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Old 05-03-2013, 09:15 PM   #1
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Portland Pudgy?

Does anyone here have a Portland Pudgy? I would be grateful to hear of anyone's experiences with one.

I'm searching for a dinghy, definitely want a hard one. The Pudgy looks very utilitarian, but seems a little "small".

I really like the looks of the Gig Harbor 10 ft dinghy, it looks like a lot of fun to row or sail, but I worry it might not be stable enough for "dinghy" use.

Thank you!
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Old 05-03-2013, 10:37 PM   #2
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The Pudgy came in second place behind the Trinka. If I boated regularly in the open ocean, I might have gone for the Pudgy for its alleged lifeboat attributes. The Pudgy seemed like a significant compromise, however, for a rowing dinghy.
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:01 PM   #3
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We used the traditional rowing/sailing dinghy that came with our GB as our primary shoreboat for the first six months we had our the boat. Big mistake. It's a great dinghy, a Montgomery, which while long out of production is on a par in terms of design, construction, and quality with things like the Trinka.

But this type of boat is simply too tender to use as one. Very tippy, tricky to get in and out of from the swimstep, low load carrying ability, rather cramped for a couple of adults let alone a couple of adults with a medium size dog. In any kind of choppy water it was a impossible to get in and out of with any sort of stability or confidence.

So we got a Livingston and mounted it on the swimstep. Rock solid stability, tons of room inside even in the 9' model, rows okay if you're into that, takes a motor just great, easy to get in and out of even if it and the big boat are heaving up and down in rough water in the anchorage, easy to beach, etc. etc. etc.

We kept the Montgomery. It's a beautiful little thing and sits in a cradle on the aft cabin top and is loads of fun to sail or row. But as a utility shoreboat we would never recommend a dinghy of this type after our experience depending on one.

We are not fans of fabric boats for a bunch of reasons so would never consider getting one. But there are much better choices in the hardshell dinghy genre than a rowing/sailing dinghy if one wants a rugged, stable, load-carrying shore/utility boat.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:00 AM   #4
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We have a Pudgy, purchased in 2010.

The Pudgy, from a rowing perspective, is a great dinghy for a single person, ok for two, and a bit of a challenge for three. Sailing it is pretty much a single handed proposition, but a lot of fun!!! Very stable for access from the stern platform. We do not have an outboard so can't comment on that aspect.

At 7'8" it is a bit on the small side. If they ever make a 10' version, I think they would have a real winner.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:07 AM   #5
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Marin and Conrad, thank you very much! Those are exactly the kind of perspectives I was hoping for.

I'm also not a fan of inflatables, and have been perusing the hard shell offerings. I've been drawn to the Gig Harbor 10 ft Navigator, which looks like it would be a lot of fun to row or sail (for simplicity's sake, I want to dispense with an outboard). But, have been concerned about it being too tender for real "dinghy" use, launching in choppy water, etc. (the first time my wife would end up going in the drink spilling out of a dinghy might be her last time on the boat...). The Pudgy looked like a possible good compromise between inflatable stability and hard shell durability, but a little tight.

I wrote to the company's founder/President/owner, asking if they would consider making a larger version. He acknowledged getting frequent requests for this, but that the cost of tooling for another version is prohibitive in current market conditions (the old saw, 'you've got to invest money to make money').

The Rigid Boats are another interesting possibility - a hard shell that looks and performs like an inflatable (but they don't look like they would row well at all). If we had a bigger boat I would be tempted to get one of them, with an outboard and center console steering (a mini 10 ft 'runabout'), but I think it would be too unwieldy and heavy for us on our size boat.
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Old 05-04-2013, 11:42 AM   #6
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Nick,

Here is what a Livingston 10 ft hard shell catamaran style dinghy with davits and a Sea Wise hinged motor lift would look like on your boat. It can be lowered and in use in less than 5 minutes complete. Plus, you still have access to boarding on the starboard side of the swim platform.

The boat planes out at 15 mph with the Nissan 9.8 hp and two aboard, and easily carries two of us plus bikes or a weeks groceries. Having four on board is roomy and stable. When docked or moored, you can lower the dinghy to 45 deg to give unrestricted viewing from the cockpit. Livingston makes a 9 ft version as well.
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:10 PM   #7
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I like the Portland Pudgy as well but it is too small for my use. The livingston looks like a good choice, big enough to carry good loads, stable, and uses reasonable HP outboards with good performance. You can keep those Seawise Davit setups. I couldn't imagine a more un-seamanlike set up on a cruising boat. I would opt for a set of davits that bring skiff up to deck level or a mast/boom that brings skiff inboard. Even in the ICW they have "excitement" written all over them. Just my humble opinion!
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Old 05-04-2013, 12:39 PM   #8
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Sailor of Fortune,

My experience after meeting countless boaters on the Great Loop, is that if you can't easily launch your dinghy you will almost never use it. Carrying a dinghy on the upper level with a crane seems to be the worst in this regard, as it requires two people with strength and agility, is near impossible to launch in winds and waves, and may not be possible due to obstructions when docked. Carrying a dinghy on the stern without the motor attached means finding a place to store the motor and having to lift it on and off. People with this setup opt for smaller lighter engines which will not plane the dinghy. Finally, hanging the dinghy horizontally means it gathers dirt and debris unless one takes the time and trouble to cover the boat with canvas. By the way, we met a couple who discovered Asian carp flopping in their horizontally mounted dinghy after a day cruising down the Illinois River. Surprise!

The davits also serve to hold the boat captured to the stern platform when it is lowered into the water. That combined with the Livingston cat style hull, makes boarding and loading safe and easy, and provides secure docking between uses especially when anchoring out for several days at a time.

I'm not saying the Seawise is perfect, but it does have distinct advantages.
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Old 05-04-2013, 01:26 PM   #9
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I couldn't agree more with Great Laker Larry on this. Our new to us NT came with a dinghy mounted on the upper deck, and after one experience of deploying and stowing the dinghy, which almost included a failed marriage, we realized just how correct it was to have the dinghy stowed on the stern platform, as per the arrangement on our previous boat.

To flesh out my previous comment on the Pudgy, here is a note I sent to Healhustler yesterday. (I would have posted it here yesterday if I'd realized the interest in the Livingston as well.) Also, an earlier PM from Great Laker Larry was very helpful in making the Seawise decision.

The relative weights:

Livingston 9': 105 lbs. Capacity 550 lbs.

Pudgy 7'8": 130 - 150 lbs*. Capacity 557 lbs.

Livingston 10': 210 lbs. Capacity 700 lbs.

* We have the sail kit which ups the weight.

Hard to say re ease of stowing, as we towed the 9' Livingston behind our Albin 25 back in the day.
Our Pudgy was stowed on its side on the stern platform and one adult male was able to pull it up into its stowed position.
The new Livingston 10' has not arrived yet, but when it does we will be stowing it via a Seawise davit system on the stern platform. Talking to dock neighbours who have the Seawise or Weaver davit systems, the Seawise wins hands down if you also have an outboard to manage.

The 9' Livingston was a great dinghy for two adults and three small children, although the low freeboard was a concern in rough seas. It rowed extremely well, due, I guess, to the catamaran hull. And it was very stable for loading from the stern platform. No outboard.

The Pudgy, from a rowing perspective, is a great dinghy for a single person, ok for two, and a bit of a challenge for three. Sailing it is pretty much a single handed proposition, but a lot of fun!!! Very stable for access from the stern platform. We did not have an outboard so can't comment on that aspect.

The 10' Livingston has yet to arrive so can't give you any experienced comments, but can tell you why we went that route.

Our requirements are for a dinghy that will row well and comfortably carry four adults, primarily to shore but also for the occasional run to the distance store for supplies and more far flung exploration outside the immediate surroundings. (Our vessels are a partnership between my brother & I and our respective families, and we usually cruise with two couples aboard.)

The 9' Livingston doesn't have the capacity to carry four adults and even with say two aboard it can be wet due to the low freeboard.

The Pudgy again does not have the capacity for four adults period, although it is a dry boat.

The 10' Livingston is a completely different animal from the 9' Livingston, as attested to by its having twice the weight. The big difference is that the freeboard is 20" vs 10" - a huge improvement.

Plus, for the first time we will be incorporating an outboard into our dinghy use. Kind of looking forward to that, but a bit nervous.

The Achilles dinghy has no oars or even oarlocks, and would be ripped to ribbons on the rocks, barnacles, and even oyster beds that we are constantly dealing with.

The Achilles sits in chocks on the upper deck and is a real challenge to deploy or stow. The crane system could be tweaked, but it is fundamentally a poor approach, hence the move to the Seawise system on the stern platform.

Price wise, the Livingston 10' is $1779 in Everett WA, where are having it shipped from. Oars are extra. It's manufactured in NC so you could probably get a better deal.

The Pudgy is around $2600 (with oars) in Portland Maine.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:04 PM   #10
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One thing to be aware of with the Livingston is that the 9' model has too little freeboard in my opinion if you've got a heavy load in it. Too little in the sense that in choppy water you could get water splashing in. This is with a maximum load. With a "normal" load the freeboard is fine. I've not had any experience with the 10' model.

Another thing that is VERY important if you get a Livingston to mount vertically on a swim step with Weaver mounts, Seawise, etc, is to get the reinforced side option. If you don't the sides, particularly the lower one will bend and distort over time, a distortion that will become permanent and eventually jeopardize the integrity of the boat. So I was told by the original manufacturer here in Wasibgton when we first inquired about them.

We use the boom fall to deploy and retrieve our Livingston in its Weaver davits. The motor is on a swivel mount, so the whole setup is sort of a poor man's Seawise davit. With multi-sheave blocks in the fall deploying or recovering the dinghy is a two minute, one-hand operation. The only cost was a 100' boom fall line. Way less expensive than a Seawise, although the Seawise is an outstanding system.
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:07 PM   #11
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One thing about the Livingston 10, Conrad. How do you feel about having 200 lbs. resting on the edge of your swim platform....leverage...vibration...wake movement, etc..?
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Old 05-04-2013, 05:18 PM   #12
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One thing about the Livingston 10, Conrad. How do you feel about having 200 lbs. resting on the edge of your swim platform....leverage...vibration...wake movement, etc..?
Very good question and one that any boater contemplating any swimstep-mount dinghy should seriously consider. It's why we went with a 4hp 4-cycle engine instead of a larger one; we wanted to keep the load on our now-forty year old swimstep as low as possible. And we use a brace line to take all the "bounce" out of the swimstep.

One thing that will help with this is to make the blocks or plates the Weaver davits mount on the whole depth of the swimstep. This distributes the load over as wide an area as possible. This is particularly important with teak-strip swim steps.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:45 PM   #13
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Another thing that is VERY important if you get a Livingston to mount vertically on a swim step with Weaver mounts, Seawise, etc, is to get the reinforced side option. If you don't the sides, particularly the lower one will bend and distort over time, a distortion that will become permanent and eventually jeopardize the integrity of the boat. So I was told by the original manufacturer here in Wasibgton when we first inquired about them.

.
When we purchased our 9' Livingston 30 years ago, we were asked if it would be mounted on its side, and if so they would add the reinforcement on the lower hull side.

With the new 10', their site and sales rep both reassured me that they now reinforce the hull sides as a matter of course. That was for the 10' version; not sure if it applies across the model line-up.
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Old 05-04-2013, 10:48 PM   #14
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One thing about the Livingston 10, Conrad. How do you feel about having 200 lbs. resting on the edge of your swim platform....leverage...vibration...wake movement, etc..?
Good question. Once the dinghy & davit system arrive we will be working with the yard to ensure that there is appropriate bracing on the platform. Because the NT is built so stoutly I expect that added bracing will be minimal.
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Old 05-05-2013, 02:06 PM   #15
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Most of us will be using power on our dinks but for those that row finding a full disp proper row boat dinghy is of great importance. There are probably many that will say a Livingston rows fine but the fact is that it's most certainly a dog w oars. A good rowing boat will be a FD craft and her transom will be out of the water w a working load aboard. Those that only row 15% of the time will do well rowing their Livingston but others will need a good row boat.

Hard to find though as we live in a power centered culture.
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Old 05-05-2013, 03:20 PM   #16
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Eric is right with regards to rowing a Livingston. We rowed ours for almost a year IIRC before realizing we needed a motor to cope with the strong currents here. The Livingston rows okay, but just okay. Our proper rowing/sailing dinghy is vastly superior when it comes to rowing. We've never tried the sailing dinghy with a motor so don't know how it would do in that respect.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:03 PM   #17
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While it is true that the Livingston will not win rowing races, it is still far superior to rowing the vast majority of inflatables, RIB or otherwise. Where it excels over the better performing rowing machines is in it's overall utility. Carrying capacity and stability are key to day to day forays from the mother ship to shore and exploring the inlets where peering over the side to watch the little critters skittering along the bottom are important.

Even if we were not adding an outboard to the mix I would still go with a Livingston over a high performing rowing tender.

If one were to carry a second dinghy as Marin does, then perhaps a nice rowing dinghy would be a nice addition, although I think kayaks would probably win out.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:37 PM   #18
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If you want more stability and carrying capacity on your Livingston (and most seem to want that) fill the center between the two hulls and glass it in. It will even row better. A 9' L will probably have as much capacity as a regular 10' L.
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Old 05-05-2013, 04:56 PM   #19
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If you want more stability and carrying capacity on your Livingston (and most seem to want that) fill the center between the two hulls and glass it in. It will even row better. A 9' L will probably have as much capacity as a regular 10' L.
That's a counterproductive idea because it will add a ton of weight to the boat for no appreciable gain. If one needs more carrying capacity than a Livingston there are other alternatives Boston Whaler being one of them.
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Old 05-05-2013, 06:31 PM   #20
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If you want more stability and carrying capacity on your Livingston (and most seem to want that) fill the center between the two hulls and glass it in. It will even row better. A 9' L will probably have as much capacity as a regular 10' L.
Don't think so....I wouldn't do it.
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