I spent an interesting fifteen minutes over at the Portland Pudgy stand. The Portland Pudgy is a another variation on the dinghy tender; this one in rotomolded plastic, with an emphasis on dual use as a life-boat if disaster struck. After looking the Portland Pudgy over, one comes away with the impression of a different take on the cruising dinghy; well designed, not too expensive, commodious despite the short length, and buoyant enough to work out as a life boat if needed.
All of my time spent at the stand was in talking with Pam, the wife of the designer, David Hulbert. We mostly discussed the travails of running a Mom and Pop boat production business, particularly how little things can gum production up. The sub-contractor that made the specialty designed inspection ports for the Portland Pudgy went bankrupt, unbeknownst to the Pudgy production team. When they went over to subcontractor's shop, they found it shuttered up with the specialty tooling for the inspection ports locked inside. Once they got it all sorted with a new subcontractor there was a three month hiatus on getting Pudgy's out the door. I detected an undertone in her story of maybe this was too much, too all consuming, particularly for a couple in their senior years. But the Portland Pudgy does offer something unique in the boating world and there appears to be a steady market going forward.
The FAQ page on the Portland Pudgy as a straight up dinghy.
The FAQ page on the Portland Pudgy sailing rig.