Haines Signature 530c

Haines Signature 530c Boat Test
PROPELLOR Magazine - February 2002

by Barry Thompson

When I saw three America's Cup boats being towed back to their base before lunch I knew that taking the new Haines Signature 530C for a run past North Head was not a good option. AC boats don't call it quits unless the wind is over '' knots and on this particular day it was gusting over 30 knots in the inner Harbour and 50 knots plus in the outer Gulf.

The John Haines designed 530C may have a great reputation for its rough water ability, but this wasn't the sort of water anyone would choose to be out on in a small cabin boat. I had already experienced whitecaps on the fairway before leaving Westhaven, so I knew it wasn't going to be pleasant. By the time we got halfway down the harbour, the sea state was such that I felt I had learnt all I needed about the hull's performance and handling without going totally crazy and needing to head further out into atrocious conditions. As it turned out, Coast Guard later issued a gale warning so it was a wise decision.

The 530C is based on the John Haines designed, SVDH - Signature Variable Deadrise Hull which sees the V varying as it progresses from the keel out to the chine. At the keel, the hull is very deep in the V, especially as it goes towards the forefoot where it is 29 deg. Further back the amount of V varies quite considerably where its softens to 21 deg in the mid sections before completely flattening off at the edge of the chine. In fact the Variable Deadrise Hull runs from 21 deg to 33 deg at the transom which helps produce a balance between a great ride and stability at rest. Haines has also given a lot of attention to the design of the strakes, which seem more pronounced than on most other production boats. They are wide, sharp and incorporate serious downturned edges. The result is a hull that simply floats onto the plane at very low speed and is easily pushed with moderate horsepower. Water is quickly expelled out either side from the running surfaces and any spray that does come over the screen is only put there by the wind. I found the 530C to be an exceptionally easily driven hull in the sloppy, windswept waters of the inner harbour. With the speed around 25 mph and with moderate trim, the 530C provided a reasonably comfortable ride across the whitecaps and given that this is a boat that barely breaks 5m on the hull it was certainly better than most of a similar size.

The test boat was fitted with a Yamaha 90hp 2-stroke. Top speed for our first outing was 36.5 mph @ 5000 rpm. On a later trip with the engine raised a hole, we managed to increase that to around 41mph @ 5600 rpm, using the same 17' three-blade Yamaha prop. The 530C is a development of the very popular 520, which it now replaces. Big difference is in the transom where the half pod arrangement has been replaced with a more conventional full-width transom and engine well. This has increased the cockpit length by about 100mm, although the cabin mouldings have hardly changed. There are a few small differences in the layout and finishing areas, but essentially the 530C is just an enlarged and improved version of the 520. The cabin area provides two berths comprising three cushions, each with storage under. There is sitting headroom for two adults and the squabs are long enough to lie on, although this is not a boat designed for overnighting. Extra storage is available in very wide side trays and the cabin is fully carpet lined up to the cabin top. With no side decks on the 530C, there is maximum use made of the beam inside, but it means that you can only do your anchoring via the forward hatch. This isn't a problem and you are well forward so you can easily reach the bollard and fairlead. The split bowrails is a good idea and means you do not have to work the anchor under the rail. The bowrails are really good to hang onto when launching and retrieving.

Adjustable Seats

The 530C doesn't have any bulkheads so there is a nice natural flow between the cabin and large cockpit. If anything the recessed sole of the cabin stretches a little too far back into the cockpit, for my liking as I felt my left foot almost slipping into the abyss when standing to drive in some reasonably nasty water. Despite this, the driving position is excellent when standing as the four-way seat adjustment means you can move the helm to suit. Seated, the well-padded bucket seat is comfortable and I found I was at just the right height to see through the screen. I did however find that when the canopy was folded down and clipped on over the top of the screen it impeded my vision when seated and when it was up, the forward side panel also cut out too much forward visibility. A slight redesign would soon fix that however. As in all their models now, the 530C is given a burr elm fascia on the dash, which in the test boat was fitted with the multi-purpose twin Yamaha instruments. There is still loads of space left for switches and other instruments and even a large flat area for a dash-mounted fishfinder or GPS/plotter. There is a separate moulding for a compass and another for the VHF. The standard seating arrangement is twin forward swivelling bucket seats and a split rear bench seat. You can have twin back to backs forward or a mix with these and a single. If the day's boating is going to focus on family cruising and picnicking, then the rear lounge is a going to be well utilised. It's probably the best seat in the boat, protected from the wind and spray. Recesses in the coamings allow for a stainless handrail which rear passengers will find very useful. A simple locking system is used so the rear seats do not move around at all, yet are still easy to remove without having to undo any clips or latches. However if it's fishing you are into, then you can simply remove one or both bins and your workable cockpit area is enhanced to huge proportions. Take out the clip-in carpet and you've got yourself a seriously functional small fishing boat. Two anglers will find it roomy, but four may find it crowded. Thinking of the fishermen, the 530C has four rod holders built-in and a large bait locker with cutting board in the transom. There is also a massive underfloor locker, which makes a great kill tank or a place to stow the dive gear, wakeboards, skis and rods. If you take the 100-litre optional underfloor fuel tanks option, then most of the space is used up, although there is still a small storage locker forward. Further storage is provided in very wide lower side trays with mountings for external rod holders and there are also smaller fully lined shelves either side of the forward seats - ideal for the wallet, keys, sunglasses and the mobile phone. The battery, oil tank and tote tanks all fit neatly under the aft deck and there is an extra-large rear sump with bilge pump to handle any water that comes aboard. Over the transom the attention to detail is very obvious in the way all the engine controls and cables are secured with tie straps and neatly accepted into a moulded upstand on the starboard boarding platform. A drop-down ladder gives access for divers and swimmers and if you really feel the need, there is enough space on the port platform for an auxiliary outboard bracket.

The Haines Signature 530C is a boat that continues a similar Signature styling of all the new model releases from Haines Signature and while it has been given a few tweaks to give it its kiwi identity from local builders Reflex Products, there is no mistaking the John Haines look, especially underneath. It's a compact and cosy boat that performs better than most and comes with an excellent pedigree from Australasia's most recognised name in trailer boating.

Model Haines Signature 530C

Designer - John Haines
Material - GRP
Type - cabin
LOA - 5.30m
LOH - 5.05m
Beam - 2.21m
Deadrise - 21-33 deg
Hull Configuration - deep V
Trailerable Weight - 1500 kg (approx.)
Engine Capacity - 75 - 115 hp
Power Options - Outboard only
Fuel Capacity - tote tanks


600 rpm - 3.5 mph
1000 rpm - 5.0 mph
1500 rpm - 7.0 mph
2000 rpm - 9.5 mph
2500 rpm - 15.0 mph
3000 rpm - 20.5 mph
3500 rpm - 26.5 mph
4000 rpm - 30.0 mph
4500 rpm - 34.5 mph
5000 rpm - 36.5 mph
All speeds recorded on an Eagle GPS and rounded off to the nearest 0.5mph

Notable Standard Equipment

CPC rated.
Options On Test Boat


Make - Yamaha
HP - 90
Model - 2-stroke
Cyl. Type - 3-in-line
Displacement - 1.14 litres
Max RPM - 5500 rpm
Propeller - 17” stainless


Make - Hosking
Braked - No
Suspension - Leaf springs
Rollers - Multi-roller

Std Features

Wind up jockey
sub lights


Reflex Products Ltd, P.O. Box 24024,
Christchurch, Ph 03 384 9482,
email: sales@reflex.co.nz
Boat Supplied by
Rogers Boat Shop, Albany,
Ph 09 415 9456