by Steve Morgan •
We hope for windy days while boat testing, but not at the speed that Port Phillip Bay dished out while testing this Haines Hunter 585R (runabout), fitted with a Yamaha F200 by Chelsea Marine. As one of the rigs that Rob Neely and his team are setting up for their stand at the Melbourne Boat Show, I was keen on testing its Port Phillip Bay abilities in some breeze.
The 30+ knots and washing-machine-like conditions put a pretty rapid halt to that. Nonetheless, we were able to get the rig out on the water and eventually find a location where we could do some economy figures.
To put the hull into perspective, I asked Rob why Haines Hunters were such a popular boat.
“Lots of people buy a Haines Hunter and then never buy anything else,” Rob said, “It’s a combination of comfort, stability, economy and resale value.”
Indeed, Rob had plenty of Haines Hunters in the showroom when we turned up at the dealership to pick up the test boats.
By nature, the runabout design is pretty simple. Runabouts are made with less cabin space and more cockpit to offer serious anglers plenty of fishing room down the back. The 585 definitely has plenty of space, with a 2.4m beam adding to the work area.
The test boat was set up for fishing, with rocket-launcher style rod holders in the targa top, a large bait station and plenty of room in the side pockets. It was also fitted with the removable side door to help in loading the boat on the trailer and getting swimmers and divers out of the water when afloat.
Often the importance of a good trailer under a hull is overlooked. The Aussie-made Easytow trailers work well under these hulls and the combination of wobble and keel rollers make it a pleasure to drive on and off, even in windy conditions like on the test day. Dual axles are a must for any rig around 2000kg and this rig will tow easily behind nearly all twin-cab 4WDs.
As expected, Yamaha’s F200 delivered exceptional economy, squeezing just under 2km/L burned at 4000rpm and 39km/h. Combine this with the 230L underfloor fuel tank and there’s a theoretical range of nearly 450km on a single fill. If that’s not enough for you, you’re going to need a bigger boat.
At the helm, Yamaha’s new fly-by-wire digital throttle and shift impressed. It takes a little to get used to the sensitivity and smoothness of this new system, but once you do, you’ll never want to go back to mechanical throttle cables again.
Overall, you should look at the 585R if you’re more of a fisher than a family weekend kind of person. It’s designed with plenty of room and storage for all things piscatorial. But the significant other and kids will be comfortable nonetheless if they want to tag along.
Haines Hunters aren’t cheap – the test rig weighed in at $113,900, however basic packages for this hull start at around $90,000. Give Rob and the staff at Chelsea Yamaha a call for more information or see them and this boat at the Melbourne Boat Show. Find them online at www.chelseayamaha.com.au and like Chelsea Yamaha on Facebook.
Length Overall 6.0m
Hull Weight 950kg
Max hp 200