HUGE SAVING on Public Open Day at The Haines Hunter
Two years in the making, the new Haines Hunter 565 Offshore is designed to appeal to families and fishermen alike. Here’s the Australian take on the crossover trailerboat. The great all-rounder and easy-tow rig is designed to serve equally well as a family ‘runabout’ as it does a serious fishing weapon. And in either role, the deep-vee fibreglass hull from Haines Hunter ensures a great ride in the rough stuff.
– Designed by dealers for mass appeal
There are many times in this industry when we hear that a boat has been designed from ‘extensive customer feedback’ or words to that effect. Often times, those words are taken with several grains of salt as it has become so cliché that we virtually disregard it.
However, with this new boat from Haines Hunter, the reality is too hard to ignore. According to the Melbourne manufacturer, the new 565 Offshore was designed in conjunction with dealers to be affordable, versatile and appeal to many facets of the boating public.
During our day out on the 565 Offshore, Haines Hunter’s Tim Davies told us that the boat was two years in development during which time dealers were consulted for their input to the point that they were invited to the factory to virtually focus-group the boat. The idea was that they would work on the finer details until they had a boat that they were confident would take a large chunk of the factory’s capacity for the foreseeable future.
The result is an all-new hull and deck at a realistic price and with features to suit the majority of buyers looking for a sub-six-metre all-rounder.
PRICE AND EQUIPMENT
– Affordable package with sensible inclusions
One of the important factors that the design brief included was that this boat should be affordable to the average boating family.
Although Haines Hunter isn’t claiming to have invented the ‘people’s boat’ as Volkswagen did with the Beetle, the company still wanted to design a boat with mass appeal for a price that wasn’t out of reach of the average Aussie.
Consequently, you can get a 565 Offshore with a two-stroke motor on a registered trailer for less than $50K. The standard boat comes with a solid list of inclusions like auto bilge pump, bow roller, deep self-draining anchor well, cockpit carpet, moulded side pockets with rod storage, comfortable pedestal seats, cabin cushions, navigation lights, grab rails, recessed cleats, stainless rod holders, bait tank, walk-through transom, underfloor kill tank and more.
Our test boat had a few of the extras from the extensive options list which brought the price up to $61,990 including a Danbier 5.7 Supa Roller trailer, registration and safety gear.
The options included two tone deck, bimini with clears, bow rail, rocket launcher windscreen grab rail, engine upgrade to a Suzuki DF 140 ATX four-stroke engine and hydraulic steering.
DECK AND LAYOUT
– Roomy, usable cockpit and cabin
According to Davies, the 565 Offshore is one of the roomiest boats in its class. Utilising all its 2.4m beam, the cockpit is large for the size of the boat. There’s plenty of room for two or three fishermen to move around, and the cockpit feels very neat and uncluttered.
Another of the design parameters was that the cabin had to be usable as an overnighter. To that end, the bunks are 1.85m (6ft 1in) in length and there are various size infills available to add to the comfort. There’s also the option of an under-bunk electric loo with a half-bunk infill and privacy curtain.
Storage abounds both in the cabin and the cockpit. In the cabin, the side pockets are large and there’s storage under the bunks. Outside, there are more side pockets and storage beside the driver and passenger.
The kill tank between the pedestal seats can also be used for storage, in fact Davies said that you could use half of it for a fresh-water bladder to run a wash-down system and the other half for cool storage for food or drinks. Not a bad idea.
For the driver and passenger, Haines Hunter has specified a pair of comfortable helm chairs that offer good lateral support and feel like you could sit in them for a good few hours with no problem. Vision from the helm is excellent too.
As is becoming increasingly important these days, there is ample room for electronics on the fascia at the helm and also on the recessed part of the dash above the companionway.
As mentioned, our test boat was fitted with a bimini and clears which provided great protection from the increasing sou’wester we had on the day. The clears had zip-open windows in the front to add a bit of ventilation and maybe improve vision if the clears got salty.
Down aft, our boat had a neat, flat transom, but some owners might specify the rear lounge option which comes with a comfy backrest. Either way, access can be gained to the filters, bilge pump and battery by lifting the neat, triple-hinged hatch which runs across the lower half of the transom.
A live-bait tank is built into the transom on the starboard side and this can be plumbed to keep your livies fresh.
The walk-through is another nice standard inclusion. You can add to this by ticking the options box for the swim platforms which can adorn each side of the engine and include a swim ladder and grab rails – great for the kids or divers.
HULL AND ENGINEERING
– All new hull and deck
Haines Hunters are renowned for their solid construction and this all-new hull is no exception. The foam-filled hull is strong and certainly feels it. The fit and finish is top class with smooth curves and lovely flow-coated final finish.
In true Haines Hunter style, the hull offers a deep V configuration with chines to deflect spray, a fine entry and a smooth run aft.
The underfloor fuel tank is 200 litres and fed through a single deck filler.
Power was supplied on the test boat from a Suzuki DF 140 which is a four cylinder engine of 2044cc displacement with double overhead camshafts. It’s a smooth and powerful engine that feels well suited to this boat although we would have a bit of a play with the prop pitch just to give it a little more initial punch. Maximum horsepower for the 565 Offshore is quoted as 150hp so we weren’t far off maxing out the ponies.
As noted above we had the optional hydraulic steering which we’d probably advise over the manual not-return which comes standard.
ON THE WATER
– Great ride for those choppy days
Haines Hunters have been considered good sea boats for many years. It’s a combination of hull design, strength and I guess years in the business of making boats in Melbourne for the choppy conditions that have endeared them to many a serious fisherman.
The 565 Offshore follows in this tradition. It’s a boat that mightn’t be fastest on the water, but it’ll one of the more dependable. Our test day was one of those choppy days on Port Phillip with a building sou’westerly breeze and accompanying chop.
The first thing to notice on day like this is the ride. The 565 Offshore punched into the chop on our way out from the ramp and the smoothness was immediately evident. The deep V and fine entry provided us with a ride that belied the size of the boat which is, as the name suggests only 5.65 metres or about 18ft 6in in the old money.
And with the smoothness of the ride came a distinct lack of spray on our windscreen and clears. It wasn’t until we were three-quarters to the breeze and the waves that we got even a hint of spray over the bow.
The 565 is also stable. At one stage we had four blokes on the boat and it felt stable at rest as well as in cross seas.
With the 140 on the back we were good for around 30 knots at wide-open. At a reasonable cruise of 4000rpm we were punching into the wind and waves at 17-19 knots and doing it easily. Cranking up to 5000rpm retuned a figure of around 25 knots.
Flicking the boat around (as most owners wouldn’t do) for the accompanying photos, didn’t faze it. With judicious use of the throttle, we could remain on the plane and the boat tracked true without feeling like it was fall over or become unsettled.
In all, it’s a good handling boat that will happily tackle a blow and a bit of rough weather if it has to.
– A good all-rounder for the family or sportsman
Everyone these days is looking for the ideal crossover boat that will tow the kids around on water toys on Saturday and take a couple of mates out fishing on Sunday.
But not only that, they’re looking for a boat that’s going to be safe, one that’s going to get you home if the weather turns bad, and one that’s going to hold on to a bit of value when it comes time to sell or update. If you scan through the ads on this site, you’ll see that Haines Hunter boats do retain their value, and because of their following and reputation are pretty easy to sell.
So if you’re after a cuddy/half cabin for a reasonable price that’s going to do a multitude of jobs and also be economical to run, you do a lot worse than checking out the Haines Hunter 565 Offshore.
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