The Haines Signature 630F has had a significant make over. Mark Ward reports.
WHILE it’s not difficult to find a 6.5m offshore fishing boat with plenty of horsepower and enough extras to keep the bride (and family) smiling, for manufacturers of these vessels, there are a lot on the market and buyers often have to be shown the benefits of one boat over another before committing.
If you’ve owned a few boats or work in the industry, you know that the one factor that can separate a great boat from a good one is hull design. For a number of years Haines Signature’s Variable Deadrise Hull – SVDH for short – has been gaining an envious reputation. I used to spend a little time fishing with a mate who was convinced that since owning a SVDH he’s never had a better, more stable and economical offshore fishing boat.
The idea behind the Signature hull design is simple. A sharp 33 degree entry point at the bow flares out to a standard 21 degree deadrise at the transom and continues to change as you move away from the midline of the hull towards the sides, where it flattens out until almost horizontal. This all adds up to a smooth ride due to the combination of a sharp “wave-slicing” entry point and decent deadrise providing excellent low speed planing, good fuel economy and a stable platform.
Proof in the pudding
Putting the hull through its paces, the slowest average planing speed was 8.6 knots with a DF200 Suzuki four-stroke outboard. In a good sea, this will give high speed trollers a fairly economical run with just over 2000rpm on the tacho; even a slow troll at five knots was done at an impressive 1100rpm. Opening up the Suzuki pushed the one tonne hull out to 39.3 knots with cruising speeds of 21.7 knots available at 4200rpm.
Handling wise, there were no issues. Reversing, tight and high speed cornering were all carried out smoothly without any unwelcome spray or prop slip. I always run a boat backwards to see if the transom brings in water and if the hull will spin on the spot as it should. Torque thrust from the big 16″ prop did have it steering off to one side in reverse but big engines provide big thrust so I won’t blame that on the hull. A sterndrive is also now available in 180hp to 225hp which means an open transom, and the loss of the ice box under the rear deck. Fuel capacity is 200 litres and with an economical four-stroke, that provides a decent range.
On the move the boat is very dry, smooth and quiet. With a little adjustment to the trim, the nose comes out of the water nicely with just a little spray trailing from the stern. The hull is very quiet thanks to foam injection filling any empty spaces. The vessel has level flotation and a recent test on the Signatures proved that unloaded, they do as they are supposed to Ð stay floating, even without the bungs in.
The Signature’s fit-out was impressive. There is a distinct line between vessels at the cheaper end of the scale and more expensive vessels like the 632F Signature. There is no doubt that the review boat’s $88,500 is expensive, but not much is missed in the fit-out; take a few options away and go for less power and all of a sudden you can be in the mid $60,000 range.
If I was spending that sort of money, I’d expect a big four-stroke, quality trailer, a neat carpeted cabin with toilet and lockable cabin door, big bait board, rocket launchers, outriggers and all the bells and whistles. Haines Signature has delivered all of the above and hasn’t skimped on lighting, grab rails, moulded bucket seating, transom door that opens to a swim deck and ladder, big fish box, live well and a deck wash. You can even option it up with a tiny galley that includes sink and stove and appears when you fold down the mate’s chair.
The Signature converts well into a day boat for cruising or entertaining. The bait board is easily removed and a rear bench seat takes its place but if fishing with a few in the boat, the rear bench can still be utilised with the bait board in position. The transom door, swim board and ladder all add to the appeal of the 632 as a day boat or the odd weekend away, aided by the toilet and enclosed twin berth cabin.
The skipper’s helm seat is comfortable with a footrest that has a storage compartment, sports steering wheel and wood grain surrounded instruments with room under to house a good sized sounder/GPS unit. The dash can also extend out to the left where radios, EPIRB, fire extinguisher, stereo and the usual switch board can be mounted or added to. Room on the dash would only be a problem if a huge sounder was a consideration but it could be mounted centrally on the top of the dash and in clear view of anglers standing at the transom. The boys at the Haines Family Group are all keen fishos and it shows in the design of their boats, as well as the way they were pumping me for info about my local snapper grounds!
@Fc1:It’s nice to have a flash boat but can it help you to catch fish? I have to say, set up like the test boat, there isn’t much apart from fly fishing for trout that you wouldn’t be able to do easily in the 632F. The wide 2.5m beam and long deck allows plenty of room for at least three anglers to have a red hot bottom bashing session. The big elevated bait board can help with setting berley trails. Plenty of rod holders both for set lines as well as the rocket launcher for keeping unused gear out of the way and out of the spray.
Trolling can be done with the rod holders or for serious game anglers, outriggers can be used to provide a good lure spread. Casting lures at schooled or feeding fish isn’t an issue as long as there isn’t a huge canopy placed over the deck. In the review boat there looked to be more than enough room for casting slugs as well as playing a marlin or wahoo. With the anchor out, the cabin is too big to use the bow for playing a fish; a buoy and stainless steel clip set-up for quick releases via the cabin’s hatch and you’ll be free to play the fish.
As mentioned previously, there is plenty of storage and a huge ice box or small kill tank under the floor in the outboard configured model. It’s well designed, has heaps of options and probably as big as most fishos are happy to tow.
HAINES SIGNATURE 632F
Length: 6.3m, (6.47m LOA)
Deadrise: 21-33 degrees
Weight: 950kgs (hull only), 1860kg (towing)
Fuel: 200 litres
Power: 150-225hp, as tested DF200 Suzuki
Price: As reviewed around $88,500
Contact: Haines Marine (07) 3271 4400, www.haines-marine.com.au