Fun-filled package

Chris Beattie | VOLUME 23, ISSUE 3
It has a very forgiving ride and its precise handling and turning – of which we did a fair bit, with screaming kids in tow – encouraged immediate confidence.
Haines Hunter’s 640 Bow Rider Sport

With kids squealing in delight clinging to their ski biscuit and skipping crazily across the mirror-like waters of Lake King, it occurred to me that it would be hard to imagine a better boat for the occasion. On the way to Paynesville we’d dropped in at New World Honda in Berwick, south-east of Melbourne, where sales manager, Mike Mulquiney gave us the rundown on Haines Hunter’s 640 Bowrider Sport. At the time he predicted that we’d find it to be the ideal craft for what we had in mind – a few days of fun-filled activities involving a boat, several water toys and three far too energetic kids and two soon-to-be worn-out adults. As it turned out, he was spot-on.

As an entertaining platform, the 640 Sport is hard to fault. At 6.8 metres in overall length, it’s a large, open and spacious boat, with plenty of room for lounging and relaxation.

Comfort was obviously high on the designers’ checklist, with generous upholstery and padding just about anywhere the occupants are likely to come in contact with the interior. In particular, the younger passengers spent most of their time in the bow, lounging on the well-padded cushions and enjoying the ride, which, by the way, was close to faultless. While we were fortunate to have pretty calm conditions for most of our stay, when it did blow up, the 640 handled the 1-2 metre chop with ease. It has a very forgiving ride and its precise handling and turning – of which we did a fair bit, with screaming kids in tow – encouraged immediate confidence.

Storage is another strong point, with plenty of options throughout the boat for stowing everything from drinks – there’s an optional fridge under the rear lounge – to inflated water toys, which we stowed in the head, that can otherwise be a bit of a squeeze when used for its intended purpose.

Other things I liked about the 640 Sport included the many well-placed grab rails and drink holders, the practical windlass anchoring system – so often an after-thought on the imported bow riders – the comfortable, fully adjustable skipper’s and passenger’s seats, easy access throughout the boat (including maintenance access), excellent visibility in all directions, and the discreet ankle height lighting around the interior. Also, the overall finish was hard to fault, especially in comparison to some of the higher-end boats from the US, and the 2.4m beam afforded plenty of cockpit space.

With performance a high priority on any craft with a water sports focus, we certainly weren’t let down by the big 225hp four-stroke Honda. It was extremely quiet, delivered excellent punch down low and in the mid-range, provided good response and, importantly, proved to be very frugal on fuel.

What I thought needed more thought on the 640 were the lack of any accessible storage or pockets at the helm for things like mobile phones, glasses and maps. Also, standing at the helm was difficult, even with the seat fully retracted, and the seat back fouled on the throttle whenever I turned to look out the back, which is not ideal from a safety point of view. Speaking to Haines Hunter a few weeks later, it indicated that a change in the location of the seat pedestal would solve the problem.

But taking everything into consideration, Haines Hunter’s biggest bow rider won a boatload of friends during our time at Paynesville. It’s definitely a worthy contender for anyone looking to add some excitement to their time on the water.

Price as tested, including ticking most of the options boxes for things like a top-of-the-range trailer, ski tower, stereo and cockpit fridge, works out to $92,000, while the base-spec boat, with the same engine, comes in at around $84,500.

For more information, contact New World Honda on (03) 8794 0000, or to find your nearest dealer, go to: