BOAT TEST: HAINES HUNTER 560 CLASSIC OFFSHORE
With the 560 Classic Offshore, has Haines Hunter reached the pinnacle of trailerboat design and construction? If not, it can’t be far off the mark, writes John Willis.
TEST: HAINES HUNTER 560 CLASSIC OFFSHORE
I'm sitting here wondering where boat design will go in the future. I know boats will continue to change, for better or worse - that's the nature of the world, and we all look forward to the latest and greatest "mousetrap". However, after recently testing the new Haines Hunter 560 Classic Offshore, I'm kicking myself for uttering that all-too-commonly-used phrase once more: "How could a trailerboat possibly get any better than this?"
The 560 Classic Offshore package ticks all the boxes in the most competitive trailerboat sector: the 5.3m to 5.8m range. It's a family boat that can mix it with the best offshore; it can take the family out for a summer spin with the skis or wakeboard; and it can still provide the comfort and grace for a romantic cruise around the harbour. Better still, it can be towed by an average family vehicle, so there's no need to upgrade to an expensive 4WD. The 560 Classic Offshore is also quite suitable for single-handed operation, be it that pleasant Sunday morning fishing trip, or letting you blow out the cobwebs away from the masses.
Did I like it? You bet!
The 560 is a deep-vee cuddy-cab with high freeboard, plenty of deck room, adequate seating, a simple but well refined layout, a quality fitout and a beautiful design. But don't let its simplicity fool you. The layout and design of this boat is the result of many years of trailerboat-building expertise. Outwardly, it may appear very similar to its competitors, but when you get inside and have a good look around, the 560 Classic Offshore reveals itself as a melting pot of great features, design flair and production excellence.
These days, the difference between a good boat and a bad boat can be hidden in the fine print. You only master the little things like helm ergonomics, dashboard layout, sidepocket construction and anchor setup with experience, and it's things like these that aren't immediately noticeable to the novice boatie. Haines Hunter boats just have a quality "feel" to them, and the 560 Classic Offshore is no exception.
When TrailerBoat tested the 560 CO it was fitted with our old mate - Yamaha's 150hp, DOHC, four-stroke, 16-valve, in-line four-cylinder outboard. It's no secret that I love this engine, and with low noise emissions and fuel consumption, but instantaneous power, it's proven its worth for both recreational and commercial operators alike. Weighing in at 226kg, when coupled to the 560 Classic Offshore you have a magic combination, with one healthy power-to-weight ratio.
The hull is a classic 21° deep-vee with beautiful lines both in and out of the water. It runs the V right to the keel without a plank, and it's accentuated by two strakes and a hard chine. Typically for a deep-vee, it's sensitive to weight, but its deep freeboard design and low centre of gravity instils plenty of confidence - you know you'll get home safely, and (importantly) with your spine in one piece. And, like all deep-vees, this one likes to get up and fly.
SPACE FOR ALL
The Haines Hunter 560 Classic Offshore has a conventional enginewell with mouldings either side featuring livebait tanks or icebox storage. There are no boarding platforms or steps, a fact that is quite acceptable for the fishos, but for family use you'll probably want to go for the optional stainless ladder and perhaps even a bolt-on platform. The 25in transom features a flat rear coaming with a drop-down rear lounge. The working area is terrific, with plenty of space for three or four fishermen (or two or three of me). The genuine Haines Hunter cuttingboard complements the business end of the boat beautifully and there is plenty of room behind the rear lounge for servicing the batteries and other plumbing components.
The large cockpit has full-length fibreglass sidepockets that are quite attractive and strong, but I would hesitate to stand on them when boarding. There are good toeholds all around the cockpit and some rodholder/boat hook/gaff holders in the sides. Whilst the freeboard is deep, optional padded coamings would be high on my shopping list.
AT THE HELM
Moving forward, the helm is simple but effective. There's room for a 12in sounder if you so choose, and the angle is directly in your face for optimum visibility without the glare. There's a glovebox for secure storage and the helm is finished with a very nice sports steering wheel. Our test boat hadn't been fitted with hydraulic steering, as per its purchaser's request. It was a little stiff at low revs but it performed well when on the plane. I've driven the same package with the hydraulic steering option and I highly recommend it.
The driving position is high and comfortable with a well-laid-out instrument cluster. Visibility whilst seated is a little obscured by the high dashboard and windscreen frame, but it's still quite acceptable. That said, the high-mount helm affords excellent all-round vision and you can lock yourself firmly against the helm seat should you prefer to stand.
I'd like a small footrest for the helm, and I'm sure this could be accommodated on request. The high-mount pedestal seats are fitted with swivels and slide adjusters, and the upholstery throughout the boat is thick, well padded and attractive. I was surprised to find the seat bases are only single-stapled and not lined and edged underneath. The passenger has a return moulding on the dash, as well as a grab-bar for security, which made one of offsiders feel very safe and comfortable as I threw the boat through its paces.
Anchoring is a breeze. There is a step down into the deep cabin that gives plenty of head room and storage under the short bunks. You could easily mount a Porta Potti on the flat step, or else this doubles as a platform for secure footing when anchoring. The large padded sidepockets deliver plenty of storage space, and also double as back rests. The cabin is finished in a simple speckled flowcoat for easy cleaning.
On the bow the moulded sprit, large cabin-hatch and enclosed anchor-hatch make mooring simple and easy. The bow is also defined by a strong 32mm stainless steel bowrail. Overhead, the genuine Haines Hunter stainless steel rocket launcher is a beauty. Strong, attractive and practical, it also provides the supporting structure for the high-quality bimini canopy and detachable clears.
The Haines Hunter 560 Classic Offshore has a huge 200lt underfloor fuel tank, giving it an extended offshore range. There's also a large killtank, and for additional safety all the underfloor cavities are foam-filled in between the complex matrix stringer system.
We were the envy of all onlookers at Melbourne's busy Altona boat ramp, and on the water too the 560 looks and sounds sensational. The Performance Deadrise Vee (PDV) hull delivers the exhilarating high performance we've come to expect from Haines Hunter products - and once again we've been spoiled.
To quote the Haines Hunter website: "The perfect combination for family boating and fishing fun, the 560 Classic Offshore series offers you advanced fishing requirements with a few more of the little luxuries you have come to expect from Haines Hunter."
I couldn't have said it any better myself. This "melting pot" of ideas and experience has made a statement to the boating industry.
Can trailerboating get any better than the Haines Hunter 560 Classic Offshore? I think any future improvements will only be little ones, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, this one's a beauty.
On the plane...
Big fuel capacity
Good dash, cabin and anchoring
Premium quality construction
Good accessories, solid stainless work
Dragging the chain...
Small vision impairment from windscreen frame whilst seated
No hydraulic steeringin test boat (optional)
to timber base
10.8kts (20kmh) @ 3000rpm
12.96kts (24kmh) @ 3200rpm (planing)
18.36kts (34kmh) @ 3500rpm (wants to go harder)
22.68kts (42kmh) @ 4000rpm (engine opens up and the hull starts to really perform)
27kts (50kmh) @ 4500rpm (power band cuts in)
31.32kts (58kmh) @ 5000rpm (feeling great!)
35.64kts (66kmh) @ 5500rpm (now we're cookin')
38.88kts (72kmh) @ 6000rpm (flying fast, solid and predictable at WOT)
Specifications: Haines Hunter 560 Classic Offshore
Priced from: $52,500
Options fitted: Mackay IM series trailer, Yamaha F150A four-stroke, rear lounge, plumbed livebait tank, deckwash, Furuno FCV585 sounder, 1kW Airmar thru-hull, Garmin 551 GPS, Rockford Fosgate iPod-compatible sound system, Icom VHF radio, twin-batteries, rocket launcher, bimini and clears, Haines Hunter premium baitboard
Price as tested: Approx. $69,990
Type: Deep-vee monohull
Length (LOA): 5.9m
Weight (approx.): 850kg
Fuel (approx.): 200lt
Rec. max. HP: 150hp
Make/model: Yamaha F150A
Type: Four-stroke DOHC in-line four-cylinder
Rated HP: 150
Gearbox ratio: 2.00:1
Propeller: 17P Yamaha Stainless
SUPPLIED & MANUFACTURED BY
56 East Derrimut Cr
Derrimut, Vic, 3030
Tel: (03) 9394 1540
Originally published in TrailerBoat 266.
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