Project boats | Haines Hunter 635L

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Haines Hunter 635L project boat restoration Brad, wife Jen and their three daughters loving their restored Haines. How good is that hardtop! Haines Hunter 635L project boat restoration
Boat restoration on main street A lot of the work was carried out under a marquee. Brad says a shed would have been much better. Boat restoration on main street
Moving boat hull with a crane A crane and a cradle were employed to roll the boat over. This made finishing off the hull far easier. Moving boat hull with a crane
Spray painting Haines 635 hull The painstaking process of sanding, curing and spraying the hull. Spray painting Haines 635 hull
New floor on Haines 635L What a difference new seat boxes and flooring make. New floor on Haines 635L

This Haines Hunter 635 boat restoration became an all-consuming obsession for this fisherman.

Brad Lunn was on the hunt for a restoration project when a mate of his spotted this Haines 635 at a farm on the Sunshine Coast, Qld, in late 2010. It was perfect for Brad’s needs. The deal was done for two grand and then he splashed out on a new trailer to get it home to Hervey Bay.

Then, on a work trip to Gladstone, Brad spied another Haines just like his — but better. "The hull had been extended and a new 225 Honda outboard fitted," Brad recalls. It looked so good Brad decided to give his rig a similar makeover.

Haines 635L boat hull
The starting point, not so fresh from its resting place on a Sunshine Coast lychee farm.

"I commissioned a boat-building friend of mine, Robbie Ferguson, to undertake the new hull extension and transom and decided that if I helped him as much as possible, I might learn enough to continue the work myself," says Brad.

The boat was stripped bare and the rear stringers were removed. It was the first time Brad had worked with fibreglass but he had good mates on hand to help. With the hull extension and new transom came the idea to recess the trim tabs and a ladder — cue Brad’s first go at making moulds, which he did out of MDF.

Original sterndrive transom of Haines 635L
Family values — Brad reckons he couldn’t have finished this project without the support and understanding of his wife, Jen, and three daughters. They love the water too, so now they’re reaping the rewards.
DIY mould for Haines project boat
Brad quickly became accustomed to knocking up seat boxes and all manner of other items from MDF before getting stuck in with the fibreglass. He says his boat-building mate taught him a lot.

With major mods finished Brad continued alone, removing everything from the hull (cabin furniture, stringers, bulkheads etc) and replacing the lot.

"I wanted a self-draining floor and my only option was to raise the floor height by at least 150mm — which also left room for various storage lockers," he says. Brad’s wife and three daughters all love the water, so the extra space would come in handy.

New cabin bulkhead for Haines 635
Brad knocked up a new cabin bulkhead. He also created a larger dash to accommodate today’s large-format marine electronics.

In went a new cabin bulkhead and a new 300L fuel tank, before Brad installed the new floor — a great moment, he says.

A livebait tank and a larger dash followed, then he commissioned his boat-building mate to make a bowsprit for the new 21lb anchor, while a crane and cradle were employed to roll the boat over so the hull could be finished off properly. The end was in sight…

Transom extension with trim tab holes
The transom extension, complete with recesses for trim tabs and ladder.
Transom extension on Haines Hunter 635
The completed extended transom.

With the boat rolled upright again it was time to build the seat boxes and coolers. Shelving was installed for more storage before the boat was sanded and coated with a protective epoxy, then a two-pack polyurethane. Mate Jason suggested the striking white / blue colour scheme.

On went the 225hp Honda outboard motor, trim tabs, the marine electronics, freshwater bladders, the deckwash, shower, hydraulic steering and more, but after a triumphant first outing Brad decided he wanted a hardtop, too — cue another custom mould, and another three weeks of late nights and hard slog.

Greens Marine Stainless at Yatala handled all the stainless, while Brad also thanks Troy Dixon at Caloundra’s Custom Craft Marine.

The result speaks for itself. "I’ve got to thank my girls — wife Jen and daughters Gracie, Rubes and April — for their patience and understanding," he says. "The good times we’ll have in this boat will far outweigh the sacrifice."

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what it’s all about. 


Extended Haines Hunter 635 project boat specs

Length 6.35m

Engine 225hp Honda outboard motor

Owner Brad Lunn

Favourite fishing spot Fitzroy Reef or Double Island, Qld

Target species Not fussy (but pearl perch is a table favourite)


Extended Haines Hunter 635 project boat cost

Purchase price (pre-rebuild) $2000

Trailer $9000

Electronics $3000

Fuel tank $350

Water bladders $225

Windscreens / side windows $2500

Honda outboard motor $18,500

Stainless steel work $4500

Fibreglass work and painting $15,000

Upholstery $1500

Other bits and pieces $3425

TOTAL COST $60,000 (not including labour)


6 project boat restoration tips

From Brad

Brad Lunn

1. Have plenty of time to devote to the project.

2. Be prepared to learn.

3. Some things are easier if you can learn from someone who’s done it before you.

4. Have an open mind and don’t be afraid of hard work.

5. Have a shed to work in. I did the majority of this resto under a tarp — far from ideal.

6. Have a supportive and understanding family!


Originally published in TrailerBoat #300, October / November 2013. Why not subscribe today?



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