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SA Angler Boat Test Haines Hunter's 675 Enclosed

25 June 2014

In early May I had the privilege of driving the brand new Haines Hunter 675 Enclosed, which, in my opinion at least, is the best craft ever to come out of the Haines Hunter factory. That’s a big call indeed, but I haven’t been so impressed with a new boat for a long time.

As its name suggests, the 675 comes with a completely enclosed helm, with brilliant wrap-around windscreen, hard top with skylight and opening side windows. Hard top boats, and particularly larger models designed for offshore work, have become incredibly popular in recent times. There’s nothing better than the protection afforded by a well designed hard top when it’s raining, blowy or sunny and hot. They really are the ants’ pants for the often harsh South Australian climate.

The 675 hull is brand new from Haines Hunter. The vee set-up is slightly different to the established and very popular 650, providing an incredibly soft, dry ride. As is customary with all boats from the Haines factory, this one is finished superbly, with mirror-smooth gelcoat, striking hull graphics and extremely attractive lines throughout.

It’s quite a lump of boat, weighing in at 1300kg dry and measuring 6.75m overall. Approximate highway towing weight is in the order of 2.6 tonnes, which means you’ll need a substantial vehicle to pull it safely and legally. Maximum beam is 2.40m and the hull is rated to carry a maximum of 250hp (390kg transom capacity). You can order this rig with a single outboard as tested, or opt for a dual engine transom. There’s no doubt it would perform nicely with twin 115s on the back, adding an extra measure of security for offshore work.

The cockpit floor is fully carpeted, and you’ll find a cavernous storage locker up forward between the helm and passenger seats, which can be used as a kill tank if so desired. The transom is designed nicely, with battery lockers situated either side and elevated from the deck. There are twin live bait tanks aft (already plumbed) and I was really impressed by the deluxe bait preparation table with lift-up cutting board and knife storage beneath. Access to fuel filters etc. is via transom hatches, making the entire aft area neat, clean and angler friendly.

The standard equipment list is about as comprehensive as you’ll find on any large trailer boat. It comes with automatic bilge pump, hydraulic steering, rocket launcher rod rack, lockable glove compartment, four stainless rod holders, integrated bowsprit and ample cockpit lighting. You can order the boat with any of six hull/deck colours with contrasting decals and upholstery.

Sports Marine had really dressed this model up, anticipating that it will appeal to a serious sportfisher looking for an outfit ready to take offshore. Included is a VHF radio, Lowrance HDS 12 Touch Screen combo (with structure scan and map), dual battery system, Stress Free electric anchor winch, deck wash, Release and Retrieve boat latch, trim tabs, EPIRB and offshore safety kit. I can’t think of a lot more that would need to be included to satisfy the needs of the keen kingfish or tuna chaser.

It had been blowing hard for much of the previous night, and although the wind had dropped out by dawn, there was still plenty of slop and swell out wide of North Haven. With the new generation Honda 250 V6 on the back, the 675 fairly jumps out of the hole. This is a superb engine, and I can see most who buy this craft opting for maximum horse power.

The BF250 weighs a very reasonable 270kg. Powerhead is a V6 with single overhead cam and 24 valves. It’s equipped with VTEC, BLAST and Lean Burn Control – all of which combine to make this one of the most fuel efficient high capacity outboards currently available.

Top speed inshore was close to 80kph, which is indeed fast for a rig of this bulk. The 675 hull handles very nicely in the slop, throwing water well clear and delivering the sort of ride for which the Haines Hunter name has become renowned. We took the boat out towards the Fairway beacon, where there was plenty of residual swell to play around with.

I trimmed the Honda well in and blasted into the sea with the hammer down. Despite the bulk of this boat, we were up and planing very quickly. Haines Hunter hulls are legendary for their head sea capabilities and I had always anticipated a soft, dry ride, but this was something else again. I’m not sure exactly what they have done to the deadrise set-up, but the 675 is noticeably softer than the 650 – and that is a great hull!

Turning to run across the swell, I trimmed out a little and bumped up the revs. Once again, the big Haines simply ate the rolling sea, enabling me to push up to 65kph and enjoy an exhilarating ride. This hull is incredibly predictable to drive, and about as sure-footed as anything I’ve operated in similar conditions. Although we had no white water to contend with, I have no doubt it would acquit itself admirably in a heavy chop.

As you’d expect, the 675 Enclosed isn’t cheap as tested, but the nothing special ever is. It’s available from Sports Marine for $129, 950. Naturally, you could prune that price back quite a bit by ordering the rig in more basic form, but as presented it is certainly an impressive package.