By: Rick Huckstepp, Photography by: Rick Huckstepp

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The sturdily built Haines Hunter 600R now comes in a twin rig configuration. Rick Huckstepp compares that boat with its single-rigged sister ship




Versatility is the name of the game with many trailerboat manufacturers these days. Whether it's the layout of the boat to appease all in the family, as in a bow riding, skiing and fishing boat rolled into one or one that can take different engine applications for various reasons.
Haines Hunter's 600R is one that has been designed with a transom that can take a couple of engine options.
We tested these boats on Port Phillip Bay recently to see for ourselves the difference between single and twin engine set-ups on the one model. One was fitted with Evinrude's 200hp E-TEC and the other with a pair of Evinrude 115hp E-TEC's.
We launched both boats at Altona ramp and headed out 25km offshore of Carrum. It was two days post 100kmh winds and the Bay was still very unsettled with short, sharp chop to about 1.5m with the odd one at two. As with shallow bays such as Moreton in Queensland and Port Phillip, they become very prone to chop with the smallest amount of wind. With the latter picking up to 20kts during the morning we were assured of having some serious water on which to push these boats. We certainly weren't disappointed.
Heading away from the ramp in the single engine rig we took it to 6000rpm with the GPS SOG (speed over ground) varying between 78 and 80kmh. You could hold that speed over the top of the chop and noticeable was the soft ride, even when clearing the water completely and landing against the steep face of oncoming waves at that speed. There was no 'banging', either audibly or physically and also no shuddering which comes from hull flex due to excessive stress placed upon it. This rigidity is due in part to the extensive use of Divinicell as a liner on the inside of the hull which imparts stiffness and sound deadening characteristics. We don't know of any other manufacturers using this product which is very expensive in its own right but obviously worth it if it creates increased strength and quietness.




Running alongside of the twin rig 600R it was obvious that it remained on a more level attitude when coming down off waves than the single engine rig. The boat with the 200hp E-TEC tended to settle transom first off some of the bigger jumps. Considering the pair of 115hp engines collectively weighed approximately 102kg more than the single 200hp it can only be water drag on two legs that causes this, keeping the bow down. This is merely an observation rather than an issue, as what we were doing to these boats in the sort of conditions we were faced with was more than the average boater would ever contemplate. Dropping the rpm back to 4000 we cruised through the rough sea at 45kmh with very little spray up and over the bow and forequarters for a very comfortable ride.
Throwing both rigs around on this sort of sea failed to show any weaknesses; rather very direct tracking when taking on the messy chop from all directions.
At anchor, both boats are very stable and with the side boarding door removed, passing waves failed to enter the cockpit while fishing. These boats come with a lightweight board to use as a fence in the boarding aperture if you are inclined to remove the moulded infill which is bulky, to store in the cabin. Using the lightweight door the heavier one may be left at home.
In the V-berth, the use of an infill will sleep two and there is plenty of room in the leg well for those seated. If you are taller than 180cm your head will be close to the cabin roof. The roof hatch is large and gives easy access to the ground tackle if you don't opt for an electric winch. The single rig was fitted with a Lewmar winch which worked fine. It pulls the plough anchor up into a slot in a solid bowsprit and tension locks it in place.




Behind the helm bulkhead the looms look complicated. They are in fact the LowranceNET plug and play system which allows multi-function NMEA2000 communication between compliant engines and electronic instruments.
With seat bases lifted, stowage is found among the longitudinal stringers below.
At the helm, a carbon fibre faceplate has enough room for two 7in electronic units and a 10.5in would fit with ease. E-TEC's new I-Command instrumentation system is mounted in a recessed brow behind the electronics and radios are installed in the fascia above the aperture to the cabin. There is no flat room for gimbal mounted electronics on this helm, which featured Sea Star hydraulic steering.
The hardened glass windscreen wraps around the helm station and inside of that is mounted a sturdy grabrail.
The bimini is collapsible for towing or stowage and constructed of stainless steel tubing and fitted with removable clears. The clears are press studded but also have Velcro flaps which cover the zipping and prevents water coming in under pressure.
The sidepockets in the cockpit are two tiered with that at the top featuring a padded facia for comfort when leaning against it. The deckwash is installed here and there is plenty of foot room under the bottom pocket when standing and fishing.
The bait table is mammoth in size and provides a good leaning post when fishing over the transom or aft corners. That in the twin rig was a little more normal in size. A good sized killtank under deck will hold swag of fish.
Both rigs featured a step-through transom on the port side, one of them having the moulded door which acts as a step when opened on its hinges. A centrally located foldout rear lounge will seat two and when tucked away, it has a net pocket on its front. Access to the bilge is via a press studded curtain in the back of the rebate behind the lounge.




On the throttle, the 200 E-TEC had more punch out of the hole than the pair of 115s. It also seemed a little noisier than the pair but both were on a par with four-strokes as far as decibel output acceptability is concerned. That increase in noise sounded more like air rushing into the intake. Both attained similar speeds per rpm and both handled at the helm extremely well being dry in the face of adverse conditions.
As far as strength of hull is concerned, Haines Hunters are right up the top of the list and the manufacturer goes out of its way to ensure a product has longevity of life. This shows in the weight of these hulls compared with similar sized boats from other companies.
Comparing the two, one has to come to grips with parting with another nine grand to have an extra engine on the back. The 102 extra kilos of the twin rig will equate to some extent, albeit small, to extra fuel usage for the boat and tow vehicle.
Given that the holeshot of the twin rig as tested is still brilliant, $9000 is a lot of money to pay for an auxiliary motor if that is the reason you are going for twin engines. These days, engine break downs are minimal compared with old technology outboards so it is a point to ponder.
A large six-cylinder family car will tow these rigs provided you have the right rating on the tow bar.




Soft ride
Strong hull
Very capable small offshore boat









Specifications: Haines Hunter 600R




Price as tested:                $93,990 (twin rig); $84,990 (single rig)
Options fitted:                 Nil (twin and single)




Material:                          Fibreglass with Divinicell strengthening
Length overall:                 6.35m
Beam:                      2.4m
Weight:                           1150kg hull only




Fuel:                               210l
People berthed:               2
People day:                     7 inshore; 4 offshore      
Rec. max. HP:                    230
Max. transom weight:       270kg




Make/model:                   Evinrude E-TEC E115 x 2
Type:                              direct fuel injected V4 two-stroke
Weight:                           2 x 170kg
Rated HP:                       2 x 115
Displacement:                  1726cc each
Propeller:                        137/8 x 17in non counter rotating
VELS rating:                   3-star

Make/model:                   Evinrude E-TEC E200 H.O.
Type:                              Direct fuel injected V6 two-stroke
Weight:                           238kg
Rated HP:                       200
Displacement:                  2589cc
Propeller:                        14¾ x 17in
VELS rating:                   3-star




Port Phillip Boating Centre,
2/10 Wallace Avenue,
Point Cook, Vic, 3030
Phone: (03) 9369 0099
Fax: (03) 9369 9080



Originally published in TrailerBoat #225

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