by Dom Wiseman

Haines Hunter has a cult following among fishermen with its impressive range of boats gracing the driveways and garages of many and the new Haines hunter 565R is sure to continue that appeal. This mid-sized trailerable vessel ticks all the boxes for keen anglers offering ample cockpit space, a genuinely fantastic ride and the option to spec up your boat in any way you see fit. Add to that a 200-litre fuel tank and you have a capable long range offshore package that will be more than at home chasing snapper in close or tuna out wide.
The ‘R’ series combine usable space with a sport design and by reducing the cabin space by about 30cm and lowering the cabin height, they have increased on board space and maintained a sporty design.

WHAT YOU GET
The usable cockpit space on this boat has to be-seen-to-be-believed. I would be hard pressed to recall another fibreglass boat in this size range that has similar space. This makes it excellent for fishing and the test boat, owned and set up by Haines Hunter owner John Haber, has been set up for just that. Adding to the functionality, the gunwale sits nice and high making the cockpit safe for kids and the perfect height to lean against when fighting a fish. At feet level, there is a recess beneath the moulded side pockets that enables you to get you feet under it, meaning no awkward angles when fighting fish. You can opt to fit a full-width seat across the stern of the boat, which has a beam of 2.40m, but John opted for a flush finish at the back to maximise space.

Lifting a panel on the transom provides access to the batteries and switches. You can access the boat via a neat swing away door on the port side. There is a live bait tank on the starboard side. Up above John has opted for a small bait prep/cutting board arrangement that is smaller than many I’ve seen but again maximises space. It also includes two rod-holders and storage under the cutting board. It’s still ample for most tasks and is removable should you not need it for a day.
The storage either side of the cockpit is large and will accommodate most everyday items and runs all the way forward to finish just behind the helm seats. There is also rod storage above and on either side accommodating four fishing rods. This is an excellent space for fishing rods like live-baiting outfits that may get in the way of other pursuits like flicking plastics.
The helm seats, which have been well thought out, are a new design which we’re told will be an option on all models moving forward. They are extremely comfortable and include an incredibly useful bolster arrangement for both driver and passenger that allow ample room to stand if that is your preference. In the seated position, John has included a footrest that adds to the comfort. The seats also wrap around you making sure you stay where you should in the rough stuff. Underneath the seats there is an array of nifty tackle storage solutions with a three trays and a drawer under the driver side and a twin-angled tackle box storage under the passenger side. Both allow easy and quick access to your tackle and remove the need for a heap of tackle bags.
Haines Hunter 565R 1
Haines Hunter 565R 6The helm area ahead of the driver is laid out well with John opting for the Mercury gauges as opposed to the Vessel View single readout. He has also opted for a single Lowrance 9- inch display showing both chart and sounder. This is ample for a split screen set up and is probably as small as I would go if planning to use the split the screen option. You could fit an additional sounder to the left of the driver’s position with the advantage being that if your primary unit fails for some reason, you always have a back-up.
The sports steering wheel is easy to reach either standing or seated as is the throttle. The gauges are positioned in a line above the sounder while the control for the anchor winch (an optional extra) is on the panel to the right of the dash. There is also a set of trim tabs fitted to the boat, again an option, with the controls located to the left of the steering position.
The cabin, as mentioned previously, is slight shorter in length and lower than the Offshore Series to allow more space in the cockpit. That being said, I could still lie down in here and sit without hitting my head but for anyone close to six feet, it could be a little tight. It is fully carpeted inside. Unusually there is no storage under the seats up front. There is a large access way to the anchor if you opt for manual deployment, or you could walk around the side of the boat that has reasonably wide access.

Haines Hunter 565R 19
Haines Hunter 565R 11POWER
Powered is delivered by a Mercury 150hp four-stroke outboard and consequentially, the Haines Hunter 565R delivers knock your socks off performance. Planing is immediate with the boat literally launching onto the plane in a matter of a few seconds. This is the maximum engine size that can be fitted to this hull. For many this would probably be overkill and a 135hp would still deliver impressive performance.
The 150 weighs in at 206kg and runs a 3.0-litre inline four-cylinder platform with a sequential multi-port electronic fuel injection system offering excellent acceleration and power through the whole rev range.

ON THE WATER
This hull, like the 565 Offshore, is a beauty but if I was to choose, I’d say the 565R rides a through the chop effortlessly and handled the offshore conditions well. The landings were smooth and predictable and stability at rest was excellent, crucial for fishing.
The hull is capable in all conditions and is well suited to inshore and offshore applications. Spray is deflected down and away from the boat courtesy of the running strakes and reverse chine that runs the full length of the hull. After years of experience they have perfectly moulded the entry point that cuts through water yet maintains a comfortable on water persona.
At speed the hull also responds well to driver input and beds into a turn maintaining a comfortable angle at all times. The steering input is precise and has no lag, making sure the boat turns when and how it should.
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Haines Hunter 565R 3TOWING
Although the boat we tested was on an on-water dry dock, it could sit easily on a single axle trailer suitable for a 5.7m boat. While it would tow perfectly okay on this and be maneuverable, I would elect for a dual axle model if I was towing long distances up and down the coast.
The entire package including boat, motor and trailer would lie in the vicinity of 1350kg putting you in the medium SUV market for a tow vehicle should you not already own one.

OVERVIEW
Haines Hunter’s R series have stood the test of time and are one of the most popular models in the range. The 565R is a capable mid-sized trailer boat that can deliver when needed. The space onboard is expansive and the standard set-up will have you on the water in no time. It could easily be geared towards serious fishing, but with a range of options, could be pared back to accommodate the family too. As with all Haines Hunter boats, the ride is exceptional in all situations.
Haines Hunter 565R 18POSITIVES
Exceptional ride
Hull versatility

NEGATIVES
Cabin height for taller people

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: from $62,780 (fitted with a 135hp)
Length Overall: 5.65m
Beam: 2.40m
Draft: 0.90m
Weight on trailer: 1350kg (approx)
Engine: Mercury four-stroke 150hp
Fuel capacity: 200-litres