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Multihull World North America
Portland Pudgy Dinghy
You need a dinghy; why not one that can save your life?
You’re free to have fun on the water when you, your family, and your crew are safe.
Portland Pudgy, Inc has re-imagined the dinghy in the context of safety at sea, and come up with something really new. A rugged, unsinkable dinghy you can row, motor, sail, and even use as a lifeboat. The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy makes boating even more fun, by making it safer.
Fun sailing dinghy!
What is the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy?
The Portland Pudgy is a multifunction boat that was designed as a yacht tender and unsinkable, dynamic lifeboat for blue water sailors that can be sailed to safety. The resulting stability, buoyancy, ruggedness, roominess, and “unsinkability” designed into the Portland Pudgy make it unparalleled as an everyday tender, a safe and sea-friendly sailing dinghy, and a great all-around rowboat/motorboat.
The Pudgy is a self-contained unit: all accessories, including the oars, sail kit, and exposure canopy, stow within the storage space in double hull of the boat with room to spare.
Everyday Yacht Tender, Rowboat, Motorboat, Rugged Workboat:
The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is the safest, most rugged yacht tender on the market to row, motor, tow and carry. It tracks perfectly and moves along nicely with a small motor. The Pudgy is extremely buoyant and has huge carrying capacity, both in the roomy cockpit and inside the storage compartments in the double hull. The Portland Pudgy (7′ 8″, 128 lb., USCG-approved as a rowboat and motorboat for 4 people) is designed and manufactured (in the USA) to be an exceptionally rugged, stable, unsinkable boat. Its pram shape allows it to fit on the deck of many cruising sailboats. This small boat is so stable you can stand up and walk around in it. The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy has all the benefits of inflatable boats and RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), without the risk of deflation. There is no need for an unsightly, expensive, and deflation-prone RID kit (“dinghy dogs”) with the Pudgy: it’s an unsinkable boat, with built-in buoyancy..
Recreational Small Boat for Sailing, Fishing, Hunting, Diving:
Unlike inflatable boats, the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is a joy to row. It can be rigged out as a fun sailing dinghy. It’s a safe and fun recreational sailing dinghy for the whole family. It’s stable and difficult to capsize, but if you manage to, it’s very easy to right, and comes up dry. No need to wait for rescue (as with some recreational sailing dinghies, like the Opti). The entire sail kit stows neatly out of the way in the interior of the double hull (rudder and leeboards under seats).
Because the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is so stable, rugged, and tracks so well when rowed or motored, it’s also a great fishing boat or duck hunting boat, and a great platform for nature photography and diving..
The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is a self-rescue boat, even without the optional inflatable exposure canopy and other survival gear. With the exposure canopy, sea anchor, and sail kit, the Portland Pudgy is an unsinkable, dynamic lifeboat. Unlike inflatable life rafts, the Pudgy cannot deflate, and you can sail, row, or motor this rugged self-rescue boat to shipping lanes or land.
All of the accessories, oars, sail kit (including telescoping mast and boom), inflatable exposure canopy, sea anchor, ditch bag, provisions, and more, can be stowed within the boat via the five watertight hatches. This is very convenient in your everyday dinghy or sailing dink. It’s an extremely important safety feature of the Portland Pudgy lifeboat. All of your equipment is there in an emergency.
Better performance characteristics in one package than any dinghy I’ve seen…The best dinghy ever made!” Mike M., Harborside, ME.
The unique and innovative Portland Pudgy safety dinghy gets you where you want to go, whether you’re blue water cruising, sailing offshore, or exploring a lake. Designed as a tender for blue water sailors, it is also a dynamic lifeboat you can sail to safety. The resulting versatility, ruggedness, buoyancy, stability, roominess, and high quality workmanship put the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy in a class by itself.
The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is ideal to row, motor, and tow. It tracks perfectly and moves along nicely with a small motor.
The Pudgy is extremely buoyant and has huge carrying capacity, both in the roomy cockpit and inside the storage compartments in the double hull. The oars pull apart and stow through the transom hatch. There’s 12 cubic feet of interior storage within the walls of the hull. The Portland Pudgy (7′ 8″, 128 lb., USCG-approved for 4 people) is designed and manufactured to be an exceptionally rugged, stable, unsinkable boat.
“We put the Torqeedo motor on it yesterday and tooled around in a 5 knot current and 20knot winds…We were able to cruise at 5mph with two adults wide open, 4 mph at half throttle. Amazingly, cruising through white caps, we remained dry.” Jeff G., Nottingham, NH.
Stable yacht tender!
Safety Boat/ Recreational Boat: This small boat is so stable you can walk around in it. The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy has all the benefits of inflatable boats and RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), without the risk of deflation. There is no need for an unsightly, expensive, and deflation-prone RID kit with the Pudgy: it’s unsinkable, with built-in buoyancy.
The Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is a self-rescue boat, even without the optional inflatable exposure canopy, sea anchor and other survival gear. With its sail kit, the Pudgy is a fun sailing dinghy!
Unlike inflatable boats, the Portland Pudgy safety dinghy is a joy to row. Because the Portland Pudgy is so stable, rugged, and tracks so well when rowed or motored, it’s also a great boat for fishing and hunting.
“The Pudgy rows beautifully, with little effort…the Pudgy goes where she’s pointed. Period. Like she’s on rails. No arguments or drama…” Mitch Z., MD.
Self-Contained Unit: All of the accessories, oars, sail kit (including telescoping mast and boom), safety equipment, fishing gear, lunch, beverages, camera and tripod, and more, can be stowed inside the double hull, via the five watertight hatches.
“So far, the Pudgy [sailing dinghy] seems exceptionally stable, even in strong winds. It’s drier than such a tiny boat has any right to be…” The Great Rig Experiment, Small Craft Advisor, Larry Brown, Jan/Feb 2014
General Information about the Portland Pudgy Sailing Dinghy
The sail kit makes your Portland Pudgy a fun, safe sailing dinghy. It also makes it a dynamic self-rescue boat.
The Portland Pudgy was designed as a dynamic lifeboat for blue water sailors, that can be sailed to safety. The resulting stability and buoyancy designed into the Portland Pudgy also make it safe and sea-friendly as a recreational sailing dinghy. It’s a serious self-rescue boat and at the same time a great sailing dinghy for kids and beginning sailors.
The Pudgy takes surprisingly rugged sea and wind for a boat its size. The Pudgy is stable and difficult to capsize, but if it does, it’s very easy to right, and it comes up dry. No need to wait for rescue (as with some recreational sailing dinghies, such as the Opti)!
Gaff Rig or Square Head Rig
The Portland Pudgy now offers two sail kit configurations, gaff and square head. The sail area of the square head rig is 54.4 square feet. The sail area of the gaff rig is 51.2 square feet. If you already have the gaff rig with the telescoping boom and mast, all you need for the new square head rig is the sail and a straight mast extension instead of the gaff. All the other rigging is the same. The Portland Pudgy’s new square head rig points very well and is better in light air. This is because the top of the sail gets more wind and there is more roach (i.e. more material extending from the top of the mast to the aft of the boom).
The original gaff rig is even more stable than the square head. This is because the gaff will spill out the wind when broached. We’ve sailed it in 20-25 knot winds and even when broached, it didn’t capsize. “I have been impressed with the sailing ability of the boat, especially in heavy winds… I haven’t yet found the winds where capsize seems possible!” Bill K., Sausalito, CA
Leg-o-mutton rig. Either type of sail (gaff or square-head) can be configured as a leg-o-mutton rig. In this configuration, the boom is set higher on the mast, but the tack of the sail is held in place with a downhaul, so the sail area is undiminished. This is a safety feature (harder to get hit on the head with the boom).
The sail kit stows easily inside the Portland Pudgy’s hull.
Like all of the other optional equipment, the sail kit stows neatly inside the double walls of the hull. The mast telescopes down, the gaff or mast extension folds down next to it, and the sail is furled around it, to form a package that fits into the sail bag and stows through the sailing dinghy’s transom hatch. The rudder and standard leeboards stow under the stern seat. The longer performance leeboards stow under the middle seat. There’s plenty more room for the oars (which pull apart to stow) and other accessories, equipment, and provisions.
“It’s tough, functional, and practical, and if the choice came down to climbing into a traditional life raft or boarding the Pudgy, I know where I’d rather be.” Portland Pudgy, a Tender That Can Save Your Life, by Peter Nielsen, Editor in Chief. Sail Magazine, September 2010.
The Portland Pudgy self-rescue lifeboat is different from a passive inflatable life raft in three major ways.
First, it’s an unsinkable boat.
The Portland Pudgy lifeboat is made of the same rigid, rugged, intrinsically buoyant, UV-resistant material that heavy-duty ocean kayaks are made of. The space beneath the floor is filled with closed cell foam. The Pudgy (even without the inflated exposure canopy in place) has 1855 pounds of buoyancy. Unlike a standard life raft, the Pudgy doesn’t need to inflate and it can’t deflate or sink. Unlike an inflatable life raft, it cannot be punctured by a fish hook, shark fin, or by sparks from a fire or flare. The exposure canopy adds another 400 pounds of buoyancy to the safety dinghy.
Second, unlike an inflatable life raft, the Portland Pudgy lifeboat is proactive: In a North Sea test. The Pudgy sailed 20 miles to shore.
You can sail, row, or motor it. (This is why it’s called a “dynamic” lifeboat.) The Portland Pudgy dynamic lifeboat concept respects the abilities and responsibilities of the sailor to protect himself and his crew. The passive inflatable life raft seems to encourage people to passively trust that the life raft will inflate and stay inflated, and that help will come, when unfortunately, too often this has proved not to be the case.
The Portland Pudgy dynamic lifeboat is a new concept that is actually the proud descendant of a very old concept (after all, Captain Bligh and Shackleton used dynamic lifeboats in their epic journeys). It challenges many of the assumptions we have grown accustomed to about life rafts. Life rafts have saved many lives, but tragically, many life rafts have failed. Sailors should do some hard thinking about what their options are in protecting themselves, their loved ones, and their crew.
Third, the Portland Pudgy dynamic lifeboat is a self-contained unit:
It is ingeniously designed so that all of the survival equipment fits inside the boat and/or can be pre-set, so that it is ready in an emergency. All of the survival gear, including sailing rig, sea anchor, exposure canopy, oars, ditch bag, provisions, and fishing gear can stow inside the storage chamber of the double hull (with the exception of the rudder and leeboards, which stow under the stern seat). You can also pre-set the exposure canopy and sea anchor.
Note that large passenger ships use dynamic lifeboats, not inflatable life rafts