Monday, June 24, 2013

UPGRADING THE PORTA BOAT



I bought an eight foot Porta Boat back in 2001 to replace a real nice fiberglass lap strake dingy that was lost in a gale. I have never regretted the purchase. It has been a real workhorse and has saved it's cost many times over in dingy dock fees. I don't abuse it but, I don't baby it either. But, over the years the wear and tear has taken it's toll. Namely on the plastic foam filled rear seat and the removable wooden transom.
The wooden transom really began to fall apart during last season as ten years of water, rain and sun started to delaminate the 3/4 inch marine plywood.

 Happily, the Porta Boat people don't rest on their laurels and have continually improved the Porta Boat design over the years. Including a new plastic transom that is lighter than the wooden one it replaced and a stronger more robust seat. So I ordered one of the new plastic transoms to replace the waterlogged wooden one.  It does require a little bit of retrofitting but, nothing too difficult. Here is what is required:
New holes have to be drilled for the screws that will secure the transom to the the Porta Boat hull. You can see the new and old positions for these screw in the photo below:

I refilled the old holes with some  Marine GOOP and covered them with some tape.  The plastic transom is lighter and floats and won't be damaged by water like the previous wood transom  was.

After the transom was in place I moved on to installing the new stronger rear seat. This was a little more involved but not overly so. First you need to remove the old seat brackets which requires drilling out the rivets holding the older brackets to the hull.  

Once the old brackets were removed I also needed to cut out a little of the floatation foam in order to fit the new seat brackets to the hull:


Two of the existing holes line up with the new bracket. But, I had to drill one additional hole for the new bracket.


I again filled one of the old screw holes some  Marine GOOP. With the new brackets installed  I refitted the new seat into the boat and then filled it with useful things I needed to take out to the boat. One of the nice things I like about the Porta Boat is how much it holds and how dry it is compared to an inflatable. With the upgraded transom and new seat it should serve me well for a number of years to come.


6 comments:

Little Wing said...

Hi Mike,

I'm looking at an 02 Porta bote tomorrow. If it's in good shape, I'm gonna snatch it up. Torqeedo from Defender is ordered and on its way. Woo hoo!

I weighed my options for quite some time but this seems like the combo for me. I should be able to handle the weight of the various components on my own, with some technical assistance.

Ko
Little Wing
NS30U #403

st1age said...

How did the Marine Goop work? My package says not recommended for use on polypropylene, which is what the porta bote is made of. I need a flexible adhesive to fix a small leak at the back centre fold, outside the transom on the rivets. Did porta bote survive the goop?

Capt. Mike said...

Stlage:

I used the Marine Goop to plug the old transom holes and also on the heads of the rivets before I installed them with the new brackets. So far so good. Not sure how the Goop would do on your leak issue. I have heard that possibly roofers tar (the more flexible the better) might do the trick but, I have no first hand knowledge of how it would work on your leak. But could be worth a try.

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The Unlikely Boatbuilder said...

I know this is an old post, but I just bought a 10' Porta Bote, and I'm wondering where people attach a painter? The two grommets in the bow? Are they strong enough?

Any advice, much appreciated!

-- John

Capt. Mike said...

John
Yes the grommets are strong enough. I just used a line maybe 3/8"? that fit through one of the grommets for the painter and tied a stopper knot (figure eight) on the end of the line inside the dingy. Has worked for me for sixteen years.