Posted by Marc Williams // Sep 26, 2018
An escape pod to adventure. The Highfield inflatable.
This August, my family and I took three weeks to sail the Pacific Northwest. A highlight of the trip was the new dinghy we bought the week prior to departure. It gave us an expanded range, and a whole new world to explore. It also proved to be a milestone for my nine-year-old son to learn to drive — by the end of the trip he took it out by himself.
Our previous dinghy, a Walker Bay inflatable, unfortunately fell prey to a few holes. After a number of failed patch attempts (the inflatable floor had some rips along the seams and wouldn’t hold no matter what), we decided to go in on a new boat instead of buying a new $900 floor. We learned one big thing from the holes though — we wanted a rigid bottom. With that in mind, I set out on the world wide web to start reading all the reviews. Sailors are picky people when it comes to gear and everybody has an opinion.
Shopping was hard. Sure, you could just buy on the internet and have it shipped to you, but I really wanted to ‘see’ the quality. There are very few dealers in the Seattle market other than West Marine. I did find https://waypointmarinegroup.com and decided to pop in and see what they had. There, I was introduced to a brand called Highfield out of Australia. I know from our work in the overlanding market that Australian brands, in general, are well built. So, in I went with a favorable brand impression. But touching, seeing and feeling were very important for the decision to purchase. I took in the quality, then measured to see if we could fit it on our deck (since we did not want to tow all the time, and we don’t have a davit). It fit, and we outfitted it with a Yamaha 6hp 4-Stroke and were on our way to adventures.
Things we love about it
- Deep cockpit: Allows for two dogs, two kids and two adults to ride without falling out, although it’s a little tight.
- The V-shaped Aluminum hull: Tracks well and handles some waves. Although, it needs some weight upfront when getting up to speed to eliminate bow-rise, and we have to be careful landing on sharp rocky beaches here in the Pacific Northwest.
- Hypalon: Lightweight and durable.
- Speed: We went from a 2hp to a 6hp and the difference is amazing.
- Weight and Size: Fits on the foredeck of our 31′ Beneteau, tows well and is manageable to lift/carry/drag.