THE HAINES family has been building boats for nearly 40 years, and in recent times they’ve added luxury catamarans to their range and taken on the distribution of Suzuki four-stroke outboards in Australia.
In Haines’ range of trailer boats, the addition of the Traveler series filled a void in their lower price bracket, targeting a market niche that’s dominated by aluminium boats. The aim of the Traveler was to offer a fibreglass boat that didn’t have the cost associated with the fully decked-out Signature Series that’s served the Haines family so well over the years.
The Haines Traveler TF155 is a basic 15’6” fibreglass boat that’s open to a variety of uses. Being under five metres, don’t expect to find a big cabin with a couple of full-length bunks. What you will find though is a reasonable size aft deck to allow a couple of anglers to move around and fish or room for a couple of young kids on a family day out.
Although the cab isn’t big, it has reasonable head room so that if the weather turns sour you can sit in here out of the rain. The height also allows you to sit in there with young kids that can lay down on the small bunk cushions. The primary purpose of the cab though is to provide a dry storage area for keeping gear out of the way and, at a pinch, room for a few adults to sit out of the weather.
There is no bulkhead as such that sits between the dash and the deck, so the full beam of the boat – from the passenger’s side to the driver’s side – has been left open to allow that room to get in and out of the cab and for that air to flow through.
The top section of the cab flows down to the side of the boat, making the most of the outside space. This enhances the inside room, which would otherwise be quite cramped. In doing this, access to the bow for dropping and retrieving the anchor is done through a hatch in the cab.
The dash on the driver's side drops only slightly to allow the steering wheel to be mounted with a couple of gauges above it. What was good to see was a nice-sized flat dash area with a sturdy grab rail for the passenger.
Both anglers and families like to have a flat surface out of the weather that can be used as a table top. In the Traveler you can spread out a bit of lunch or fold out a map on here, as well as having more than enough room to mount a sounder and GPS. It’s simple and straight forward, and in this style of boat that’s the most practical way to go.
The aft deck follows the same principles as the rest of the boat, with just a basic layout that doesn’t become cluttered. There are a couple of side pockets for fishing gear and a small under-floor storage area between the two helm seats.
The only other thing that you’ll find on the aft deck is a couple of corner cushion seats either side of the motor well. These seats are quite comfortable, with adequate back support, and if you lift out the cushions the two corners become the perfect spot to stand and fish.
On the port side of the transom is a storage hatch which can be plumbed and used as a live bait tank. On the outside of the transom you’ll find a boarding step and fold-down ladder that makes it easier to get in and out of the boat.
The hatch lid on the starboard side lifts to reveal the battery and fuel filter. I was surprised to see these items so close together, because it’s not a good mix when you need to drain or change the filter. A small bit of re-working needs to be addressed in this little corner.
With the Haines family now being the distributors for Suzuki four-stroke outboards, this boat had a Suzuki engine that ran very smooth and quiet – something that we’ve come to expect of today’s four-stroke outboards. The Traveler’s hull is rated to 75hp, but this particular model had a 50hp engine. It was enough for the job at hand with the two of us on board and no gear, but it would be insufficient with a bit of a load on.
In small cab boats, especially where family boating is concerned, a four-stroke engine is the way to go. Aside from the improved fuel economy and quiet running, there’s very little fuel fume smell and no burning oil smell. Those sort of fumes can turn the stomachs of many passengers when they hop on the boat.
With a 22.5-degree deadrise, the boat has a deep hull which rides well through the chop, doing what a deep vee hull is supposed to do. Jarring and harshness is pretty well a non-event.
The cost of the deep vee hull is stability, and I found that it didn’t take much to lean the boat one way or the other at rest and on the move. Once you get used to the boat and know what to expect it’s not really a concern, but newcomers to boating need to keep in mind the movements of smaller deep vee boats in rough conditions or crossing wakes at the wrong angle. I’d don’t mean to put anyone off – it’s just important to be aware of how certain hulls can behave in certain conditions.
But having said all that, this boat does handle the rough well – and it was well and truly blowing during our test. These conditions enabled us to give the boat a good run with, and into, the sea, which was very good.
This boat also presents well, being neat, tidy and easy to handle, and it’s priced competitively at around $24,000. For more information you can contact Satisfaction Marine on ph. (07) 5529 0711. They have a number of models from the Traveler range in their show room.
Length – 5.72m
Beam – 2m
Weight – 400 kg (hull only)
Max hp – 75
Deadrise – 22.5 degrees
Fuel – 85 litres under floor
Construction – Fibreglass
1. The Haines Traveller is suitable for those wanting a fibre glass boat to work the estuaries and bays without spending big dollars
2. The straight forward and simple layout gives plenty of room to move about in.
3. The basic dash configuration offers plenty of room for electronics or to spread out lunch with good open access into the cab.
4. The 50hp four stroke Suzuki outboard is a beaut engine but saw this rig a bit under powered.
5. Removable corner seats are comfortable and offer sufficient back support.
6. On a 15’6" boat the cab is too small for sleeping and intended more for dry storage and a protection.Reads: 2354