Easy rider

Rick Huckstepp | VOLUME 25, ISSUE 2
Traditional Boat Building
Bowriders are all about family fun and the latest 580BR from the Haines Group is a fine example of the breed.

Looks can be deceiving and so it is with Haines Signature’s 580BR, which looks more like a craft in the range of 6m-plus. As it turned out, it punched well above its weight-size ratio too, adding further credence to the optical illusion.

The slick side profile of the boat is what contributes most to this deception. The combination of the slight down-turned bowsprit, rising up in the forequarters then up to a sweptback screen with trailing sides down to the gunwales aft of midships, gives the 580 very racy lines, indeed. The gunwales gently slope down to the transom, where stylishly curved struts attach to boarding platforms either side of the 200hp Suzuki outboard. Even though a telescopic fold-down ladder graces the port side platform, with a couple of people on board it is still relatively easy to climb on board unassisted from the water. From there it is easy to access the cockpit via the small transom door.

The curved theme extends to the internal fit-out, with a contoured, plush upholstered upper and lower back-rest across the transom interrupted only by the half-height transom bulkhead boarding door, which is also padded on the cockpit side. The transom seats are inset into the transom, which comes in handy when experiencing the typical high-speed manoeuvring associated with modern water sports. Passengers can brace themselves securely, while ergonomically-placed hand holds are positioned low enough on the inside of the cockpit liner to prevent strain when things get a little hairy.

The seat base is comfortable and the raised front edge is a welcome feature, offering additional support behind the knees.

VERSATILE SEATING

The great part about this rear seat is that it is removable and can be lifted out and parked on the beach or river bank for some added picnic comfort. Being a stowage container in its own right, it’s also a great place to load wet gear or can even double as a refuse container so the planet is a little tidier at the end of your day on the water.

The cockpit is a mini entertainment area in itself. With helm and passenger chairs swivelled around, the cockpit is transformed into a social area focused on the central dinette table. The feeling of comfort is enhanced by generously padded upholstery on either side of the cockpit liner, with large pockets offering additional stowage space.

The suave touches don’t end there. A padded, faux carbon fibre brow is perched over the passenger glove compartment, which itself is generously enough proportioned to accommodate at least six cans, along with the ice needed to keep them chilled.

But wait, there’s more: Under the bowrider seating is space to pack in enough ice and refreshments for a full complement of passengers for a big day on the water. Although not actually insulated for cold storage, the foam cushions are good enough at keeping the heat out to keep things adequately chilled. Of course, this space can be used to store any other gear you might want to bring aboard, leaving room for lounging around, as is the practice of those who normally occupy the forward space on bowriders.

DINING OR RECLINING

Speaking of which, with cushions in place, four people can comfortably perch themselves in the bow pocket, although this space is at its best with just two taking full advantage of the generously padded cushions. If dining in the open air is your thing, the dinette table from the cockpit can be relocated here.

It’s an enjoyable ride at the helm, too, with a neatly laid out instrument display and a full bucket seat to sink back into, enhanced by the angled foot rest fixed to the deck, which also doubles as a compact stowage compartment. The high-profile positioning of the dash with the padded brow atop might be an issue to those a little shorter in stature, especially so if trimming the boat with the bow riding high for good wakeboarding wash. If in doubt, it would be worthwhile to order the helm seat with a higher pedestal.

As can be seen, the tubular framed canopy fitted to our test boat is plenty strong enough to tie down unused water toys across the two purposely-designed rails, freeing up further deck space.

A lot of bowrider manufacturers, particularly US builders, tend to do away with the anchor well, or only provide a tiny token space for stowing the ground tackle. But the Haines folks have retained a sensibly proportioned anchor well that will hold enough gear for most situations.

Under throttle, the big 200 Suzuki was more than adequate for the job. The wall-mount binnacle was smooth to operate and acceleration was brilliant to just on 50 knots (90km/h) at 6100rpm.

I did note a slight amount of aeration at the propeller when not fully trimmed in on hard fast turns and when the leg was all the way in. Also, torque on the steering was a little high for the amount of hydraulic assistance on offer. A little more thought might be needed here to alleviate effort at the helm.

But overall, the 580BR is yet another example of classy ’glass from the Haines Group. ¿

SPECIFICATIONS: HAINES SIGNATURE 580BR

Length overall: 5.8m

Beam: 2.32m

Deadrise: 21-33 degrees

Weight: 650kg basic hull dry

Fuel: 150lt

Price as tested: $74,510

Priced from: $55,866

For more information or dealer location, go to: www.haines-marine.com.au.


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