By: Rick Huckstepp

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At the big end of the trailerboat market is the Haines Signature 675 Offshore. With stowage galour, a deep cockpit and the power, this new boat is safe and comfortable for travelling far from port, writes Rick Huckstepp




Usually the boat tests we present for you readers are conducted over half a day at a waterway close to the manufacturer and the writer. In my case, around South East Queensland with many of them are undertaken down at the Gold Coast or out in Moreton Bay. It's a convenience thing for sure.
Every now and then an opportunity arises that lets us spread our wings and one did recently when I got wind of a fishing trip aboard the Haines Signature 675 Offshore, a boat released at the Melbourne Boat Show this year.
The new rig and another 6m Signature were towed to Mooloolaba and from there we headed wide at 0430 hours bound for the northern end of Barwon Banks. This area has a huge ridge that runs from off Caloundra to the north off Noosa and is about 18km offshore and produces some good fishing on a regular basis.
With the forecast for five to 10 knots first thing, then freshening to 15 to 20 knots during the afternoon, we decided to push even farther north to some not often fished grounds while we had the opportunity.
The wind was down in the morning but the residual sloppy chop left over from relentless winds a few days prior made the surface a bit of a mess. The swell was about a metre but half to three-quarters of a metre waves were travelling across it.
The 675 wasn't fazed at all and we covered 74km to the first drop at a constant speed of 35kmh into oncoming sea with ease. By this stage we were about 55km off the Noosa coastline.




At rest in the water, we drifted a number of drops over four hours using a drogue off the transom. This boat exhibited very good stability with three anglers moving around its very spacious cockpit. The wind started to pick up by 1000 hours driving the sea a little higher but the 675 Offshore remained a good stable platform.
On the run home, we had a sea onto the starboard aft quarter while the swell was direct onto the stern. Running at 50kmh, the hull provided a very soft ride and punching into steep water, it proved to be very dry on the windscreen.
The big 300hp four-stroke Suzuki didn't change its tune all the way. While very quite, according to the onboard computer connected via NMEA2000 to the instrumentation, fuel consumption when cruising won't break the bank either.

The following is what we recorded in those conditions:
* 2200rpm/13.0kmh/14lt/h
* 3400rpm/26.0kmh/26lt/h
* 3800rpm/40.5kmh/31lt/h
* 4000rpm/45.5kmh/37lt/h
* 4400rpm/53.5kmh/42lt/h

At WOT, this rig is capable of nearly 80kmh in smooth conditions.
With electronic gear shifting and throttle, and electronic power steering, running this boat is like handling a small dinghy; very manoeuvrable and with absolutely minimum effort required to handle it at the helm.
The ride on this boat while very soft is also very quiet. The buoyancy installed in the hull, in the void between the cockpit liner and the hull, has made a noticeable difference in the amount of noise transmitted into the cockpit.




In the comfort department the cabin is accessed via a door that slides behind the helm. Once inside, the V-berth is wide enough to sleep two adults without installing the fibreglass infill that converts it to a double bed. The leg well is deep and a bi-fold door at its forward end accesses a portable toilet.
There is a noticeable lack of timber used in the structure of this boat, with hatches being fibreglass including those under the berths that access the stowage below. All of the hatches, baitboards and items, other than the large sections of the boat such as topside and hull, are manufactured by the Haines Group using the environmentally friendly vacuum method.
The dressing on the large sidepockets here is very suave, and the walls and roof are soft carpeted. A hatch in the forward bulkhead allows access to the chain locker below the Maxwell Freedom 500 anchor winch installed above.
Seated in the cabin, a 180cm person will have about 200mm clearance over their head.
In the deck of the leg well, there is a large compartment that drains to the bilge which would be ideal for soiled clothing etc. It is one of the many compartments that are scattered around the 675 Offshore and all feature rounded corners so they are easily washed and dried. With no sharp crevices, the growth of mould is greatly reduced.
At the companion way, there is a hatch in the deck that reveals another stowage area but the bottom of this one is actually another hatch that takes you into further stowage which also drains astern.
Aft of this compartment, another of around 200lt in volume is able to be flooded and bunged for use as a killtank. A long hatch running from there down the centre of the boat is opened to reveal the fuel tank which sits snug with all of the plumbing accessible for maintenance. This style of fuel tank installation complies with the CE requirements for equipment manufacture.
At the helm, another foot locker has an opening nylon lid and seating consists of padded inserts in full-fibreglass shells mounted on a swivel and sliding base upon independent stainless steel frames.




These 'riser' frames house within them Waeco's new model 90lt Cool-Ice. Their design is well thought out and the advantages displayed with this product have been seriously wanting in the icebox market. The rubber feet sit inside circular cut-outs fixed to the deck so the icebox can be fully installed or partially removed, in which case it may be used as a seat and it won't slide forward and aft. There is room for one of them under both seat risers and subsequently, this set-up goes a long way toward freeing up the cockpit as a work area. You can see these iceboxes advertised somewhere in this issue.
The dash is laid out with carbon fibre inserts and the steering may be adjusted to five angles. The dashboard is hinged and opens to avail one maintenance access behind, without having all the looms exposed inside the cabin.
A deep recess in the skipper's side cabin liner houses the electric throttle, gear shift and the CD/radio player. Oddly, the VHF radio is installed in the rebate for the passenger so if driving solo, one will have to leave the wheel to operate the radio. These two items require a swap.
Behind the shift, the trim tab buttons are handy to the right arm. These were Bennett brand and featured LED lights indicating the angle of the trim tab. At last! This is another feature that has been a long time coming in the trim tab department.




In keeping with the theme of more and more stowage area, the sidepockets are huge, about 230mm front to back with hinged fascias that allow larger objects such as tackle boxes to be installed and then retained by a bungy strap holding the fascia closed. There is one of these each side and above them a smaller sidepocket runs full length of the rebate in the liner.
Non-slip alloy decktread is fixed to the floor under the sidepockets that proved the feet with good grip when standing at the gunwales. The 675 Offshore features one of the deepest cockpits you will find in a trailerboat, making it brilliant for a family getaway without worrying about the height of the coamings and youngsters toppling overboard.
The rear lounge is similar to those in past Signature modules in that it folds up and away revealing a net stowage pocket in the face of the seat. The backrest also folds up to allow the fuel tank hatch to fully open.
A livebait tank sits in the transom and the offset baitboard is reversible so the edge of the table doesn't contact the head while people are seated on the rear lounge.
The batteries are stowed inside a drainable compartment in one of the steps outside of the cockpit and while there is a seal, albeit damaged on the test boat, it will be a hard job keeping saltwater out of here with big waves onto the transom when backing down on fish (I doubt an oversized gutter would prevent water intrusion). Batteries installed in typical battery boxes in this area might be less prone to damage out of direct-water contact.
The canopy frame is of high quality and covers a good part of the cockpit. An awning slides out from it and goes all the way back to a point above the front side of the transom bulkhead giving the maximum amount of shade possible.
Over the back of the transom bulkhead, a stainless steel rack holds a pair of fenders or a pair of 88ft³ dive tanks. Nicely thought out that!
You have got to give the Haines Group top marks for innovation when it comes to making as much stowage space as possible. Every little nook and cranny is put to good use.
And some of their ideas are truly innovative.




Stowage and lots of it
No timber panels
Easy fuel tank access
Soft, quiet ride in choppy seas




VHF radio not accessible to skipper
Batteries need to be housed in battery boxes





Specifications: Haines Signature 675 Offshore




Price as tested:                $131,081
Options fitted:                 Targa top, all electronics, suede upgrade in cabin, carpet, compass, footrest, transom steps, ladder, cockpit lights, deck-wash plumbing, outriggers, windscreen grabrail, seat risers and Waeco ice boxes, power steering unit and digital throttle
Priced from:                    $98,328



Material:                          Fibreglass
Length overall:                 6.89m
Beam:                    2.50m
Weight:                           1200kg (hull only), 2.5t (BMT)




Fuel:                               280lt
People day:                     8
People night:                   2
Rec. max. HP:                  300
Rec. min. HP:                  175
Rec. min. tow vehicle:     Toyota LandCruiser or larger




Make/model:                   Suzuki DF300
Type:                              V6 DOHC 24-valve Multi Point Sequential EFI four-stroke
Weight:                           279kg
Rated HP:                        300
Displacement:                  4028cc
Gearbox ratio:                 2.08:1
Propeller:                        Three-blade 16in x 18.5in pitch




Springwood Marine,
3445 Pacific Highway,
Springwood, Qld, 4127
Phone: (07) 3884 7250
Fax: (07) 3884 7290



Originally published in TrailerBoat #227 

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