After reviewing the 625 and 675 Offshore I was keen to jump into Haines Hunter’s new 565 and see how the smaller of the new Offshore vessels performed.
Haines Hunter has designed the new 565 Offshore based on dealer and customer feedback with this model spending three years in design and development. This feedback via boat shows and dealer inquiry showed the need for a boat that could fulfil a few different requirements for the fisherman with a family. Essentially it’s been designed to act as a hard-core fishing boat capable of offshore work and double as a family cruiser/ski boat. This is explains the long period in r&d; it’s all well and good to want a boat that’s soft, stable and ocean going, but successfully building one is another thing. A few degrees in the wrong direction on any part of the hull and you can get a boat that maybe does one thing well and lots of others poorly.
For the fishermen everything you need is there; a 200 litre fuel tank, live bait tank, roomy side pockets with storage, rocket launchers, gunnel mount rod holders, a big cockpit and a helm and dash that can house large electronics. For the family a roomy cabin, a rear-boarding door and the option of installing a ski pole and fold down lounge are all allowed for in the interior design. It can be towed with a family SUV or large sedan and you don’t need a super sized driveway to house it. Essentially it has been designed so the keen fisherman gets all he needs and it can be optioned to please the significant other and the kids. It’s a smart move by Haines Hunter and sales figures and boat show response have proved that it was a good move.
They Never get The Weather Right!
We had access to a customer’s new 565 that had just clocked 9 hours on his engine and he was kind enough to allow Haines Hunter to use the boat for the Hooked Up review. A predicted northerly of 10 knots had somehow become a 15-knot southerly with gusts of 20 when I got to the Altona launch ramp with my Haines Hunter 525 Prowler in tow to act as camera boat. I met Nick the owner of the 565 and his son and he seemed somewhat apprehensive about heading out in the current conditions. Nick explained that he wasn’t overly experienced in rough weather and I explained that while I had never been in the 565, I was completely confident it would handle the current conditions with ease and he would be extra pleased he purchased a Haines Hunter. I also assured him Haines Hunter’s national sales manager Tim Davies (who was on his way) would drive the 565 over to the protection of Williamstown Harbour for photos and that it would give him a great idea of what the boat could handle and how to go about driving in these conditions. I on the other hand was not looking forward to just how wet I knew I was going to get in my centre console. There was a stiff southerly blowing now and there was no way I wasn’t going to be taking water over the front. By the time Tim arrived and both boats were launched the wind and waves were well and truly up. Tim wasn’t familiar with this side of the bay and neither was Nick so I said for them to follow me. A southerly blows almost straight into Altona and we needed to head east and around the point to Williamstown. Therefore in the conditions it was an 8km journey heading straight into it to avoid going into it sideways and then 2km’s of sideways action and then a quick 1km going with it. All in all they were optimal conditions to truly test a boat.
THE TRIP OVER
As we left the calm conditions of the Altona harbour and the cold southerly hit my face I trimmed down, zipped up my jacket and headed off into it. I have to say my Prowler absolutely killed yet being a centre console it wasn’t long before I was wet. I looked back and noted that the 565 was still moving slowly and I expected that Tim was explaining to Nick trim, steering and the basics of navigating moderately rough water. A few minutes later and the 565 was powering along and it was great to be able to watch it run before I hopped in for a drive. Like all Haines Hunters the deep vee at a 21-degree deadrise, and aggressive entry made short work of the half-metre conditions. Every time I thought she was about to get some air the 565 just ploughed through and hardly moved. Once we started making our turn towards the east I noted that the 565 with the 150 Yamaha was as nimble as my 525 and Tim was easily staying on top of things and steering his way through the slop. When the 565 did come down the side of a wave she fell gently, stayed centred and displaced water well. I started to envy how warm and dry they must have been in the protection of the runabout, with high screens and clears.
As we headed for the harbour we turned in a nor-nor-easterly direction and were well and truly going with it and the 565 came charging past me. It sat on top of the waves beautifully and with the bow trimmed up it cruised along as though it was in much calmer waters.
THE FUN STUFF
Now we were in the calm and protected waters of the Williamstown harbour I spent some time taking photos then Tim jumped in the Prowler and I jumped in the 565. Observing the boat from a distance does give you a good idea of performance but I was keen to drive it myself.
Upon standing on the gunnel in the 565 I straight away noticed it offered exceptional stability at rest for a deep vee boat and an at sea transfer is always a good way to test this. This stability largely due to the fact the 565 has a wide 2.4 metre beam which is marginally larger than what you would find on an average Australian boat of this length. Even with three guys standing on one side she hardly moved as we transferred from boat to boat.
As I trimmed down and put the throttle forward the 150 Yamaha got the boat on to the plain in quick time. I headed back out of the harbour into the slop and like all Haines Hunters and from what I observed earlier, the 565 cuts through slop, chop, bumps and waves with ease and is extremely soft. I kept trimming up and increasing speed and rev range and was surprised at how soft she remained going into it even with a good amount of boat out of the water. Stability remained excellent at speed and with owner Nick in the passengers seat and his son standing behind we were able to converse about the boat without the need to ‘hang on’ in silence in anticipation of the next spine shattering wave; the 565 just slices through. Coming back with the waves the 565 was just as good in a following. I was expecting that it would perform amazingly well going into it but I was utterly surprised at how well she went going with it at various speeds. Adding to my surprise was what a balanced unit she is. The boat had a full tank of fuel and three people on board and I never felt the need for tabs so there is an expense that can be scrapped from the list of added extras.
Moving into the calmer waters I was really able to throw the 565 around and noted that it’s very sporty in its handling which makes it an ideal ski boat further adding to its cross over appeal. The throttle, steering wheel and helm set up have been designed ergonomically and while most boats are too low for my 6’3” height; I thought this was a great all round seat/steering/throttle set up. At wide-open throttle I had her at 70km/h and the boat handles its top end speed as well as it does its cruising speed.
The trip back saw even worse conditions and again the 565 handled it with ease. The owner got a great indication of exactly what his boat can do I was left with only a positive account of its performance. Buying a Haines Hunter is always going to be a safe bet that you’re getting a boat that loves power, can handle rough water and handles beautifully providing an ultra soft ride. This model offers everyone in the family a fun vessel that is comfortable in a lake skiing, a dive in the bay or day out fishing. It’s also been designed to provide a lot of boat at a very good price.