New craft from the Haines Group
  |  First Published: December 2005

The Haines Group recently premiered three interesting new boats at a media launch on the Gold Coast – two from its flagship Signature range and one from the value Haines Traveler line.

• The versatile and racy Signature 580BR sported one of the new ‘big block’ Suzuki DF175 engines which provided quite blistering yet smooth, vice-free performance, making it a very versatile vessel for the whole gamut of family fun.

The sporty carbon-fibre dash layout and colour-co-ordinated upholstery everywhere ooze opulence and there’s storage for anything you could possibly wish to take, from fishing rods to a cold beverage or two.

The new-look walk-through transom features a boarding platform with stainless ladder. The ski pole can easily be replaced with an optional bait board and rod holders so you can fish hard in the morning and then tow the kids around on a biscuit or ski later.

This is a fishing magazine, so it was comforting to see that the 580BR bow rider compartment can be converted into a fairly spacious casting deck with the optional in-fill platform. Or it can be a rather ritzy lounge, complete with optional lipped picnic table with drink holders.

As you’d expect from any Signature, the 650kg Variable Deadrise Hull planes easily, is stable at rest and soft-riding at any speed. And when you push the throttle down, it certainly goes. Even with the minimum 115hp engine, this would be a great family outfit.

• The Signature 600C is part of the Lifestyle Cruising range and while blood-and-guts anglers might go for the 600F or 600RF, the versatile 600C would probably get the vote at any family ‘board meeting’.

There’s plenty of cockpit room for three anglers offshore and a comfy cabin with loads of shelter for the kids that can be optioned up for cosy overnighting for two. Seating is typically luxurious and the more you look at this boat, the more storage you seem to find, from the dual-level side pockets to drink holders and transom well that can be optioned to take livies as well as coldies.

With the Suzuki DF150 attached, the 850kg hull with its 2.43-metre beam sparkled.

• I didn’t get the chance to devote as much time as I would have liked to the new Haines Traveler TC165 but I’d like to remedy that soon. At 5.09 metres with a 2.21-metre beam and a transitional vee 22.5° hull, this one certainly looks the goods and merits a more comprehensive test.

It has a neat day cuddy, loads of storage including plenty under-floor, walk-through anchor access and an interesting seat bin that you can move around. Rated from 50hp to 90hp, the TC165 should be a tidy and economical offshore performer easily towed by the average mid-sized family sedan. With the current price of fuel, there should be plenty of interest in this one.

Tony Zann

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