By: Rick Huckstepp

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The F in the Haines Signature 580F is for fishing but, as Rick Huckstepp found, it can also appeal to a wider audience.



FROM THE ARCHIVE: First published in TrailerBoat #218, Apr 2007




Getting a true 'crossover' boat, one that will appease all segments of the family, is really difficult. Peruse some back issues of trailerBoat and you will see many different models from just as many manufacturers both Oz and OS that attempt to get the mix right.
The Haines Group make no bones about it, their Signature 580F boat is designed with the serious fisho in mind, hence the 'F' in the model ID. But, should you want to tow the family around, it does have an optional ski pole that fits into the transom bulkhead and is secured by a steel pin in the deck below. An optional and functional baitboard attaches to the ski pole.
This hull bottom has been part of the Signature range for a couple of years but the new style topside was first released at the 2006 Melbourne Boat Show.
I tested this boat on Moreton Bay on a chopped up day with about 15kmh wind from the south east. Typically, this area just south of the Brisbane River mouth stands up sharply as it was on the test day.
Jumping aboard one notices the high gunwales at the transom end of the cockpit and they rise even higher toward the helm where they reach the lower waist.
A curved windscreen sits below a canvas bimini with clears joining the two. A zip open window allows for fresh air to pass through when on the plane. The back of the bimini held six rod holders and a water proof deck light was installed underneath.
The pair of pedestal seats are some of the more comfortable ones I have sat in. They featured a wrap around backrest with good support for the thighs to prevent one from sliding off and this was rebated down toward the rear of the base to allow the backside room to spread out. The helm was Sea Star hydraulic and installed near vertical on the bulkhead at a comfortable height. Instrumentation was neatly laid out and a padded brow over the top of the display added to the dressy appearance of the helm station. A flat area next to the brow would make a good mounting spot for gimbal held electronics and an odd shaped deep rebate in front of the passenger will hold a lot of trinkets and prevent them from sliding around the dash and cockpit. The drink container holders installed in this boat will not hold a foam insulator.
A small footrest on the helm bulkhead featured a nylon lid which opened for stowage of gear and this compartment is not water resistant.
A top mounted 787C Humminbird sounder/GPS combo was installed on the dash and a GME radio and Clarion radio/CD player flush mounted.
This boat featured a lock up cabin with the companionway capable of allowing a bulky adult through and secured with a nylon bi-fold door which is padlockable. There is a step down leading into the cabin and aft of that is a removable hatch in the deck for wet stowage. It has a removable bulkhead at its forward end that makes for a longer rebate for an easier thoroughfare to and from the cabin if that is your preference.
Inside the cabin, suede look upholstery is used on the cushions and backrests which are quite wide for roomy stowage.
This boat is fitted with a Maxwell Freedom winch secreted under a large, gas strutted anchor well hatch which can be accessed via the tinted hatch in the cabin roof should any of the ground tackle require attention manually. Under the vee-berth more stowage space is available and a portable removable toilet is installed here. It was covered and sat behind a removable bulkhead. At a squeeze two large adults could bunk down here.
With such high, swept up coamings in the forward part of the cockpit there is ample space for stowage and the Haines Group have utilised this asset well. Next to the passenger's elbow is a hard nylon vertical hatch which opens to a double row tackle tray locker holding 10 small trays and below that, a recess in the lining is large enough for an EPIRB and fire extinguisher to be mounted side by side. Available as an option is a butane gas burner in place of the tackle draw setup.
Aft of that, the sidepockets are two tiered on each side. The back end of the pocket hosts padded holes through which rod butts are inserted while the blank rests in a hook at the other end over which elastic straps may be used to hold them secure. Boat hooks and gaffs may also be installed here. The top sidepocket is tucked up high under the gunwale offering a certain amount of water proofing for gear stowed there. A deck wash tap is installed at the aft end of the portside pocket. Also portside, a large live bait tank is installed in the transom bulkhead.
Across the inside of this bulkhead, permanent cushioning is installed making it a comfortable place to lean and fish. The rear lounge consists of a storage bin full beam of the cockpit with a hinged padded seat on top, and the entire assembly can be removed for fishing.
Out the back, a small swim out on each side of the outboard motor made for easy boarding on the beach, while that on the starboard side featured a fold up telescopic ladder which was a little too large for the base it was mounted on. The ladder, when folded up, contacted the transom bulkhead with gelcoat damage underway.
The 580F is a nippy boat on the water. It chewed through the 0.8 to 1.0 metre of chop from all angles and remained dry and, typical for Moreton Bay in any boat, some that hit at an angle were a little hard.
We did experience some aeration at the propeller on very hard, high speed turns and a lowering of the engine one bolt hole will see that remedied. As for turning, this boat can heel right over at high speeds creating minimal inertia for the occupants. Hole shot was good and, unless you and your mates are really overweight, you won't need to option up to the maximum horse power. Wound out to 6100rpm the Suzuki displayed 39mph on the speedometer which is just above 63kmh.
Towing wise, a big six-cylinder such as Falcon or Commodore with an appropriate tow pack will handle this rig on the road.




High gunwales for safe rough water fishing
Good workable deck area
Handy stowage for anglers




Aeration at propeller during high speed turns
Damage to gelcoat from installed boarding ladder




Specifications: Haines Signature 580F




Price as tested:                $59,990
Options fitted:               Bimini, bowrail, steps, cockpit lights, bunk cushions, lounge, carpet, compass, Humminbird, radio, targa, marine battery safety gear, registration, and tandem axle trailer
Priced from:                    $53,990




Material:                          Fibreglass
Length overall:                 5.80m
Beam:                          2.32m
Deadrise:                         33 to 21 degrees
Weight:                           800kg (hull only)




Passengers:                     7 or up to 525kg
Max. payload:                  700kg
Buoyancy:                       Basic
Rec. max HP:                   115
Rec. min HP:                    150
Max engine weight on
 transom:                         240kg




Make/model:                 Suzuki DF140
Type:                              Four-stoke DOHC 16-valve
Rated HP:                        140
Weight:                           186kg
Gearbox ratio:                 2.38:1
Propeller:                        14 x 19in




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



WORDS Rick Huckstepp

Originally published in TrailerBoat #218

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