Well, I can honestly say that we would not have another dink. We absolutely love the Highfield. I have been wanting to write a follow-up to the thread that I started, but we have been really busy and all over the map, literally. So, your question came in good time to prompt me to beat the keyboard a bit. Here's our thoughts and experiences....
We initially bought the boat through Inflatable
Boat Pro out of Ft. Lauderdale at the Miami Boat Show
earlier this year. The staff at IBP were nothing but fantastic and very accommodating with pricing and delivery. I would recommend using them if you can.
We first launched the dink in Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove, Miami
. From the moment we took off from the dock
, we knew we were going to like this boat. Our 8hp Mercury
4-stroke pushed it just fine and put us on plane very fast. There were 2 adults and one very large 96lb German Shepherd manning the bow. We headed into a 1' chop and stayed dry despite the spray and headwind.
The boat was light on the davits
and always rides comfortable when underway. The bow locker keeps things very dry and is lockable if needed. One of the best things that we like is the double bottom. When snorkeling in the Bahamas
and getting back in the boat, the water
we brought in the boat from us and the gear
flows under the top deck
and keeps our gear
and feet dry...a VERY nice feature, especially with loading groceries too....nothing gets wet!
The boat always gets up on plane quickly. Spray is diverted off to the sides the way the hull is shaped. There are plenty of solid hand-holds. The seats are comfortable with the combined, seat cover/storage bag that comes with the boat, another Very nice feature. The bag holds our pfd's and other CG mandatory equipment
and the outside pockets are great for lights, snacks or anything that one might need on a quick or regular basis.
There is also a velcro strap on the inside starboard tube that we use to hold our coiled up painter, keeping it securely wrapped up and out of the way, ready for instant deployment.
When loading the boat on deck
for long offshore
passages, it is light enough to do solo, but with the two of us, it is so easy to load forward on deck and tie down.
I honestly can't say anything bad about the boat. The only one thing is so minor, but worth mentioning and an easy fix. Our Merc engine will vibrate causing the bow locker door to vibrate, but only at one certain speed range when accelerating....not really the boat, but more the motor
. With a foot against the door or the tip of a small rag hanging out the door, stops the minor annoyance. I do plan to put a thicker neoprene "gasket" on the inside of the door that will eliminate this issue.
We have been entertaining the idea of moving from our mono-hull to a catamaran
. We have decided not to sell the Highfield with the boat unless it will break the deal. If we do sell it with "the mother-ship", we will replace it with another one. If the new cat comes with any other brand, we will work the deal without the dink if we can. But either way, we will not use any other dink. We like this Highfield better than any other brand or style that we have seen on the market.
I would recommend this boat to anyone who is in the market for a new one. Test drive as many as you can. I believe that you will appreciate the large tubes, double floor, substantial oars and oarlocks, many hand holds, good tie downs, solid transom, durable lightweight material, comfortable, dry, handling in any sea, and a great bow locker which is large enough to put many items in.
One more thing is that the air in the tubes is the same air that IBP put in the boat. I have never had to add any more air or adjust anything. The valves just don't leak. And the plug
in the transom is tight and easy to use. The boat will drain quickly with the plug
out and on plane. I never measured the amount of fluid, but there could be upwards of 10 to 15 gallons of water in the boat and you still won't get your feet wet with the double bottom hull.
We have had many of our cruising friends in our Highfield and all of them have been impressed. Many remarked about the construction, dry ride, and comfortable seating with lots of space for gear. Several have told us, "We just bought our dink and we wish we bought one of these. We like it better than our and is much lighter, too" Just about all of these folks have fiberglass
Having an aluminum hull is such an advantage over glass boats. The lighter weight and durability is far superior.
I hope this helps you. Please feel free to contact me with any other questions. Here is a link to where we bought our Highfield.... Inflatable Boat Pro - Fort Lauderale, Florida
Best of luck,