Friday, 20 September 2013

What's being discussed in the world of folding boats.

iBoats forum has some interesting discussion of both the Quick Boat and the Porta Bote.
Check out the following links.
I'll try to keep this list updated.

iBoat Forum

Porta Bote forum

Soon to come will be the Quick Boat Forum.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Wonderful World of Folding Boats

Porta Bote

I have owned a 10' Porta Bote for the past 3 years and have found it absolutely brilliant in its trans-portability. Especially when towing a caravan. I can put the Bote on top of the SUV, outboard in the back and away I go.
 Lee helping with the Bote setup

What I like about the Portabote is the fact that you can easily work on it and modify it to suit your purposes.
You can add a bow cover, fishing rod holders, flooring, etc, depending on your skills as a handy man.
What I don't like about the Porta Bote is that, at the time of writing, you have to work on it to add your bow cover, fishing rod holders, flooring, etc. as there are no such accessories available.
I stand corrected. There is a bow cover that comes with the bote but in the three years that I have owned it, I have never used it.
What I have also found useful is the Porta Bote's ability to float in very shallow water which has been excellent when trying to get into a shallow creek that drops off  into a deeper section.
This is exactly what my son in law and I did when fishing around Carlos Point near Rainbow Beach, Qld.
My bote in good company at Carlos Point

The water was crystal clear.
As my son in law Lee slowly reeled in his soft plastic we both saw a flathead dart out from under a submerged log and snatch the soft plastic right before our eyes.
It was fantastic! I'd like to add that Beer Battered Flathead fillets are brilliant.

I can only speak from my own experiences and I have found that there are limitations as you would expect from a folding bote made from Polypropylene which is both tough and flexible.

The Portabote is not built for speed. That is not its purpose.
Its main purpose is transport-ability and it does very well.
I have found that with a 4hp 2 stroke outboard, I am able to travel at around 20 kph when on my own.
Add a second person and this speed drops down to around 11 kph.
I have tried a 5hp 4 stroke outboard and I was limited to around 18 kph when on my own.
I have tried a 7.5 hp 2 stroke (Maximum recommended outboard for my 10' Bote is 6hp) and I was able to travel at around 26 kph on my own but this was a bit of a hairy experience.
At this speed also I found water coming over the sides at the stern due to the black plastic tube running around the edge of the Porta Bote.
I believe the maximum safe speed for my Gen IV 10' bote is around 24 kph (15 mph or 13 Knots).
Another issue I have with my Gen IV 10' bote is the transom.
It is made of plastic and has a tendency to flex which creates a problem by allowing the outboard to hit the back of the bote. To overcome this it has been suggested that you tilt the outboard to move it away from the bote.
This is not ideal as the further away from the transom that you tilt the outboard, the higher the nose lifts making it more difficult to get on the plane.
Porta Bote's new Alpha1 model has addressed this issue I believe by replacing the plastic transom with a new folding transom which apparently has no flex.

At time of writing a new 12' Porta Bote is $3,390 here in Oz. (Basic Bote, Seats, hull and folding transom.)

I'd like to add that I am in no way sponsored by or otherwise employed by either Porta Bote or the Quick Boat company.

Quick Boats.

On Saturday I went out in the Quick Boat with James, General Manager of Quickboats here in Australia.
Quick Boats is the new comer to the world of folding boats and they have made some quite innovative additions. 
12' Quickboat (3.7m)

Having had 3 years experience in my Portabote, there were certain aspects that I wanted to look out for with the Quickboat.
I was quite surprised as there is absolutely no flex in the hull of the Quick Boat, nor in the transom which is comparatively thin and doesn't have any aluminium angle to brace it.
Power transfer bracket. 
The seats clip in and lock.
The transom clips in and locks.
The bow cover also clips in and locks.
There are no rivets or staples.
No wing nuts
It can be assembled in 40 seconds with 2 people.
We weren't able to try it with a 4hp, but with the 8hp 2 stroke (It can take a 9.8hp max) we were able to do 30kph (18mph or 16.2 knots) with the 2 of us in it.
The ride is very smooth , very stable and a very dry ride (no water over the hull or bow) even at 30kph
The bladder is made of a material similar to that used on truck covers. It is very strong and doesn’t scratch easily. The bladder is moulded into the hull material to a depth of 25 mm (About 1 inch).
The hinges are made from Kevlar and they've done their robot open/close tests to ensure their suitability. They are expecting them to last at least 20 years.
An unusual fact is that the folded length of the Quickboats boat is slightly shorter than it’s open hull length due to the material and the shape of the hull. (Open: 3.7m, Folded: 3.64m)
Flotation is achieved by having a hull constructed from a high density foam  which is infused with resin and then skinned, as is modern technology in the aerospace industry. The transom is of a similar construction and has no flex.

At time of writing the 12' Quickboat costs $4,375 here in OZ. (Basic Boat, transom, seats, bow cover plus 1x Carry bag for the transom, seats, power transfer bracket and bow cover and 1x carry bag for the folded hull)