Archive for the 'dinghy' Category


Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Sunfish races. Rockport, Texas

Sunfish races. Rockport, Texas

Sunfish races at Rockport Beach every Tuesday at 6PM. These pictures look like they ought to be in a sunfish sales brochure.

Porta-bote Again

Saturday, June 16th, 2007

Well we’re tired of talking about our porta-bote seat and transom woes, but I promised Sandy (the president of porta-bote) that I would follow up when we received the new parts. After much confusion on everyone’s part and far too many emails, porta-bote lived up to its promise to replace our transom and seats under warranty (even though it had officially expired when we reported problems). Thanks porta-bote! We didn’t even have to pay for shipping. The new seats we received appear to be identical to the old ones. However, the transom has reinforcing at the bottom near the center. I’m not sure it’s enough, but I take this as a good sign that porta-bote is exploring ways to reduce the incidents of transom and seat failure.

Porta-bote transom reinforcement

[Closeup of reinforcing on the new transom]

This is a follow up to older stories:
1.3-Year Porta-Bote and Kayak Review
Follow-up Porta-bote Review and Aftermath
Porta-bote Redux Redux

Sunfish at Sunset

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

Sunfish races. Rockport, Texas

Rockport Beach Park, Rockport, Texas

The Rockport Sailing Club summer sunfish races started today. We didn’t sail but we went down to watch. By the time we arrived most of the action was over, but the light was nice and I got some good pictures.

Porta-bote Redux Redux

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

At the end of February, my mom sent me an email saying we got a large box containing some “black plastic planks” and so we assumed that they were the replacement seats Porta-Bote generously offered to replace at no charge. Two days later, we received this email from Sandy:

“As promised, we sent, free of charge, complete replacement seats and transom to the address you you emailed us.
I don’t know if you tried to contact us again and your message was viewed as spam. But, we have not received any communication from either of you acknowledging receipt of the free replacement parts.
If you get this message and reply, always make sure the word “Porta-Bote” is in the subject line. This way it won’t be trashed. Also, I suggest using the “Reply” key so you’ll know if we received your message or not. I did this with this message. “

Joshua pressed the “Reply” key for the above email (address “,” whose subject was already “From Sandy /Porta-Bote”) on March 4th (the day we arrived to Portobelo, Panama after being out of contact for the previous week) thusly:

“We didn’t get a follow up email about it from you all so we were surprised to hear that a strange large package arrived at our Arizona address. We knew immediately that it had to be the porta-bote parts. It was too late to make it with our current visitors but we have some more people coming down near the end of April. Hopefully, they will be able to bring them down. Thanks again. ”

So, fine. We requested information on warranty once upon a time. Sandy replied saying although our seats were out of warranty, we pissed him off enough that Porta-Bote would send replacement seats/transom anyway, just to make us feel bad happy. So we gave an address and a few weeks later they appear, unannounced (that is, until after they arrived), but appreciated. We sent a thank you email. AND we posted a follow-up to our blog explaining what Porta-bote offers as seat/transom warranty and what they were doing for us. Done. Everyone’s happy. Whatever!

Sandy’s reply the above, by the way, was this:

“Apparently some of our mail just doesn’t get through. Which is probably the reason your original negative blog was created in the first place. We shipped when we promised we would ship. and we answered your original mail promptly.
We always follow through as promised. It’s a shame your viewers are being misled when they open your blog.
Hope this can be straightened out so we are depicted fa little more fairly.”

(This makes me think that Sandy did actually receive a response to the other emails and that he must know that we are aware that replaced the seats and transom free of charge. But, perhaps I jump to conclusions…)

We also got this, addressed to “” and then re-sent when it didn’t make it, so the end product was three pages of forwarding garbage for a two-line email:

“Hi Folks, Haven’t heard from you in weeks and assume you’re still of this planet.
Have you received the free replacements we sent as promised?”

And a couple weeks later, this:

“Hello Folks, This is 23rd attempt to reach you via email.
I guess you don’t turn on the computer very often when you out and about.”

Which, um, weird. 23 attempts in fourteen days is some kind of crazy persistence. We didn’t respond to this one because, what the hell do you say that that anyway?

And today, this (posted as a comment on our original dinghy review post):

“1- Never received your original “two requestes”. You also never responded to our other emails ????
As you are aware, we replaced your seats and transom free of charge.
Have a feeling contacting you by ordinary email doesn’t work too well. Neither does your ability to contact us. This was the original reason you got upset. It wasn’t that we were not willing to respond. We never received these emails.
This is the reason I am trying to contact you in your own blob. This may actually get through OK.
Anyone else who wants to contact us:
Oh well. Such is life.”

So, I must say I was surprised to receive the comment to our “blob” saying they had never received any emails from us acknowledging the receipt of the replacement seats and that we are misleading our readers and etc. I’m sort of tired of dealing with this actually.

It is up to you, dear reader, to decide if I misled you. Or if I was unfair to Sandy or Porta-Bote.

Follow-up Porta-bote Review and Aftermath

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

We had held out posting our 1.3-year dinghy review until we heard back from Porta-bote on our inquiry regarding warranties (so we could include at least one piece of useful information for our “used porta-bote”-Googling friends). Since they didn’t respond, we just posted the review anyway and mentioned that Porta-bote was not being expedient about getting back to us (with a palpable note of irritation). We again emailed Porta-bote, this time to ask about outboards since we were looking to possibly buy a 9.8 Tohatsu and the company used to deal Tohatsu outboards, and we got a fantastically prompt response. So Joshua responded once more asking if they had received our previous email regarding the Porta-bote and if there was a warranty; again, no response. A couple days later, Joshua responded with an irritated ‘curious-you-respond-so-fast-to-a-potential-sales-lead -but-not-to-a-warranty-inquiry’ and gave the URL for the bote review blog post, in case they were interested. Within one hour, a lengthy rebuttal was posted to the blog by Sandy, the president of Porta-bote. Of course, I had to type out my lengthy response to his very defensive response, and well you know how it goes. And he still hadn’t answered our question as to whether there was a warranty.

But at last Sandy has responded to my response to his initial response and has confirmed that yes, there is a one-year warranty on the plastic seats and transom. He also added: “if you treated an aluminum or fiberglass or inflatable dinghy the way you described treating your poor porta-bote so vividly in your blog, you wouldn’t have a dinghy left to say nasty things about. 59,989 owners can’t be wrong! Yeah for Porta-Bote!” Which, for one: I have to say I’m surprised to hear he read so extensively in my blog because I only described one incident where the bote took a wave that trashed the transom. Another: what makes him think we treated our bote poorly? By exposing it to the harsh sun? By using the rowing set-up? By actually taking it in the ocean? That an inflatable or hard dinghy of another material would have survived the abuse we supposedly lash upon our poor bote is false, as any owner of such a dinghy could verify. And did I really say anything nasty? I feel I wrote a fair and constructive review.

But back to the warranty; our bote is 1.3 years old (although the seats broke at around 9ish months and the transom at 11 months), yet Sandy has generously offered to replace our seats and transom at no cost. We sent a reply asking to have the seats and transom shipped to my mom’s house so we could pick them up next time we visited but never got a response. Two weeks later and about when we had given up of every hearing from Porta-bote again, Mom sends me an email saying that a tall box full of some weird black plastic things just arrived!

So there you have it: all you broken transom/seat bote owners (provided you are in the US) can get replacements if it’s been less than a year. If it’s been more than that, well, I guess you have to assert yourself as a major pain in the ass to get any response.

Links to our other posts on the subject of Porta-Bote.

1.3-Year Porta-Bote and Kayak Review
Porta-bote Redux Redux
Porta-bote Again

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell