Submitted: 01-16-2008 by Benuetzer
This is just a follow up to my earlier review.
Today, I took the Helios out onto really open water, about 6 miles from shore, and it proved a tad more difficult to handle than it did on the lake. I had to do quite a bit of correcting, particularly going downwind, which is a hallmark of all the Innova inflatables I own. They are all without exception a joy to paddle into the wind; going downwind requires quite a bit of correction.The Helios 1 without rudder more so than any of my other boats.
I did notice several things that have led me to downgrade my opinion of the boat.
First, it scratches WAY more easily than any of my other boats. I've used it three times since it arrived here and it has more visible scuffing on the hull than my Safari or Solar II, both of which I've used extensively and in far rougher environments.
Secondly, it has a LOT of surface imperfections. Maybe the green shows them better than the red of the Safari and the blue of the Solar II, but there are many small creases and bumps visible on the underside of the fully inflated hull.
Perhaps most worrisome, the non-coated exposed grey fabric of the boat is starting to show slight discoloration in places, despite the fact that I am probably the most conscientious boat-cleaner there is. I wash my boats after every use and rinse and dry them thoroughly, leaving them inflated (at slightly lower pressure) so the drying can be more thorough. So this is an unpleasant surprise to me.
All around, this boat is still a great, fun boat to have, especially considering you get near-skeg like tracking without the hassle of having to put the skeg on; the speed of setup; and the stability and dry ride. But Innova loses points for jacking up the prices just as they "go cheap" on the models by removing the coating that used to cover all of their boats and leave some of the most sensitive parts of the boat open to discoloration and, quite likely, accelerated wear and tear. I'd gladly lug around two or three, or even five more pounds, to have a boat as bomb-proof as the Safari.