BOAT TEST: SIGNATURE 600C

By: KEVIN SMITH


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After trying out the Haines Group’s Signature 600C, Kevin "Froggy" Smith reckons he's found the perfect 6m crossover - a boat to keep the family smiling but with enough room for cheeky offshore forays.

BOAT TEST: SIGNATURE 600C
Haines Hunter Signature 600C

I've tested quite a few Signatures in my time but the 600C would probably rate as the most elegant of the lot. Rather than just a good old multi-purpose family fishing vessel, the 600C has executive looks that will attract the likes of mum (the real decision maker) and follows up with an equally executive feel the moment you step onboard.

Indeed, when I set foot on this boat the first thing I thought of was how much my wife would like it as our own trailerboat. Come to think of it, I felt exactly the same way.

Comfort on a trailerboat is really something you have to consider carefully nowadays if you have a family, particularly as it may not be conducive to your personal boating and fishing habits.

Basically, if you want your family to willingly join you out on the water, you have to pay the price and find something that'll suit them.

 



STYLISH TRAILERBOATING



The Signature 600C easily fills the gap I just mentioned. It's not only a reasonable fishing vessel, it also serves as a comfortable overnighter, thanks in large part to a basket-load of finer touches and luxuries that make boating so much more pleasurable.

The first thing that grabbed me was just how well the space had been used on this boat; so much of what is found throughout the layout is only possible because of the ingenious use of space. Wherever you look, every part of the layout has a purpose and a fitting or accessory, rather than merely a blank spot that could be filled. This is the case from stern to bow, and everywhere you cast your eyes you'll see an above-average finish.

Take a closer look, however, and you'll find even more on offer in this layout. There's dual boarding platforms off the stern with decent-sized grabrails on either side. The stern has the usual Signature moulded-livewell / icebox / storage, rear lounger and transom door, but on this boat they're all a touch more modern. The rear lounger follows the lines of the enginewell rather than being a standard straight bench, and it really looks great. The seat also unlocks and can be removed, which is perfect for the dedicated fishing days.

But wait, there's more! Instead of standard sidepockets in the gunwales, the 600C has double panels on either side with designated spots for gear stowage and deckwash hosing, as well as lighting and a battery isolator fitted on the underside of the coaming. As I said before, no space is wasted on this boat.

The outstanding onboard feature is the passenger seating on the port side. It's a wraparound back-to-back seat that converts to a mini-galley. The seats are hinged and when opened there's a small gas cooker, shelving for cutlery, a small sink, and even an icebox - perfect for overnight stays and onboard entertaining. I could picture myself having a cold one while slapping some freshly-caught seafood in the pot and flicking a line out the back.

Other notable onboard features were the neat and flash-looking dash setup at the helm, the twin berth cabin setup with plush suede upgrade, the toilet, the full camp-covers / flyscreens, and a heap of optional and standard fittings - literally too many to mention.

 

 

SMOOTH OPERATOR



The 600C boasts the typical soft and refined ride found throughout the Signature range. I found the ride was better than the smaller models, probably due to the fact it's heavier on the water.

Our test boat was fitted with a 175hp Suzuki four-stroke, the maximum horsepower rating for this model. Holeshot was good but not like lightning, which I suppose fits well with its cruising and pleasure applications.

Nonetheless, it still had enough low-down guts to suit skiing, and it still managed to get up to a top-end of 69kmh (37.2kts). The speed transition was very smooth with the Suzuki 175 four-stroke and they do run ever so quietly.

This hull design works well and has a soft, dry ride, along with good stability on the plane. Trim tabs are always a win on a monohull, and in this case it was simple enough to fine tune the ride to suit the conditions and the weight onboard.

Unfortunately the conditions on the test day were flat on the Gold Coast Broadwater, which made it a bit tricky to get a good feel for the ride and handling in the rough stuff. However, I've spent many hours on the Signature range and not once have I found reason to bleat about the ride. Indeed, after giving the 600C a good workout at speed through wakes and tight turns I couldn't quibble about the handling. I'd hardly classify the 600C as a raceboat, but rather as a smooth-riding family cruiser.

 

 

THE WRAP



The 600C is a very classy offering from the Signature range. The ergonomics of the layout, numerous accessories, and fine-tuned finishes would definitely appeal to the ladies and general family boaters.

On top of that, you have a boat that'll comfortably suit overnighting on the water within bays or fishing offshore. At 6m it's not oversized, but does have a package weight of approximately two tonnes, so a reasonably-sized tow vehicle is necessary.

At $81,457 it's not a budget boat, but it does have plenty to offer within the layout, and a bus-load of accessories that add up to a fair wad on their own.

 

 

On the plane...


Superb executive feel throughout
Ingenious passenger seat conversion
Suitable for families and overnighting
Good vision through screen while seated

 



Dragging the chain...


Could do with an extra passenger grabrail
Cold beer and a prime rib sizzling on the barbeque were sadly absent

 

 



SPECIFICATIONS - SIGNATURE 600C

 

 


HOW MUCH?


Price as tested: $81,457
Options fitted: 12V plug (additional), bunk cushions and panels upgrade, bunk infill and cushions, camper covers / flyscreens, compass dash mount, stainless ladder, lighting (recessed cockpit), livebait tank / deckwash, Maxwell winch kit, 27Mhz and VHF radios with aerial, seating (port side back-to-back), port side back-to-back / storage (includes galley), freshwater tank, stove cupboards, icebox and plumbing, shower (handheld), stereo, removable table, trim tabs, two-tone deck, two-tone hull, stainless windscreen rail, Suzuki 175 DX, Garmin 750S and GMI10, Dunbier trailer AS6.2M-14THE (axle upgrade)
Priced from: $62,850

 

 

GENERAL


Type: Deep-vee family / fishing / overnighter
Material: GRP
Length: 5.95m
Beam: 2.43m
Weight (hull): Approx. 850kg
Weight (total package): Approx. 2050kg
Deadrise: 21-33° variable

 

 

CAPACITIES


People: 8
Min HP rec: 115
Max. HP: 175
Fuel: 150lt
Water: 45lt (optional)

 



ENGINE


Make/model: Suzuki DF 175 TX
Type: Four-cylinder, multi-point sequential, electronic fuel-injection four-stroke
Displacement: 2867cc
Engine weight: 220kg
Gear ratio: 2.5:1
Propeller: 21in

 



SUPPLIED & MANUFACTURED BY


The Haines Group
140 Viking Drive
Wacol, Qld, 4076
Tel: (07) 3271 4400
Web: www.thehainesgroup.com

 

Story and photos: Kevin Smith
First published in TrailerBoat #281

Find Signature boats for sale.

 


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