of the day. Although I DO think it is heinous to look at, it is no more heinous than the Walker Bay. Neither boat is a attractive...however if it's the KIDS dink I'm not going to be seen in it much!

By comparison, the Walker Bay 10 with Hypalon tubes weighs 148 lbs without the sailing rig. That is kind of a beast. At West marine you have to get the boat ($1,199.99), the tube kit ($1,399) and the sail kit ($999 for main only, $1,599 for "performance" rig with jib): totals around $3500-4000 depending on options; the 8' boat is obviously cheaper but also doesn't meet the "wife & me" specification. The Pudgy sounds a lot better by comparison.

A Dyer Dink or Dhow is a pretty little thing, though I worry about the bottom getting hauled up on beaches by the kids. And then there are the nesting kits...

 

abettermousetrap

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Kent Hawkins said:
One thing that I noticed is just how much weight this Pudgy is rated for. I wonder if it would not be good for sailing instruction instead of Optimist type of dink.
The problem that I see with the various Optimist types is the very low weight of occupant(s) that the US CG rates them for. Now I know that the weight is exceeded but that is a serious liability problem. If something was to happen to a child and the weight in the boat is over the CG rating I would think that there is a pretty big problem.

Just about any begginer sailor can be accomadated in this Pudgy. So adults could use the boat as well.

This self rescue stuff. Just keep in mind that on land or at sea the SAR community takes a fairly deep breath of astonishment when this is brought up. I am very leary of a hard bottom boat as a primary means of survival let alone self rescue. But I guess if you lose your EPIRB then this is another option. Just keep in mind that once you leave a reported location finding you is extremely difficult. I do like the idea of this boat AND some form of raft/rib. Not to mention the newest EPIRB's that are small enough to carry are the best rescue insurance on the market.
I have to admit, after my previous post, that I'm the Portland Pudgy's designer. I'd be happy to answer any detailed questions about the boat. Suggestions are welcome, too!

You're right, the Pudgy is a great sailboat for kids. It's safe and fun and easy to learn to use. The buoyancy means that not only the kid, but an instructor (or another kid) can be in the boat. Also, it's hard to capsize the Pudgy, but if you do manage to do it, it's very easy to right, and, it comes up nearly dry, as opposed to the Opti or other sailing dinks where the kid has to be rescued.

Regarding the proactive vs. stationary question: We believe that we're now coming around full circle in terms of the self-rescue concept. The Pudgy lets you be stationary in the water and wait for rescue, like a traditional liferaft. However, you have the option of using it for self-rescue. EPIRBs can be lost or run out of juice. Also, EPIRBs don't guarantee rescue by the CG. For one thing, the USCG is now severely taxed by the demands of homeland security, and there are many parts of the world where there is no rescue organization that will help you. (Read Adrift, by Steve Callahan). Also inflatable liferafts can puncture and deflate (again, read Callahan). This is an important decision and you need to decide on the options that you feel most comfortable with.

 

sailak

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The Walker Bay HULL is under $2K; by the time you stick the RIB tube and a sailing rig on it you're spending twice that.
By comparison, the Walker Bay 10 with Hypalon tubes weighs 148 lbs without the sailing rig. That is kind of a beast. At West marine you have to get the boat ($1,199.99), the tube kit ($1,399) and the sail kit ($999 for main only, $1,599 for "performance" rig with jib): totals around $3500-4000 depending on options; the 8' boat is obviously cheaper but also doesn't meet the "wife & me" specification. The Pudgy sounds a lot better by comparison.
Wow, prices have gone up a whole lot since I bought mine! Not really fair to compare the WB10 to the pudgy 8, but even the WB 8 is just shy of the cost of a pudgy with sail kit. So.. 2700 for pudgy or 2500 for WB8? I would have to say the pudgy is way better bang for the buck! Disposable boats at disposable prices are one thing, but with these prices I wouldn't buy a WB again. Over a grand for the tube kit!!! WTF I can get a very nice RIB for less than that!!!!

 

Not My Real Name

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Wow, prices have gone up a whole lot since I bought mine! Not really fair to compare the WB10 to the pudgy 8, but even the WB 8 is just shy of the cost of a pudgy with sail kit. So.. 2700 for pudgy or 2500 for WB8? I would have to say the pudgy is way better bang for the buck! Disposable boats at disposable prices are one thing, but with these prices I wouldn't buy a WB again. Over a grand for the tube kit!!! WTF I can get a very nice RIB for less than that!!!!
I was thinking on the WB RID 10 because of the rated capacity; the WB 8 with the RID is 410 lbs, the RID 10 is 562 LBS which is closer to the Pudgy's USCG capacity of 557 lbs.

I also priced the Hypalon tubes; the PVC are cheaper but I wouldn't consider them for my purposes.

 

Not My Real Name

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I have to admit, after my previous post, that I'm the Portland Pudgy's designer.
You really ought to have put that bit in the first post!

Their not a thing of beauty, but I will admit that on paper they seem to blow away the Walker Bay in any combination of gear.

This may make some people snort out loud...but do you have polars? When I saw one at the Providence Boat Show my impression of the boat visually is that it couldn't get out of it's own way under sail. I'm curious to see how it actually does. For half the cost and less weight and space on the foredeck it's worth considering against our original thoughts on the Walker Bay RID with sailing rig. I've not seen other plastic boats of similar size/capacities.

Life boat replacement is a tougher sell...

 




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