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Old 21 January 2022, 04:22   #1
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Zodiac Open 5.5 vs Highfield 540

Hello,
please help me decide between used, 2-year old Zodiac Open 5.5
and new Highfield OM 540 Patrol. Both have Yamaha F115 with Zodiac having 160 hours. I want RIB that I can tow with my car (3500 lb). Highfield is 200 lb lighter but i worry about aluminum hull ride.

I am planning to use boat for the trips to the islands from Ventura, CA. About 15 miles one way offshore.

I liked the look and feel of Zodiac and planning to see Highfield RIB on Saturday.

Thank you
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Old 21 January 2022, 04:55   #2
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Country: USA
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Price aside, the easy answer is to go with the Zodiac. Until Zodiac quits making tube sets for that hull, you'll be able to refresh your boat with new tubes when the old set is baked. Our shop has replaced countless Zodiac Pro tubes, and owners love the fact that they can get them replaced same day. Can't do that with any glue-on tubes, including Highfield.

Hands down, go with the Zodiac, given the price is right and everything else checks out with a thorough inspection. That Yamaha should be fine too, but be sure to get a copy of the engine service records and a diagnostic computer printout confirming its condition.
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Old 26 January 2022, 23:47   #3
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I had a 2014 550 zodiac pro and loved it, my daughter has the 500 pro and loves hers too. Sold mine regrettably as two zodiacs at home was excessive, so bought another little 14ft ft non rib. I don't know the other boat so cant comment on it.
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Old 27 January 2022, 15:52   #4
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I have had both. The main reason I went with the Highfield was the ability to build it myself, in particular the console where I wanted an incorporated front seat. I've found it easier to work with the alloy hull than fiberglass. As for the tubes, I tried changing the tubes on my Zodiac on my own...but it was hard work and by the time the tubes need changing, chances are you will want to change the boat. Good luck with whatever you choose. I think I would choose Highfield again just because I can fix it !
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Old 27 January 2022, 22:37   #5
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I pulled the tubes of both of our zodiacs without any problem, more a case of planning how to before simply rushing in.

Warm soapy water for cleaning the runners then a lubricating spray to help slide the tubes out. I had the breaks on with my trailer and a fold out table ahead of the boat that I pulled the tube out and across. I had vehicle parked ahead of the table and used a simple block and tackle to get the tubes started as they were tight at first.

The runners the tube run into had quite sharp edges which I rubbed with some wet'n'dry which has made any other removals far simpler. I mix my own solution of water and aqueous cream (same as I use for putting on wetsuits) and spray plenty on before sliding the tubes back.

Im 56 with both back and neck injuries that prevent me working but can remove and replace the tubes without any drama at all and have done so on both the 500 and 550.
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Old 27 January 2022, 23:47   #6
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Country: Australia
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Aluminium boats normally give a hard ride but the ride I get in my Highfield is not as harsh and I think due to the tubes acting as shock absorbers, like the air in car tyres.

I also like that I can bolt attachments on and I also beach my boat a lot and use it around reefs and ali might dent, it might scratch but I don't want a crack or a hole.

I like the Highfield Patrol because it is not full of seats like some RIBs are and is suitable for a working boat, plenty of room for fishing or diving gear.

Never had a Zodiac, they look nice but all the RIBs I've seen are dark in colour and not good in a climate where I am, summers with 40+ degrees.

Either way, I don't think you are making much of a mistake whichever way you go.
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Old 28 January 2022, 21:05   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by used.dinghies View Post
Price aside, the easy answer is to go with the Zodiac. Until Zodiac quits making tube sets for that hull, you'll be able to refresh your boat with new tubes when the old set is baked. Our shop has replaced countless Zodiac Pro tubes, and owners love the fact that they can get them replaced same day. Can't do that with any glue-on tubes, including Highfield.

Hands down, go with the Zodiac, given the price is right and everything else checks out with a thorough inspection. That Yamaha should be fine too, but be sure to get a copy of the engine service records and a diagnostic computer printout confirming its condition.
How? Zodiac EU cant do a thing for us so we're finding Independent tube shops to make up and Zodiacs CS has been pretty awful, even at trade shows...
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Old 28 January 2022, 21:11   #8
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Don't get me wrong, Zodiac is atrocious at customer service, and I'm sure it's the same gang of melon heads in the EU as it is here. Defender has enough sway with them to be able to get new tube sets, and we get dealer pricing. It's no better or worse than it was before getting tubes, but at least they're replaceable.
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Old 29 January 2022, 12:25   #9
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Used.Dinghies, thanks for the post above, it reminded me...

We have a 2005 Pro Open 5.5 and are in the market for some new tubes. We have just fitted a new etec 90 after the old one's electric trim died and it had probably 1400 hours on it.

Whilst they are in reasonable condition, the strip that attaches to them for the bead to attach to the hull has let go on both sides for around 2 metres. We will re-glue, but would like to start the process of purchasing and shipping out new ones to Australia.

Do you know if you can easily get them for our model and roughly what cost? It might be easier to go through a dealer that does it frequently. I tried asking a question on their website (I assume it was the proper one) but the submit button wasn't working.

Thanks!
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Old 29 January 2022, 12:33   #10
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CalBreeze, as above ours is 16+ years old and has been brilliant for us. It's been through some very rough weather and is safe and assuring. We have a 90hp. It's not a rocket ship with 90, it does around 29 knots flat out, but it's fine for what we need.

We've had waves come right over the top and half fill the cockpit and we just keep on going as it drains out. It's a solid ride and doesn't feel "tinny" like an aluminium boat (I've never been in an alloy rib to compare sorry).

Storage is pretty good underneath and we've found that by sitting a large esky in the front or right down the back, we can fit enough gear for a couple of nights camping for 2 including stove and tent etc. They are good if you can get one with a seat in front of the console, especially if you have children. My only complaint is that back-row passengers do get a little bit of splashback from the motor which is probably just a mounting height issue and because it's 2-stroke, it's a bit noisy back there.

Towing wise, no issues there, however they are quite wide, so you have to be a little careful and when people see you coming towards them, they usually keep well clear!
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Old 01 February 2022, 19:03   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ausaviator View Post
Used.Dinghies, thanks for the post above, it reminded me...

We have a 2005 Pro Open 5.5 and are in the market for some new tubes. We have just fitted a new etec 90 after the old one's electric trim died and it had probably 1400 hours on it.

Whilst they are in reasonable condition, the strip that attaches to them for the bead to attach to the hull has let go on both sides for around 2 metres. We will re-glue, but would like to start the process of purchasing and shipping out new ones to Australia.

Do you know if you can easily get them for our model and roughly what cost? It might be easier to go through a dealer that does it frequently. I tried asking a question on their website (I assume it was the proper one) but the submit button wasn't working.

Thanks!
Hi ausaviator,
The tube set for your Pro 550, P/N Z16235 Neo Gray are $7,000 USD plus shipping. Currently, they're backordered, and I bet they are backordered everywhere. Getting them to Australia would have to be your responsibility, as we don't ship overseas. We recommend Old Dominion for shipping.

Good luck getting the bolt rope back on. If they're PVC tubes, I wouldn't recommend bothering, as those tubes are past their shelf life.
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