Complete rig

Warren Steptoe | VOLUME 23, ISSUE 5

New technology, combined with tried and proven ideas, results in one competent all-rounder in Haines Signature’s new 675F…

Haines Signature’s new 675F is the result of exciting new technology recently adopted by the Brisbane-based Haines Group. The new boat is designed with newly-acquired CAD/CAM software and is manufactured by a process Haines Signature has developed in-house called “Rivale”, which is an acronym for Resin Injected Vacuum Assisted Low Emission. Rivale represents a significant step forward from traditional methods employed by a boat building company long known as an industry leader.

Software advances aren’t necessarily especially evident in a finished product, their effects being more about behind the scenes efficiencies than cosmetics. As such, I must admit the results of the company’s investment in up-to-the minute CAD/CAM didn’t strike me immediately on inspection of the 675F. However, the opposite was certainly true of Rivale.

Once upon a time, glass reinforced plastic, commonly known as GRP or fibreglass, was laid up by hand inside a ‘female’ one-piece mould – an imprecise process at best, resulting in one smooth finished side and the other quite ‘in the rough’. With the Rivale process, finely controlled amounts of resin are forcefully injected into a double-sided mould.

Thus, Rivale produces mouldings with a high quality finish on both sides. Unlike hand-laid products, each Rivale moulding is exactly the same, resulting in excellent uniformity in the finished products. Rivale mouldings are also both stronger and lighter. And as a bonus, Rivale is much more environmentally friendly because styrene emissions are eliminated and consumables are dramatically reduced.

I went looking for any differences evident from the new Rivale process before taking our test boat out on the water and they didn’t take long to find. I hardly had to bend to see that the fishing workstation, perched high on the transom, was built by this new process and was as well-finished underneath as on the immediately visible parts. Inspecting the rest of the boat, I found the more I saw, the more I realised how remarkably well-finished this boat was, inside and out. Which, in itself, is all the more remarkable since Haines Group boats have always been very well-finished, anyway.

Out on the water at last, we immediately had to deal with the Gold Coast’s usual mish-mash of big cruiser wakes, which, in turn, highlighted another aspect of new Haines Group technology.

INTEGRITY AND STRENGTH

Haines Signature has been using a process it calls “Nexus” for some years now, so it’s not as new as some other technologies, however the 675F does incorporate a refined version of what’s now a well-proven method. Nexus is essentially a chemical bonding or gluing of the hull’s outer skin and liner mouldings – with foam filling where necessary – into a complete unit boasting outstanding integrity and strength.

Passing cruisers ably demonstrated this when the 675F took them on with a distinct lack of the graunches and creak spreviously considered normal in GRP boats – even when I deliberately attacked a metre-and-a-half high wake at an awkward angle, which forced the 675F to deal with landing hard on its chine shoulder. Impressive, indeed.

Once on some clear water – and again, as you’d expect from a Haines family-designed boat – the 675F’s on-water manners proved impeccable. Across a confused surface chop generated by brisk gusts of afternoon sea breeze, it rode softly and reacted to steering wheel input predictably.

With 300 of Suzuki’s finest thoroughbreds on the transom of a boat this size, you’d expect straight-line performance to sparkle, and it most surely did. But best of all, having plenty of power did nothing to reduce the boat’s general good manners. In fact, it actually proved quite docile, in a spirited sort of way.

DUAL PURPOSE

With considerably more room available inside than those 6-metre-ish family day boat-cum serious fishing boats Australian boat builders do so well, the 675F still manages to fulfill both these roles very well.

For fishing as serious (or as casual for that matter) as you like, the 675F’s cockpit is very well executed, while inside the cabin the bunks are entirely suitable for a couple to sleep aboard. Our test boat also had a portable toilet installed in the cabin.

That other all-important aspect of boating comfort, the helm area, was as comfortable cruising the relatively sheltered waters of southern Moreton Bay as it, no doubt, would be running out wide to reach more rewarding fishing spots. I was especially pleased to find the helm seats still comfortable while standing at the wheel.

The boat we tested is used day-to-day by Haines Group MD, Greg Haines. Greg likes to fish and cruise around southern Moreton Bay with friends and does so frequently. The hands-on experience this provides translates into details that don’t, perhaps, look like much on the surface, but turn an otherwise stock boat into a personalised fishing and family machine. For instance, there’s the VHF radio and the 675F’s sound system, which are placed handily in moulded recesses within easy reach and away from damaging spray.

Another neat touch is the inclusion of a couple of new options that give the 675F even more versatility. Beneath, directly behind and underneath the copilot’s chair are features that give the 675F enough amenity to cater for a full and hungry crew, whether out fishing or just taking in the surroundings. Hidden away in a compartment directly to port of the skipper’s companion is a compact, fold-out butane stove – ideal for boiling up the billy or cooking those fresh flathead fillets. Underneath the passenger pedestal seat is a compact fridge, while directly behind is a sink and storage unit. Apart from the convenience of having cooking, food preparation and storage capabilities, they give the 675F real family cruising and overnighting possibilities.

In addition to the afore-mentioned storage, there is also a spacious fish pit or dry storage compartment, depending on how you see it, set below decks between the helm and passenger seats.

SPLIT PERSONALITY

Down aft at the transom, the 675F’s split personality is well catered for by a huge livewell in the starboard side of the aft bulkhead and a transom door leading out to a boarding deck beside the motor. There’s a folding boarding ladder on the port side of the deck and more of those practical details evident in moulded fender racks, doubling as scuba tank stowage, set into the outside of the bulkhead.

Across the interior of the bulkhead, the three-quarter-width lounge stows away neatly to become a padded bolster, thus maximising fishing space in the cockpit. Once unfolded, this becomes a comfortable aft lounge.

A neat stainless steel-framed bimini top shaded the 675F’s helm area and provided mounts for outriggers and radio aerials, plus a rocket launcher-style rack for six rods. Clears installed between the bimini and windscreen made shelter inside the helm area complete.

“Complete” – now there’s a good word to describe the Haines Signature 675F in one. It has everything you need for many enjoyable hours on the water, either fishing or cruising about with family or friends. A lot of boat for the bucks, that’s for sure. Speaking of which, the ‘one with the lot’ package, as represented by Greg’s boat, will set you back at tad over $130,000, which gives you a boat with the capability to handle pretty much everything required by fun-focused families or hardcore fishos.

SPECIFICATIONS: HAINES SIGNATURE 675F

Length overall: 6.89m

Beam: 2.5m

Weight: approx 1200kg

BMT towing weight: approx 2500-3000kg

Deadrise: 21 to 33 degrees

BMT total length: 8.1m

BMT total height: 2.5m

BMT total width: 2.5m

Min power: 150hp

Max power: 300hp

Fuel: 270lt

Freshwater: 45lt (optional)

Max persons: 8

PERFORMANCE

Powered by: Suzuki DF300

Propeller: Suzuki s/s 18.5-in pitch

Location: southern Moreton Bay

Conditions: gusty variable winds, some wind chop, lots of cruiser wakes

Load: 2 adults, plenty of fishing gear, full fuel tank.

RPM Speed in Knots Fuel Consumption Comments

660 1.7 (indicated litres/hr) slowest trolling speed

2150 6.8 12.2

2500 8.9

3000 16.6 19.3

3500 22.3 25.2

4000 26.6 32.3

4250 28.8 37.3 (Greg’s preferred cruising speed)

5000 33.7

5950 41.1 WOT

Pricing: Basic BMT packages from $98,328.00

Price as Tested: $131,081 (fully optioned)

More information: www.thehainesgroup.com


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