By: Rick Huckstepp

If small boats are on the decline in a market of big trailerboats, then it’s not due to a lack of options for buyers. Rick Huckstepp reckons the Haines Traveller TC 165 is a beaut entry level craft

With all the glitz of the big trailerboat market, one could be excused for thinking that small boats are on the wane. Sure, there’s plenty of tinnies to satisfy the desires of the many families, anglers and watersports enthusiasts, but alloy is not everyone’s cup of tea.
Some still hold faithfully to fibreglass, and those looking for something small and trailerable, which offer distinct advantages in the usable space department, could do worse than the Haines Traveller TC 165.
This boat is dedicated to the entry level buyer, but will also appeal to those looking for a cheap boat with a few of the trimmings that are often missing in budget packages.
The model we tested was fitted with Suzuki’s 70hp four-stroke motor and it proved to be just the donk to keep this boat within the realms of many people’s financial constraints, while at the same time offering an ample amount of power.
This cuddy cabin boat has a walkthrough screen and the rebate in the dash aft of it is large enough to allow you to be right on top of the anchor while pulling in the ground tackle. A large tray inside the cabin receives the rope, chain, and anchor.
Being only a short cabin, the berths are small yet large enough for a couple of kids to bunk down on, while a large adult could comfortably lean back on the large back rests that make up the surround pockets.
Seating at the helm and for the passenger is fixed to bases that form part of the cabin liner. The fronts of these are ported to allow gear stowage. The inner side of each of these sections features a rebated wedge in the fibreglass, into which a purpose-built, cushioned icebox locks into.
This allows seating for a couple of kids or a large adult between the bucket seats and stops the icebox from sliding around the deck in rough conditions.
The engine well on the Traveller protrudes into the cockpit and the resulting rebate on the starboard side allows you to stand and fish with something to lean against.
There is as tank on the opposite side that can be plumbed for livebait or left as is for wet gear stowage or rubbish. The fronts of these sections feature vinyl curtains, which, when removed, reveal tote tanks for fuel and fuel plumbing across the transom. In deck there is a large kill tank that can be optioned for an 80lt fuel tank.
Out on the Broadwater, we wound the Suzuki out to 5900rpm, the speedometer reading 55kmh with three adults aboard. The mechanical steering was a little torque prone fully trimmed in, but once correctly trimmed out it was easy to steer.
Running boat wash was gentle and very little spray hit the windscreen. This was, in part, due to the bulbous side of the hull above the water line, which deflects a lot of spray and offers more internal beam than average for a boat of this length.
Viewed front on, this shape looks vaguely similar to that on Ocean Masters and a rounded version of what Stabi-Craft features on its hulls.
With a 15-inch propeller, this outfit would suit a family of four, two adults and two children, who would have fun growing up in a boat that serves many purposes.
It won’t take up too much room in the driveway or shed/carport, and will tow behind a six-cylinder family car without any problems.

Icebox design
Ability to get on top of the ground tackle for retrieval
Fast with minimal horsepower, which will save petrol



Specifications: Haines Traveller TC 165

Price as tested:     $31,970
Options fitted:     Canopy, icebox, compass, and back rests
      in cabin, bunk cushions,
Priced from:     $29,750

Material:     Fibreglass
Length (overall):    5.09m
Beam:      2.21
Deadrise:     22.5°
Weight (hull only):    475kg
Weight (towing):    1100kg
Fuel:      Tote tanks
Passengers:     Five
Rec/max HP:     90
Rec/min HP:     50

Make and model:       Suzuki DF70TL
Type:         Four-stroke four-cylinder
Rated HP:        70
Displacement:        1298cc
Weight:        162kg
Gearbox ratio:        12.29 (242)
Propeller:        15-inch

The Haines Group,
PO Box 820,
Mt Ommaney, 4074, Qld.
Phone: (07) 3271 4400
Fax: (07) 3271 4054

Originally published in TrailerBoat #205


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