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Old 06 May 2014, 14:31   #1
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Highfield Ocean Master 540

Hi folks. Here's a quick update on the Highfield Ocean Master 540 and Honda BF90 I bought recently. This is the 2014 5.4 metre version of the Pink and Black Panthers that featured in the PBR Round Ireland Challenge; their performance in that being a key part of my decision.

My first proper trip on Sunday was an 18 mile return run to West Bay. Conditions were fair with a southerly F3 and just enough movement on the sea to make it interesting. I had 3 adults on board, 2 behind the console and 1 on the console seat. I was very pleased with the ride and handling, but the 15 stone weight up front kept the nose down and limited the fun a bit.

Launched again in the evening with just 2 of us behind the console, and what a difference! The wind had increased slightly to southerly F4 and although still fairly flat, the onshore wind and incoming tide produced enough swell and chop to bring on the smiles.

In my limited experience, I thought the Highfield handled superbly and was totally dry, jumping through the waves, and landing smoothly without a hint of slamming. She responded well to trim and throttle with a 4-blade 19 pitch prop, and provided a very well balanced, smooth ride. Although still running in, the occasional blip up to WOT would indicate a top speed of about 38kts @ 5,800rpm

Needless to say, very happy
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Old 06 May 2014, 15:36   #2
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Looks like a great set up you've got there, Exe treme. Very nice!

How long did it take you to get to West Bay? I'm hoping to make it over there myself soon.

Maybe I'll see you out on the river at some point.

Cheers,

Dan
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Old 06 May 2014, 15:48   #3
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Hi Andy
How do you get on with those seats?
The padding looks thin.
The Rib looks very smart, and I was impressed with how they handled Round Ireland.
Looks like you have yourself a great boat
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Old 06 May 2014, 15:54   #4
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Old 06 May 2014, 16:05   #5
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Looks really nice. The 19" 4 blade seems to be a good setup or her.
Do you have any indication on the fuel usage yet?
Chunk
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Old 07 May 2014, 01:11   #6
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Originally Posted by DanExe View Post
Looks like a great set up you've got there, Exe treme. Very nice!

How long did it take you to get to West Bay? I'm hoping to make it over there myself soon.

Maybe I'll see you out on the river at some point.

Cheers,

Dan
Thanks Dan!

I am living a bit further east now, and launched from Lyme Regis this time. I have done the trip from Exmouth before but I stopped in Beer en-route. From memory, it took about 1hr 25 minutes at steady cruising speed.
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Old 07 May 2014, 01:27   #7
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Hi Andy
How do you get on with those seats?
The padding looks thin.
The Rib looks very smart, and I was impressed with how they handled Round Ireland.
Looks like you have yourself a great boat
Hi MustRib

I have only done a few hours on the Highfield, but I had the same seat on my previous rib, and didn't have an issue. My longest trip on that was only 4 hours with some time standing, so perhaps not the best test, but the cushions are quite high density, and handled my 15 stone well enough!

They are also the same seats that Steve and Dave had on Black Panther.

Cheers
Andy
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Old 07 May 2014, 01:52   #8
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Looks really nice. The 19" 4 blade seems to be a good setup or her.
Do you have any indication on the fuel usage yet?
Chunk
Hi Chunk

No accurate figures yet as I have been all over the rev range running her in.

Going by the 50 minute return run to West Bay at a steady 3,500-4,000rpm (about 16-23kts), I am guessing I used about 9 litres, so assume 10 litres/hour.

Cheers
Andy
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Old 07 May 2014, 02:00   #9
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Nice looking craft.. But i have to say Those seats look very uncomfortable being so flat and the seat padding in non existent..
Are you sure you found them comfy?
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Old 07 May 2014, 02:42   #10
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Are you sure you found them comfy?
Hi Matt

Thanks for your concern...

The seat cushions do look a bit flat in the picture, but they are 3" thick high density foam; precisely 36 times thicker than the saddle on my road bike, and I can handle that for up to 8 hours!

Seriously though, so far so good, but if I find them uncomfortable over time, I will have some new ones made, and no doubt look to the the good people of Ribnet to recommend an upholsterer.
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:04   #11
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The seat cushions do look a bit flat in the picture, but they are 3" thick high density foam; precisely 36 times thicker than the saddle on my road bike, and I can handle that for up to 8 hours!
The saddle on a road bike is somewhat different in design though - and you legs and arms are bearing a lot of weight, and moving around, whilst the load is carried on a design that has evolved over the years! The Highfields did well in R.I. so it would be interesting what feedback the guys had on the seats? Did the girls use the same seats? if not why not - and how did their seating compare? They look basic but perhaps there is more thought gone into the shock mitigation than their aesthetics suggest. That said the two biggest factors in shock mitigation are the hull under the seat and the guy on top!

You must be nice and handy for the factory if there are any issues? Is it like the Redbay following in the North of Ireland down there where one local manufacturer has emerged as a leader by being able to provide local support - or are you breaking new ground?
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:53   #12
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Must admit I had similar misgivings about the seats before I took delivery of my Highfield. I asked the guys at Highfield for feedback and for other options and they were very helpful. It was soon after the RI and, although no objective evidence, said that they'd found them comfortable even on the longer trips. They also offered an option to swap out if I found them uncomfortable - a year on I'm still using them. Again only my opinion (and the wife's) but they are more comfortable than our older ribs jockeys.
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Old 07 May 2014, 04:41   #13
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The saddle on a road bike is somewhat different in design though - and you legs and arms are bearing a lot of weight, and moving around, whilst the load is carried on a design that has evolved over the years! The Highfields did well in R.I. so it would be interesting what feedback the guys had on the seats? Did the girls use the same seats? if not why not - and how did their seating compare? They look basic but perhaps there is more thought gone into the shock mitigation than their aesthetics suggest. That said the two biggest factors in shock mitigation are the hull under the seat and the guy on top!

You must be nice and handy for the factory if there are any issues? Is it like the Redbay following in the North of Ireland down there where one local manufacturer has emerged as a leader by being able to provide local support - or are you breaking new ground?
Hi Poly

It was only in jest that I used the bike saddle analogy, but with a body shape sculpted from years of abuse, the pain outweighs any evolution of saddle design on a 100-mile bike ride!

The girls used the same CoastalPro suspension seating that were used on Ribquest 1; there was a review of them in the PBR R.I. write up. I chose my seating after being happy with the same set up in a previous boat, but my intended use is a bit more leisurely, so I am not likely to demand as much from the seating as some. If, however, that changes, I will certainly look at shock mitigation seating.

I am impressed with how the hull performed from a comfort perspective. This is my 4th smallish RIB from three different manufacturers, and none of the previous compared to the ride quality of the best of my hard boats... until now. I can honestly say this one is very different, as mentioned in the OP. Unfortunately, I don't have the same confidence in my performance, but I stayed dry and the boat stayed upright!

Highfield is now in partnership with selected Honda marine dealers for the sale of their RIB's, and I am very fortunate to have my local dealer only 4 miles away. Locality was not the deciding factor, but it helped a lot, as it allowed me to pop in at various stages of build to check helm position, layout etc before fitting. Both Highfield and the Honda dealer (Rob Perry Marine) have been a great help, especially with the first hand R.I experience.
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Old 07 May 2014, 08:08   #14
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Its just a observation from my part.
Anyway 36 times thicker!!
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Old 07 May 2014, 09:38   #15
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Its just a observation from my part.
Anyway 36 times thicker!!
Haha! Sorry Matt, should have made it clearer: I meant 36 times thicker than the 2.1mm of high density foam on my bike saddle!
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Old 08 May 2014, 16:18   #16
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Hannah G has been persuaded to give it to you first hand about the Coastal Pro seats on Pink Panther.

In all honesty we struggled with the seats. On Pink Panther, we found that as neither of us were that heavy, even on the loosest setting, the seats didn’t compress enough to give us much relief from the waves. Also we couldn’t get our feet on the floor so needed to sit awkwardly and our inner thighs got a pounding from the wooden bases under the foam. By the end of it, we had considerable bruises on the inside of our legs as we were not really using the seats as suspension seats but more something halfway between ‘normal’ jockey seats and suspension seats.

The biggest issue for us though was that as I am short, each time I sat down and the seat compressed, the movement of the seat was backwards which moved me further away from the steering wheel. The result was that I had to sit quite far forward which meant, again, we couldn’t benefit from the full effects of the seat. Hannah


My take on this is that a big issue here is seat setup relative to the person that will be using it. If you are buying it for yourself make sure everything about the seat (height, position etc is set up for you ) I did find it quite strange that when the seat compresses there is a rearward component of movement which as Hannah says drags you away from the throttle and steering.

Paul
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Old 09 May 2014, 03:09   #17
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My take on this is that a big issue here is seat setup relative to the person that will be using it. If you are buying it for yourself make sure everything about the seat (height, position etc is set up for you ) I did find it quite strange that when the seat compresses there is a rearward component of movement which as Hannah says drags you away from the throttle and steering.

Paul
I agree. Being local, I was able to visit before the fitout so I could get the seats exactly right. I have them positioned to allow support from the backrest with still enough room to stand at the helm.

The girls did amazingly well in the R.I. considering...
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Old 21 September 2014, 07:52   #18
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Highfield Ocean Master

Hi I was wondering how you have got on with your new Highfiled OM 540. I am considering buying exactly the same package in the next couple of days but before I committed I wanted to try and find out what people think of them good and bad points. I am particularly interested in how they get on in slightly rougher conditions in terms of slamming into waves and how soft and comfortable the ride is? Any help would be most appreciated.
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Old 25 May 2016, 15:01   #19
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Om540 Highfield

Hi. I just got my Highfield OM 540 and I am not happy with it. Even if the rib rides well, it feels like if the plant in China does not have quality controls and they build to fast. The console is not place right wich make the right handle of the front seat unusable because it is stick to the tube. Also There are multiple cracks on the gelcoat. The anti slip surface is cut uneaven and you can see cuts beside. The right outside handle is melted by something hot and the wind Shield is not well centered I got my OM 540 in Midland Ontario. C02 inflatable. The service is minimum, not more. If I would have to do the process, I would pay only after paying it. Don't order one. Too riski. Find one in stok and pay after.
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