by Dom Wiseman

Have you ever stepped aboard a boat and instantly thought “Yeah, I can see myself here?” Well it happened to me as soon as I stepped aboard the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore.  Being a keen angler I couldn’t help but notice the deep vee hull, sleek lines of the topsides, the massive cockpit space, rocket launcher, sports steering wheel and sleek black Mercury 200hp Verado outboard while it was sitting on the dock prior to launch. I knew we’d be instant friends and I was certainly not disappointed.
The Haines Hunter brand is extremely well known in Australian waters with a strong history of building head turning powerboats. Their attention to detail is legendary but more on that later. The owner of Haines Hunter itself is also a keen angler and very hands on, so from the factory in Victoria, is able to put his own experiences on the water into practice and that experience is evident everywhere you look.

WHAT YOU GET
Stepping aboard the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore for the first time, there are two things that instantly stand out. First is the expansive cockpit area which is so impressive, it’s hard to recall any other boat in this size category that would compete with it. The freeboard is also superb and the attention to detail extends to the toe holds that are present on both the port and starboard sides of the hull. This enables anglers to get close to the coaming and use it as leverage while fighting large fish.

The second is the custom built hardtop which is so securely attached and solid, it’s quite possible to imagine that it could outlast the hull itself. Fifty millimeter stainless tubing has been used throughout offering formidable strength. Enclosing a helm with a hardtop is something many Aussie boat builders have done recently but the forethought and functionality that has gone into the Haines Hunter version suggest that theirs currently sets the benchmark for others to follow. There’s storage above your head and space to allow for engine instruments and panels should you wish to free up dash space for electronics such as sounders and GPS units.

Elsewhere onboard the attention to detail is impressive with no open or unfinished surfaces anywhere. Even the cockpit coamings are enclosed with access hatches providing the necessary visibility to essential parts. Up front the cabin itself is quite large with comfortable cushions for a lie down if the fish aren’t biting. It also provides a large storage place for fishing essentials.

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Speaking of fishing, if you love a spot of it, this boat is really built for you. From the craftily designed rod storage on the hardtop to the bait prep station at the transom, you’re more than covered. Internally, there is also a cavernous kill tanks, clearly aided by the 150mm floor height increase, but still none-the-less clearly designed by someone who is familiar with the large finned beasts often found offshore.

The battery sits to the starboard side and immediately ahead of that is a standard half door which is perfect for bringing onboard large fish, or for those who fancy a spot of diving.

POWER
The power on this package comes from the impressively quiet Mercury 200hp four-stroke Verado outboard. The supercharged 2.6-litre inline six cylinder engine provides an impressive hole shot considering the hull is almost seven meters long. The package is well balanced with plenty of power, even mid-range, enabling quick acceleration when and if you need it.

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The beauty of this boat is not only the functionality, but the ease with which it delivers. The Mercury engine is a thing of beauty and matches the hull perfectly. At idle it is exceptionally quiet but when you open it up, it is throaty enough to know it is running without being so overpowering that it destroys all hope of conversation.

The engine system is controlled by the five inch Mercury Smartcraft Vessel View gauge which neatly puts all the essentials at your fingertips on one simple gauge. This clears up dash space for other electronic units. The units are easy to see in all light conditions and capable of displaying everything from speed to fuel economy all the way to range which is handy for long hauls offshore.

ON THE WATER
Serious fishos love a long trip offshore and once you’re behind the wheel of the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore, you feel as if you could be there all day long. Fly by wire controls make shifting between neutral, forward and reverse a breeze and ensure that the throttle stays where you put it. Coupled with power assisted steering it feels more car than boat. The helm seat is extremely comfortable; however, I felt a foot rest would be a handy addition, although hardly critical.

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The standing position is comfortable with full access to all controls but short statured individuals, like me, may find the windscreen frame in the line of sight when standing making tip toeing necessary to get a clear view.
It’s when you push the throttle down where this boat really excels. Built using a unique construction process including some proprietary mixes of resins, hand-laid fibreglass and a foam filled hull, Haines Hunter are able to produce a soft riding hull that simply chews up chop and swell. Seemingly, the worse it gets, the better it goes which is superb for offshore anglers who often have to endure long runs to productive grounds.

The power assisted steering is precise and easy to turn, even at speed, making this one functional and comfortable boat. The 21 degree dead rise also aids the ride into chop and the integrated hull chines turn spray down and keep it well away from the boat.

TRAILER
The Haines Hunter 675 is a large boat package and therefore needs a large dual axle trailer to sit on. This places it firmly in the bigger vehicle category with regard to towing capacity. At a minimum a 2.0 tonne capacity will be required such as a Toyota Prado or Jeep Grand Cherokee. The dual axle trailer will be easier to tow, reverse and manoeuvre but the boat and motor will still be imposing for anyone not used to towing such large loads.

OVERVIEW
Undoubtedly the Haines Hunter 675 Offshore is aimed at serious anglers and it doesn’t disappoint. The fit out is to an exceptional standard with the construction of both the hull and internal components exuding strength giving an air of confidence that is hard to ignore. The ride itself is brilliant with the hull able to seemingly cut through oncoming waves while also being stable enough at rest, which is crucial for offshore anglers.

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Internally there is still space enough for a family to use this for a day out on the water and the deep freeboard creates a fully enclosed spacious cockpit area that would keep small children safe.

POSITIVES

  • Exceptional ride
  • Space, space and more space
  • Construction

NEGATIVES

  • Visibility for shorter people
  • No footrest in helm

NUMBERS THAT MATTER
Price: $108,000 (as tested)
Construction: Fibreglass
Length Overall: 6.75m
Beam: 2.4m
Weight on trailer: 1850kgs estimated
Engines: Mercury 200 hp
Fuel Capacity: 280 litres