By: Rick Huckstepp

Coastal fishing and heading out over the shelf would be all in a day’s work for Haines Hunter’s 8m Patriot, reckons Rick Huckstepp. He took it for a spin on a calm, but cold, Port Phillip

Haines Hunter’s Patriot series has been on the market for about four years and continues to turn heads on the various waterways around this country.
We had a look at one on Port Phillip Bay in Melbourne on a cold and absolutely calm winter day that did nothing to help put the credentials of this flash rig to the test.
The test was held during New World Honda’s open weekend, held out of Patterson Lakes. This Patriot was rigged for bottom fishing in the bay and offshore fishing.
Rigged with a pair of counter-rotating Honda BF225 engines, it was definitely not short of grunt when it came to getting out of the hole or winding itself up to full throttle.
Taking the tacho to 6000rpm, the GPS registered 86km/h and getting there was a rapid process indeed. From dead in the water, the hull could rocket out of the hole effortlessly and, backing off, it seemed to settle into any cruise speed desired. The engines were trimmed, with the controls on the remote gear change or by the toggle stems fixed to the helm pump. These are aftermarket accessories from Teleflex and they connect directly into the wiring loom supplied by Honda. Their installation provides for easy trim, allowing the driver to keep both hands on the wheel when travelling at speed.
Seastar hydraulic steering was fitted, with one pump driving the drag link to the second engine. It was effortless to control the Patriot at all speeds and levels of trim, even with high-speed manoeuvring.
As mentioned, Port Phillip’s waters were as flat as a pancake, but with four other boats being tested by various journalists on the day, there was plenty of big wash to push the Patriot over.

The Patriot’s hull was purposefully overbuilt to provide the buyer with a strong and robust sea-going boat. The manufacturer says that the glass lay up on the bottom of the hull near the keel line is 50mm thick, with three layers of mat included. Certainly the tap test on the corners of the hull indicated that it was rock hard and certainly strong enough to put it in the class of one of the strongest built fibreglass boats in this category on the market today.
With both engines astern, steering from lock to lock was direct, with no aeration at the propeller. This makes it a viable boat to install a chair in if you got weary of stand-up fishing. A chair can be fitted at the factory as an option. But those nimble enough with a fully-loaded stand-up rod will welcome the walkaround cabin, which has enough width inside the sturdy 32mm stainless steel bowrails to allow you to follow a big fish.
There is plenty of room at the bow to manoeuvre, should you be using manual ground tackle rather than the Lewmar electric winch that was fitted on the test boat.
The top of the cabin had a non-slip finish around a very large, tinted opening hatch. There is enough space in this area to tie down an inflatable tender for going ashore.
At the dash, the instrumentation was well laid out, and a plotter with a 12-inch screen could easily be flush-mounted here.

Seating at the helm was on a double unit with a wraparound back, behind which there was a stainless steel grabrail for passengers standing behind the seats. With the seat slid all the way aft, my upper legs contacted both the wheel and the front of the seat base when standing. Buyers should be aware that an optional seat with further aft travel is available and should be contemplated, as the unit tested was quite cramped for space in this department.
A refrigeration compressor was installed behind a vertical hatch in the cabin liner to service an evaporator, installed in a small insulated box under the helm seat. The wide door would make for easy loading, unloading and cleaning of this 200-odd litre compartment. An optional bench seat may be installed on the back of the helm seat module for people facing astern.
The test Patriot had a full sized hard top and the rocket launcher was easy to access.
The transom bulkhead is a very workable station for fishing and bait rigging. It featured a large livebait tank, plumbed sink, and a lift-up lid, revealing cutting boards rebated into the coamings. Other cutting boards are flush-mounted in the port and starboard aft corners of the coamings.
Another large stowage area in the cockpit floor against the transom bulkhead allowed access to the bilge and fuel filler and breather fittings at the end of the 500lt underfloor fuel tank.
With the seat module against the starboard side of the boat, the companionway to the helm area and lock-up cabin was located on the port side. The cabin liner here featured another vertical hatch, behind which is room to store tackle. A nearby hatch in the floor opened to a kill/wet stowage tank that drains to the transom. The standard port side pocket in the cockpit had been converted to a lockup compartment for gaffs and boat hooks as well.
With this boat being on loan, the owner’s valuable gear was locked in the cabin and we were therefore unable to access the inside. It is, however, set up to berth four people. And, having been in other 8m Patriots, the space on offer is substantial.
Two other drainable kill tanks feature in the cockpit floor. These may be filled and left filled for extra low centre of gravity stability. At around 1.2m in length each, they will accept mackerel of a decent size.
More vertical hatches in the cockpit revealed storage space for cleaning gear and deck hoses.
Access to the full-width floating transom was via a half door that featured a nylon-type, hinged, lift-up tread, which hid the fuel filler. Any spillage would stay out of the cockpit with this setup.
This boat comes in at the top end of the trailerable boat market. At over three tonnes, it will require a large vehicle such as a LandCruiser or Ford pick-up to get the towing done.
Coastal fishing and long ranging over the continental shelf will not be a problem for the Patriot. It will put up with a lot of big sea before needing to head home.

Strong, fast and agile
Very little water noise through hull
Quiet when on the plane and at full revs
Practical setup for estuary, coastal and offshore fishing

The bench seat arrangement as tested would not suit most people


Specifications: Haines Hunter 8m Patriot

Price as tested:   $164,000
Options fitted:   Hard top and rocket launcher, deck kill tanks,
    windscreen grabrail, padded side coamings,
    bench-style helm seat, wood grain dash, trim tabs,
    electric toilet and infill, plumbed livebait tank,
    cabin doors, windscreen wiper, duel binnacle controls,
    premium gauges, clears, light in bilge, compass,
    radios, trim toggle switches, outriggers, flood lights.
Priced from:   $145,500

Material:   Fibreglass
Length overall:  8.23m
Beam:    2.5m
Weight:   1900kg hull only
Weight as tested on trailer: 3480kg

Berths:    4
Fuel:    500lt
Freshwater:   65
Rec/max HP:   300
Rec/min HP:   150
People:    9

Make/model:   Honda BF225 x 2
Type:    Four-stroke fuel-injected SOHC V6
Weight:   267kg (long leg) 
Rated HP:   225
Displacement:   3471cc
Gearbox ratio:   1.87:1
Propeller:   19in counter-rotating

New World Honda,
518 Princes Highway,
Berwick, VIC, 3806
Phone: (03) 8794 0000

Originally published in TrailerBoat #209


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