Southwinds Magazine (three articles by Portland Pudgy owner, Paula Shur)

February 2018Portland Pudgy, an Owners Review. “”Owning a Pudgy can be likened to owning an adorable puppy. Meeting new people is easy.”

January 2018:  Exploring Shroud Cay, Exumas, Bahamas. “Thanks to our reliable Portland Pudgy,” they were able to reach out-of-the-way beaches on Shroud Cay, Exumas, Bahamas, including “the prettiest beach I have ever seen.” A fun and informative article.

January 2017Bahamas Bound. She describes getting ready to cross the Gulf Stream, with the Pudgy as the potential lifeboat.

All Around Great Dinghy

Good Old Boat, Seeking the Perfect Dinghy

Seeking the Perfect Dinghy: Here’s One that Comes Pretty Close to Ideal, Good Old Boat, May/June 2007, Bill Kinney (one of the first Portland Pudgy owners).

The title and subtitle sum it up, but here’s an excerpt.

“The wish list:

  • We wanted a dinghy that would fit on the foredeck with enough room left over to work the windlass and sails.
  • For convenience, safety and security, it should fit on deck in a ‘ready to go’ state
  • Our new yacht tender had to be able to carry the two of us, our dog, and a reasonable load of supplies.
  • In the water, it had to be stable enough to use as a fishing or diving platform.
  • We enjoy rowing for exercise and sightseeing, so a good rowing hull was high on our list.
  • A sail rig would be a nice plus.
  • Durability was important. We did not want to be stranded somewhere by a dinghy with a hole in the side.
  • Light enough to get on deck easily.
  • Did I mention we wanted this magic package at a low price?”

Small Craft Advisor, Boat Review: the Portland Pudgy

“Here were my requirements: a boat I could take out in almost all sailing conditions–self-bailing when left on a mooring-capable of self-rescuing if capsized–easy to row and ship oars handily when not in use — and capable of being manhandled effortlessly when on land.”  Boat review: the Portland Pudgy, Small Craft Advisor, Larry Brown, Jan/Feb 2013

Motorboat and Yachting

“If there was an award for the most ingeniously designed and well thought out vessel at the show, the fittingly named Portland Pudgy would get my vote… [G]iven the choice, I’d opt for the Portland Pudgy over a proper liferaft every time.” Motorboat and Yachting, (UK), December 2015.

Motorboat and Yachting, (UK), December 2015. Click here for full article. 

Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors, Boats of the Year Edition

“The Pudgy seems to perform each of its various jobs well..[rowboat, motorboat, sailing dinghy, and self-rescue lifeboat]…The Pudgy’s seaworthiness will make it a great boat for beginning sailors…This is a real boat, designed to do a real job…Given a choice on an offshore passage between the Pudgy and an inflatable life raft or the average dinghy, there’s no doubt which I’d choose.” Gretchen Piston Ogden, March 2007, Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors. Boats of the Year edition. 

Maine Boats, Homes and Harbors. Boats of the Year edition.

  “…a unique little tender…that can row, motor, and sail well, and its full-length keel enables efficient tracking when towed…The boat’s designer, David Hulbert…wanted a dinghy that also could be used as a proactive lifeboat…’When I designed the boat, I had bluewater sailors in mind,’ Hulbert says, ‘But I’m seeing a lot of interest in the boat as a tender or just a safe little sailboat to sail on the lake.’” Dinghies: Little Boats, Big Jobs!Soundings, David W. Shaw, January 2008

“The Pudgy has very little compromise in sailing, rowing, motoring and survival. Each function works very well. It’s not going to row as fast as a shell, but as far as a dinghy it’s great…’I had to look in the mirror…and say, ‘Would I choose this for my family if I was out in the middle of the Atlantic?’ And the answer had to be, ‘Yes,’  Hulbert says. “I’ve made it to that level.” A Nautical Swiss Army Knife that FloatsSoundings, June 2006

“This American-designed ‘ultimate yacht tender’ recently made landfall in Europe… She rows, sails, motors and can be converted into a ‘lifeboat’. The Pudgy rowed beautifully, tracked well, and the rowing position was comfortable, with a good foot brace…She’s pretty indestructible. “Tender Moments,” Yachting Monthly. Dec 2008

“This American-designed ‘ultimate yacht tender’ recently made landfall in Europe. Our test boat arrived from Holland, loaded to the gunwales with accessories. She rows, sails, motors and can be converted into a ‘lifeboat’. The Pudgy rowed beautifully, tracked well, and the rowing position was comfortable, with a good foot brace.”

The Pudgy got a great review in this important British yachting magazine. The article suggests more sail area: this and other improvements have been made to the sail kit since this article came out in 2008. Click here for the full article.

“The multi-purpose vehicle craze continues, this time with a bent toward saving lives. The new Portland Pudgy does triple duty as a rowing dinghy, a sailboat, and a life raft…the Pudgy is exceptionally buoyant…
Must have options for the safety-minded include the inflatable exposure canopy and the sea anchor and rode, stored in a watertight compartment. The sailing rig, which comes with a telescoping mast and reefable sail, can also be stowed neatly away…”

Showboats International April 2007. “Portland Pudgy: Three Boats in One.”

Dynamic Lifeboat

Sail Magazine, Portland Pudgy, a Tender That Can Save Your Life

“The Portland Pudgy, a dinghy that can not only be rowed, motored, and sailed, but also used as a lifeboat… 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. For a cruising couple or a couple with small children, the Pudgy makes a lot of sense.” Portland Pudgy, a Tender That Can Save Your Life, by Peter Nielsen, Editor in Chief. (He tested it himself.) Sail Magazine, September 2010.

Ein Multifunctionelle Levensredder

Sailing 20 miles to land.

Zeilen, a Dutch magazine (“zeilen” = “sailing”) set a two-man crew adrift 20 miles out in the North Sea, to test the Portland Pudgy dynamic lifeboat. They successfully sailed the dinghy 20 miles back to land, in rough seas. (And this was before we made some substantial improvements to the sail kit!) The featured cover story was seven pages long and gave the Pudgy a very favorable review. While praising the Pudgy’s capabilities as a dynamic lifeboat, they also noted that its safety features make it “a great boat for kids to enjoy themselves or learn to sail.” Ein Multifunctionelle LevensredderZeilen, September 2008.

Over The Top: The First Lone Yachtsman To Sail Vertically Around The World, by Adrian Flanagan  

As the title of his new book says, Adrian Flanagan is the first person to do a solo “over the top” (i.e. North/South) circumnavigation. He took a Portland Pudgy with him (you can see a glimpse of it on the foredeck on the book’s cover at left).

Over the Top: The First Lone Yachtsmen… is available on You can also visit the Alpha Global expedition website and check out Adrian’s videos on YouTube.

“David Hulbert had a vision six years ago. It was a vision to create a lifeboat that couldn’t be deflated or sink, and would be completely proactive, meaning it could be rowed or sailed to safety. Basing his idea on these principles Hulbert went into design mode. “The primary function is safety, safety, safety,” said Hulbert, President of Portland Pudgy, at the company’s headquarters on Anderson Street in Portland… It hasn’t been easy to create this unique and completely American-made product.” Portland Company Builds Locally Sourced LifeboatsWorking Waterfront, October 2010.

“BoatingLocal recently met with David Hulbert, designer of the Portland Pudgy, and got a personal tour of his clever and potentially lifesaving little boat….the thing that sets the Pudgy apart from other dinghies is that it can serve as a fully functional lifeboat when equipped with the optional exposure canopy.”

Portland Pudgy is a Dinghy, Lifeboat, Sailboat, Boating Local/New England Boating, Tom Richardson, July 22nd, 2010 – updated on September 9th, 2010

Yachting Magazine, Q&A: David Hulbert Makes the Case for a Proactive Lifeboat

“The Portland Pudgy is a tender, sailing dinghy, and lifeboat combined. Notice the choice of words: lifeboat not life raft.  The Portland Pudgy is not a passive survival platform, but a vessel that makes self rescue possible.” David Hulbert Makes the Case for a Proactive Lifeboat, by Peter Swanson, Yachting Magazine, May 2012

Flying Portland Pudgy Attempts Atlantic Crossing

“A Portland Pudgy lifeboat was a key piece of gear in the recent, failed Atlantic crossing by balloonist Jonathan R. Trappe. Trappe, 39, an IT manager from Raleigh, North Carolina, who become the first to traverse the Alps and the English Channel by cluster balloon in previous trips, selected the rugged, plastic Portland Pudgy dinghy to serve as the gondola attached to his cluster of 370 helium-filled balloons. Produced and assembled almost entirely in Portland, Maine; the Portland Pudgy is a combination yacht tender and liferaft designed to allow cruisers to ‘self rescue’ themselves in the event of an offshore emergency. Trappe could have used it the same way after an emergency landing in the ocean.” Flying Portland Pudgy Attempts Atlantic Crossing, Mark Fusco, Passagemaker, October, 2013

A Dinghy/Life Raft Hybrid

“Because of its lifesaving capability, we think that any cruising-boat owner ought to give this tender a long look.” A Dinghy/Life Raft HybridPower Cruising, Nov./Dec 2006

Sailing Dinghy

The Great Rig Experiment

“So far, the Pudgy [sailboat] 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

Portland Pudgy in May/June Ocean Navigator!