Review: Haines Hunter 675 Offshore HT

By: ANGELO SAN GIORGIO, Photography by: NATHAN JACOBS


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For our reviewer, the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore HT (Hard Top) meant getting reacquainted with an old flame that’s undergone significant cosmetic surgery.

In a previous life I sold Haines Hunter boats. I’ll also confess to nominating the Haines Hunter 650 Classic – the predecessor to this rig – as one of my favourite boats of all time. Oh, and I worked with Haines Hunter for a bit too, so I guess you could say that I’m familiar with the brand. But therein lay my dilemma: what if the new Haines Hunter 675 Offshore didn’t live up to the legacy? What if they fiddled around with the original so much that they stuffed up all the good bits I liked? I was about to find out.

 


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HAINES HUNTER 675 OFFSHORE HARD TOP

Haines Hunter 675 Offshore Hardtop

The Haines Hunter 675 Offshore HT (Hard Top) I was invited to test is the personal ride of Jack Auld, a fanatical Melbourne-based fisho with a proclivity for chasing big fish out wide. It effectively replaces the much vaunted Haines Hunter 650 Classic and shares its basic hull architecture with the current Haines Hunter 650R Limited and the 650 Enclosed.

While the lineage is unmistakable, the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore’s new top deck incorporates a host of subtle variations that coalesce to form a thoroughly refreshed platform. The new truncated cabin provides decent shelter, generous storage and a stable mounting point for its optional  fibreglass crash helmet while the expansive work zone is longer as a result, easily capable of accommodating  four anglers on the job.

The Haines Hunter 675 Offshore’s revised floor has been raised 150mm over its predecessor’s. Foam-filled as standard, it encloses an intricate lattice of ‘glass-encapsulated marine ply forming Haines Hunter’s Structural Safety Matrix (SSM), the foundation of this and every other Haines Hunter.  The floor itself is available in two flavours: either flowcoated with a removable panel above the 280lt fueltank or fully glassed and flowcoated ready for your choice of floor covering.

 

FISHABILITY

Haines Hunter 675 Offshore HT fishing boat

As a sportsfisher, the layout of our demonstrator is bang on, more akin to the cockpit of a Cairns gameboat than a 20-something foot trailerable all-rounder.

 The transom layout is well executed and wants for very little. Haines Hunter’s medium bait station resides here and is topped by a four way rod rack and flanked on either side by a plumbed livebait tank, each with its own viewing window. The optional snapper (rod) rack traces the lines of the transom and is neat and unobtrusive. When rods are deployed, the tips sit low to the water reducing bows in the line. Due to the rack’s low profile however, the bait tank lids were split and hinged to provide access to the tanks when the rack is in situ. Clever!

Recessed into the rear bulkhead is a pair of Sopac hatches, providing access to the boat’s plumbing and bilge. In most hulls, this is also where the batteries would reside but not in the 675 Offshore. Instead the house and crank batteries occupy their own dedicated splashproof locker integrated into the side panels. A removable bench seat module is available as an option, but to be honest I’d stick with the standard layout and have my passengers stand.

 

LAYOUT

Haines Hunter 675 Offshore layout

I really liked the standard driver’s side dive door. Originally offered as a cut and shut option on earlier models, it is now standard on the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore and formed in the mould. The end result is not only a cleaner appearance but also a more snug fit making it less prone to leaking when side-on to a swell. Convenient recessed stainless steel handrails are a thoughtful touch and come in handy when out in the slop.

The helm also came in for a cosmetic makeover. Gone are the 650 Classic’s flowing lines that cascaded from the helm across to the passenger glovebox. It looked and functioned well a decade ago, but a transition from round analogue to multifunction digital gauges by engine manufacturers and the trend towards ever increasing sounder/GPS proportions necessitated a rethink. The end result is not unlike a compact aircraft cockpit replete with its own low-profile tinted visor that deflects glare from the head units and gauges. In this instance, a flush-mounted Furuno 295 head unit sits below a Yamaha High Definition Gauge and the head unit for the integrated Rockford Fosgate sound system. Carbon fibre-look  trim was added by the owner for effect.

 

HARDTOP

Hardtop on Haines Hunter 675

The optional hardtop makes an emphatic statement and enhances the 675’s cab-forward profile. Jack eschewed the fully enclosed route in favour of an open variant with removable front and side clears and collaborated with Haines Hunter’s R&D team to engineer the boating equivalent of the Eiffel Tower.

Featuring a substantial 50mm stainless scaffold that supports a sharp-looking moulded lid, this roof is one of the most impressive I’ve seen on a locally produced boat. Aesthetics aside, attention to practical detail abounds. Reinforced pads in the roof can accommodate radar, antennae and a searchlight while an integrated lip at the rear spans the width of the roof and prevents water running back into the cockpit when accelerating. An overhead rod rack was similarly upgraded to accommodate up to 11 rods and a substantial grab rail finishes the well-conceived structure.

 

HANDLING AND RIDE

Haines Hunter 675 handling

What you really want to know though, is how it performs, right? In short, just like I remembered ... and that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, test day conditions were calm, with very little slop to contend with but I’ve survived numerous trips out from Bermagui and Narooma in its predecessor in horrendous conditions and have no doubt that this new hull would be equal to the task.

Despite the higher centre of gravity created by the hard top, the impact upon performance is minimal and is far outweighed by the benefits. The ride is predictable with a typical deep vee lean into slow turns, however once you turn up the power and trim the nose down, she settles nicely on the chine. While we threw the boat into the obligatory figure of eights for the camera, this isn’t what the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore is about. Rather,  its forte is carving up savage bay chop while running to that hot snapper mark or cutting swathes through big offshore swell, en route to a date with Mr. Big Beak.

Sitting at around 30kts, I purposely relaxed my grip on the wheel allowing the hull to track naturally. A tap on the tabs leaned the boat slightly into the wind as we ran true and level using the bowrail as a gunsight. I briefly tickled the Yamaha digital throttle and saw 44kts on the GPS – not a bad effort from the lightweight V6 Yamaha 250 outboard motor considering we were pushing more than 2200kg, including engine, gear,  fuel and overfed crew. The ride was soft quiet and responded well to trim.

 

THE VERDICT

Haines Hunter 675 Offshore boat

There’s no denying the presence of the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore HT. Not too flashy, it nevertheless conveys a gravity befitting its five figure price tag (around $135,000 as tested on the custom Pelagic trailer, but don’t tell Jack’s missus). Haines Hunter showed great restraint by not stuffing around with the bits that worked, focussing instead on fine-tuning what was already a rather impressive package.

 

HIGHS

• Fishing-focussed interior spot on

• Well considered improvements

• Ride lives up to the reputation

 

LOWS

• Needs a few concessions to appeal to the family, but that’s not really the intended audience

 

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #452, May / June 2014. Why not subscribe today?

 

HAINES HUNTER 675 OFFSHORE HARD TOP SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

Haines Hunter 675 Offshore HT price: $135,000 as tested (bespoke fitout)

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Yamaha 250hp upgrade with digital controls and high definition gauge, hardtop, front and side clears, lean post, baitboard, custom snapper rack, Rockford Fosgate sound system, twin plumbed livebait tanks, self draining deck, Furuno electronics package, two-tone hull and much more ...

 

PRICED FROM

$115,000 with Yamaha F225hp four-stroke outboard motor on braked Mackay tandem trailer

 

GENERAL

TYPE Deep-vee monohull fishing boat

MATERIAL Fibreglass

LENGTH 6.75m

BEAM 2.40m

WEIGHT Hull weight 1350kg (approx.)

DEADRISE 21˚

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE 6

BERTHS 2

REC. HP 200 - 250

MAX. HP 250

FUEL 280lt (approx.)

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Yamaha F250D V6

TYPE Four-stroke outboard

WEIGHT 253 kg

DISPLACEMENT 4169 cc

GEAR RATIO 1.75:1

PROPELLER Yamaha Reliance 17 x14¼

 

MANUFACTURED AND SUPPLIED BY

Haines Hunter

56 East Derrimut Cr, Derrimut, Vic, 3029

PHONE (03) 9394 1540

WEB haineshunter.com.au

 

 


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