Saturday, 18 January 2014

Porta Bote - Liquid Sealant.

There have been a few comments of late on the Porta Bote forum in regards to leaking seams and one guy came up with a suggestion for fixing seam leaks in the Porta Bote.
His suggestion is as follows :  "Has anyone tried filling the center seam tube with a pourable sealant? this seems like this would be a permanent leak fix for a dryer bote. What do you think?".
The link to the post can be found HERE.

I thought that this idea had possibilities and responded with an additional thought.

If the tubes were filled with a sealant, then perhaps this would add a bit more stability to the Porta Bote as it does become "Squirrely" after about 24kph (15mph).

Someone else suggested that the manufacturer may be able to shed some light as to whether this would work but as yet, the only comment has been:

A number off years ago we increased the thickness if the tubing a certain amount. This did not reduce the important side flexation.The "Flexihull" is one of the reasons (plus the wide beam) that, as you know, helps give your Porta-Bote its stability in rough water. If you reduce the flexibility too much there could be unexpected results.

If you like the way your boat handles now, enjoy.

Fair Winds,


While this reply is interesting, it does not really answer the question directly.
The tubing was thickened to overcome some of the instability in the earlier Porta Botes and as Sandy noted, this did not interfere with the flexibility of the hull.

"Unexpected results" to me suggests that this  idea has not been tested by Porta Bote and "Unexpected results" does not necessarily have to be a negative thing. They could be positive results but until it is tested, we won't know.

I find it interesting too that Sandy's comment in regard to maintaining that flexible hull to keep its stability in rough water would suggest that even with the new Alpha series, the Porta Bote would have a built in limitation as to maximum speed. The "Squirelly" action above 24kph would probably still be there.
There have been no test results offered by Porta Bote in this regard other than statements as to the Alpha series being very fast and that the transom does not flex.
As is the norm with Porta Bote, test results and maximum speed, etc are a guarded secret which I find strange as one would think that they would be proud of any improvements and shout it from the tallest mountain.

Quick Boats, on the other hand have no problem with releasing their test results which I think are quite impressive.

I still wonder about the infamous flexing transom as the only reports that I have seen so far indicate that the transom still flexes.
As to it being "very fast", no speed test results have been issued by Porta Bote and if what Sandy says is correct, the hull cannot be stiffened sufficiently to overcome the "Squirrely" action of the Porta Bote at speed without affecting its stability in rough water.

I am not suggesting that you don't buy a Porta bote as it does have some positive aspects to it.
The hull is very strong and not prone to damage.
It is light and portable.
It can be launched from just about anywhere.
It is very stable in choppy water.

The Quick Boat also has some positive aspects.
It does not flex as much as the Porta Bote.
It has a very rigid transom.
It handles more like a normal boat.
Test results are available
The bladder is more readily repaired
It is fast.

It really boils down to personal preference.
It's a matter of "Horses for courses"

So as Sandy says: "If you like the way your boat handles now, enjoy."

Just my thoughts.
What do you think?


Another reader suggested caution when filling the tubes with liquid sealant as it would depend on how clean the surfaces were inside the tubing as to whether or not the sealant would work.

Just food for thought.

Sandy's recommendation for fixing a leak:

First make sure that the the rubber washer seal on the lower bolt is touching the side of the hull. If there is a stainless steel washer in front of it or the seal is dried out, that will cause a leak.

1- How To Test: With boat opened and bow raised on a rock or table, rear seat plus transom inserted. Wait for water to run out the bottom tubes if recently used in the water. After water stops coming out of the tubes, pour a gallon of water into rear of boat and tip the rear of hull downward again so water is exposed to the rear seams.

Watch to see if water comes out. If it really does leak, it will be the
end of the center (keel) or side seams at the bottom of the boat (tubing).

2- How To Fix:

Use a large screw driver to pry away about 5 inches of the tube. This exposes the stainless steel staples. Use a vise grip to clench each staple tight. Then, pour water into the rear of the boat again. If no water comes out, you have fixed the problem.
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