Review: Haines Hunter 565R

By: John Ford, Photography by: Ellen Dewar

Is the Haines Hunter 565R fishing boat a new family favourite? We see how it can handle some rough conditions outside of Sydney.

When thinking serious fibreglass offshore fishing boats, size matters, right? Indeed, when approaching the new Haines Hunter 565R, which measures 5.65m LOA including a significant bowsprit, it sounded a bit, well, small.

With this in mind I was somewhat surprised when Sydney Haines Hunter dealer Matthew Willett mentioned our boat review would be aboard the brand’s head honcho John Haber’s own fishing boat. It was straight out of the Sydney boat show and was soon heading back to Melbourne for John to chase bluefin out of Portland. Having seen how Haber fished his previous monster Haines Hunter 760HT I was already suspecting there might be more to the little Haines Hunter 565R than I had anticipated. I later discovered that on its maiden voyage the spanking new Haines Hunter was fished 90km offshore and landed an impressive 114kg bluefin.


Haines Hunter 565R image gallery


New Haines 565 hull

Haines Hunter 565R

Many of the design features of the 565R came out of the research team asking customers and fisherman what they wanted in a boat. The result is the all-new 565 hull, conceived as an all-rounder that’s easy to tow, launch and quick to wash down. It went without saying that it would follow the traditional Haines Hunter formula of being bulletproof, with impeccable manners at sea and enough room in the cockpit for a decent-size crew to fish in comfort.

In reintroducing the 565 badge Haines Hunter knew it had big expectations to meet. That late ’80s hull carries legendary status as a hard-charging and soft-riding sea boat. Haber told me the new hull is a significant improvement over the original boat, with a softer, dryer ride and better stability at rest. He added that improvements in gelcoats, resins and mat technology mean a modern hull is stronger, stiffer and longer-lasting.

Haber explained that the secret of the new Haines Hunter 565R hull’s ride was in determining how far forward the deep 21° deadrise could run without sacrificing stability at rest and how far back the sharp bow angle can be set so the boat can attack the water effectively. It was all a matter of balancing stability and ride so that neither was compromised. AutoCAD computer drawing helped, but it can’t succeed without experience and testing.


Fishing layout

Transom of Haines Hunter 565R

Most of this I learned after testing the boat out of Sydney Harbour with editor Tim, on a day when the sea conditions were rough enough to uncover any handling issues. Stepping on board I noted that the editor’s basketballer height had him struggling when standing under the 1.9m-high bimini but we found a spacious, uncluttered cockpit with plenty of room to move.

Swimplatforms are mounted both sides of the engine, with a transom door to port the easier option for boarding. Fibreglass hatches over the twin gel batteries and bilge areas and a fold-down panel for when the engine is raised give a very neat look to the transom. To starboard is a plumbed livebait tank (but no window) and the central bait station comes with slots for knives, a couple of rodholders and a lifting lid to a drained sink that’s useful for storing plyers and such. I liked the bait table’s thoughtful design, which is long but narrow enough not to protrude into the cockpit.

Gunwales on Haines Hunter 565R

Sidepockets have rod storage and are raised above the floor so there is room for feet below when fighting fish. There is plenty of freeboard for a nice secure feeling and safety for kids, and while narrow the gunwales are wide enough to sit on and have three rodholders along each side. Another neat touch was seeing the rear cleats recessed into neat mouldings to prevent snagging lines.

The cockpit has a grey non-skid covering and there’s a removable inspection plate for the 200lt fuel tank. Given the size of the fuel tank it’s remarkable they were able to squeeze a decent-sized killtank in the floor between the helm seats. More storage options abound around the helm, including a lockable glovebox, low side bins, tackle lockers and extra storage under the seats, with another lockable box on the passenger side and cupholders for driver and passenger.



Helm of Haines Hunter 565R

I found just enough headroom inside the carpet-lined cabin for my 1.8m frame to sit upright on the white and silver berth cushions and at a pinch I would be able to stretch out on the bunk. A hatch opens so you can get at the anchor if needs be. Shelves run either side for storage, but as the hull is foam-filled there’s no space under the cabin seats. I’m told there is the option for either an electric toilet with the half bunks as setup or for a full cabin infill, but not both.

Helm chairs are new in this model but will be an option across the range. Their contoured bucket shape wraps around for good support and the cutout in the lower section of the backrest keeps things cool. A bolster can be raised to make more room when standing but I found the seated position was both comfortable (especially using the metal footrests) and offered good vision through the low screen. Both seats have grabrails built into the back to give standing crew something sturdy to hold onto.

A Lowrance HDS-9 combination GPS-sounder rests in the centre of a moulded white dash and is surrounded by dials and controls, meaning a larger screen could fit if the rest of the equipment was rearranged. Switches astride the screen can be easily reached to operate Lenco trim tabs and the anchor winch.

Lowrance electronics and Mercury Marine gauges

Mercury gauges have readouts for fuel, oil pressure, speed, revs, trim and voltage, all of which could be reduced to a single VesselView screen if desired. Personally, I like the analogue arrangement as you can see most of what’s going on without trying to scroll through screens, although the small digital readouts on the two big screens are difficult to see. After all these years you would think Mercury could come up with a more contrasting readout. The side-mounted engine control is well-placed, but without DTS on the Mercury 150 FourStroke it’s sometimes a bit clunky getting into gear.


Handling and ride

Hunter 565R on the water

In protected waters with only a 300mm chop we ran through the speed range and I was pleasantly surprised at the willing acceleration. The standard engine is 135hp outboard motor and while it would happily push the boat along, most buyers will opt for the extra grunt and same weight of the 150hp which is perfectly matched for performance and gives the boat a well-balanced feel.

Planing speed is just under 14kts at 3000rpm, with a cruise at 4000rpm of 25kts. Opening the throttles to 5600rpm delivered a very credible 38kts and there’s plenty of performance right through the range.

It was offshore that the new hull really delivered. In a sea that could be best described as messy, with around 800mm of chop on a short swell, the boat felt incredibly capable, cutting cleanly through the waves with one of the softest rides I have experienced in a boat under 6m. You can feel the weight in the heavily-built construction while the foam hull is very quiet even when flat out. If the aim was to produce a medium-sized model that handles like a bigger version, then they have succeeded.

We easily managed speeds up to 29kts across the chop and swell, and the spray rails and chines managed to push the water away from the boat keeping things dry. However, I was grateful for the Stormy jacket after I managed to get a big green one right over the boat when trying too hard. We put the Haines Hunter 565R through both wide, high-speed turns and sharp full-lock manoeuvres and found the steering light, precise and predictable without any hopping or cavitation.


The Trade-a-Boat verdict

Haines Hunter 565R in rough water

The Haines Hunter 565R price is $62,780 for a BMT package with 135hp outboard motor. As tested the boat is $69,990, including engine upgrade, Lowrance HDS-9 marine electronics, tackle lockers, spotlights and deluxe trailer.


Haines Hunter 565R sea trials

Single 150hp Mercury FourStroke outboard motor, two people, three-quarters fuel and water, 16in propeller.











3000 (on the plane)












6000 (WOT)


* Sea-trial data supplied by the author



• Stylish looks

• Sparkling performance

• Exceptional handling and ride

• Very good resale value



• I’d like to see a non-reflective dash


Haines Hunter 565R specs

Haines Hunter 565R price: $69,990

Price as tested



Engine upgrade, Lowrance HDS-9, tackle lockers, spotlights and deluxe trailer







TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 5.65m

BEAM 2.4m

WEIGHT 720kg (hull)



REC. HP RANGE 135 to 150

FUEL 200lt



MAKE/MODEL Mercury 150 FourStroke outboard motor

TYPE Inline four-cylinder fuel injected petrol outboard motor



WEIGHT 206kg





Matthew Willett Marine

d’Albora Marinas, The Spit,

Mosman, NSW, 2088

Phone (02) 9930 0000




See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #473, on sale December 2015. Why not subscribe today?


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