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The Signature 485SF is a new class of fibreglass fisher from The Haines Group and a low-cost alternative to some high-priced bass boats, notes Rick Huckstepp



A smart little number from the Haines Group has been floated on our waters in the form of the 485SF. For a small boat, this rig has amazing performance and versatility, and we had a good time putting it through its paces down at the Gold Coast recently.
The finish on this boat is as good as it gets in fibreglass, due to the use of  RIVALE technology, a technique which eventually will be more commonly used in this country, if not compulsory, due to its environmental friendliness during fibreglass product construction.
The process is one where two moulds are put together with the required amount of special matt cloth inserted between and the void between is vacuumed while resin is pumped in. This removes the issue of wet resin vapour flying though the air, but also ensures that there are no air pockets anywhere in the finished product.
The resulting products are strong with less chance of air pockets, material usages are more easily controlled and the finish is first class ? you can see this throughout the Signature 485SF. How strong? Well if you had been to any of the capital city boat shows last year you would have seen one of these hulls upside down on the floor with a 4WD parked on top of it - that strong!
We found the test boat, chock a block full of stowage and it is here that you realise the advantages of this relatively new technique.
Hatches are heavier but thinner and stronger than those featuring timber cores seen in the past and the finish is smooth on both sides due to the fact there is no manual spraying with chopper guns or hand rolling resin into the matt.
At the bow there is a hatch that will take a large Danforth or small grappling anchor. It seemed a shame that such a beautiful finish inside here would get knocked around by the ground tackle but a carpet lining might lessen the guilt.
Stepping down onto the forward casting deck there is another hatch that features a seat post base inserted in it. This is an option we would go for as there are no bowrails on the forequarters and a high bumseat is just the thing for stability when standing up in choppy water. Under that hatch is the cranking battery.
This boat may have an optional electric motor mount and a larger battery could be fitted into this compartment. We guess a 130amp/h battery running lengthways along the centreline would be a good supply to a 12V unit, although you would have to source another compartment to install the crank battery. Perhaps in the console would be ideal?
The most aft hatch in the forward casting deck is wide and makes an ideal killtank or icebox as do all of the other underdeck compartments in the 485SF due to the build and assembly of this craft.


The Haines Group utilise the same build on the 600RS, 675 and 600 bowrider hulls which they call Nexus, a system whereby the bottom hull is formed and the top liner is lowered inside.
The bottoms of the compartments of the top liner contact the inside of the hull where it is glued with methyl methacrylate. The voids throughout the boat are then pumped with foam to add further strength and sound proofing not to mention offering a boost to buoyancy.
The rolled inner edges of the side coamings on the base hull are further strengthened with the optional installation of an inner moulded coaming to square off the length of the cockpit. The internals of these coamings are then filled with long noodles of foam, the same as those kids play with in swimming pools. This allows the electrical wiring and other cabling to be passed through the void, among the noodles, while giving this boat positive buoyancy.
Another icebox is situated on the cockpit deck up against the forward casting platform bulkhead and a textured surface deck runs aft to the short casting platform that is loaded with hatches holding safety and other gear.
At the helm, a small wind deflector sits atop a well laid out console. It is small but big enough to do the job, housing a Furuno 7000F combination unit on a gimbal (borrowed for the test) while the Suzuki instrumentation is recessed. The compartment under this console is small but you would get a standard 70amp/h crank battery there if need be.
The swivel seating is removable can be shifted to even out the weight distribution if need be.


Put to the test, this boat is surprising for its size. We took it out through the Seaway and five kilometres off the coast. Although there was only a small swell running, there was plenty of chop to run over.
Noticeable was the lack of flexing in the hull and the soft quiet ride. We only got the hull to bang once and that is when we went across the wake of a 47-foot Riviera at full noise running north along the Broadwater. Other than that, this boat is gentle on the bones to say the least and quiet while it is at it.
Fitted with manual cable steering it displayed the typical torque at the helm when trimmed fully in ? and it had to be fully in for hard fast cornering.
Trimmed out, this boat is a little rocket and keeps a bow-down attitude most of the time, so it likes plenty of trim out which does not affect its direct steering.
Also noticeable was the dry ride. We had a wind of about 10 to 15kmh from the southeast and with the wind pushing over various quarters there was no need to dry the sunnies. This was due in part to the aggressive overhang of the coamings to the outside of the hull which downturned any water creeping up the side of the hull.
When one was seated and holding onto the sides you could feel the water contacting the hand, but deflected down and away. What was missing for the seated passenger was a handrail on that coaming.
 You may get this boat in a tiller-control 70hp version and also as a bare shell without the casting decks and console or inner gunwale add-ons. A maximum horsepower of 90 may be fitted to the 485SF but only with a helm wheel operation. As tested, with the latest model DF70 Suzuki four-stroke, this boat is a nicely balanced package offering good holeshot capability with two large adults aboard.
The engine hummed along at its comfortable cruise speed of 45kmh while running at 4250rpm and at WOT of 5600 it reached a speed of 62kmh and quietly so.
With an engine operating range of 5000 to 6000rpm there is room to move should you wish to prop this outfit to suit your style of boating. And no matter what that style would be, you will be doing it in style with the 485SF. This is a very tidy rig from The Haines Group.


A low-profile boat that creates less wind drift
This could be a cheap alternative to an expensive bass style boat Quiet, dry and soft ride


We tried hard to find fault with this rig but didn't other than the lack of a handrail for the passenger seated next to the skipper



Specifications: Haines Signature 485SF

Price as tested:   $36,500  
Options fitted:   Nil (Furuno unit not included in test)

Material:    Fibreglass
Construction: RIVALE (resin injected, vacuum assist, low emission)
Length: 4.85m
Beam: 2.05m
Weight: 320kg (bare shell hull)

Fuel: 130lt
People: 5
Rec. max. HP: 90
Rec. min. HP: 30 (bare shell hull)
Rec. max. engine weight: 155kg

Make/model: Suzuki DF70
Type: Four-cylinder four-stroke
Rated HP: 70
Displacement: 1502cc
Weight: 155kg 
Gearbox ratio: 2.59:1
Propeller: 19-inch
VELS rating: 3-star

Springwood Marine,
3445 Pacific Highway,
Springwood, Qld, 4127

Phone: (07) 3884 7250

Originally published in TrailerBoat #240 

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