Haines Signature 580BR

Haines Signature 580BR Boat Test
Propellor Magazine - January 2009



Haines Signature 580 BR
By Doug Dukeson

The first time I laid eyes the Haines Signature 580BR when it was released at the 2006 Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show I had an instant admiration for it – and I have felt the same way at every show I have attended since. Its plush interior and appealingly sleek sporty lines give it a sexy sports boats appearance, which at the least, matches most of the flash American bowriders it competes against on today’s bowrider market. I must have known something, as that year at the same show; it took the 2006 Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show Sport/Ski Boat of the Year award.

The year before I caught a glimpse of the 580BR, we had the 580’s little brother – the 550BR – for our 2005 camera boat, which served us well in all aspects, both work and pleasure.
At this year’s NZ Boat Show, I could not contain myself and asked Russell Cull, General Manager of Christchurch’s Reflex Products, which has the full manufacturing and distribution rights for Haines Signature in New Zealand, what he thought about our running a 580BR as our 2009 Propeller magazine photo boat. There was little hesitation; in fact within an hour Greg Haines of the Haines Group, Australia (Haines Signature Australia and Haines Suzuki) was sitting at our stand discussing what size Suzuki we should be bolting on the transom. A few months later we took delivery of our brand new Haines Signature 580BR. I have always been a fan of bowriders, enjoying the functionality they offer to both my family and work. I enjoy being able to keep an eye on my kids who just love riding in the bow. I have visibility when collecting crashed skiers and wakeboarders from the water, particularly with the ‘droopy bow’ style of the 580BR. With a relatively young family I have been able to easily manage the boat at the ramp with little assistance. For work the ability to roam through the boat for photography purposes has been great. The Americans have been building bowriders for many years and doing a pretty good job. Over the last decade New Zealand and Australian boat manufacturers have picked up on the rise in the bowrider market and developed their own, personalizing them with a down-under skew for our diverse boating conditions and lifestyle. The 580BR is certainly one of those that meet the kiwi criteria.

The Boat:
Right from the bowsprit, there is a nice wide stainless fairlead and solid bollard and serious anchor locker – one can see the 580BR has been built to meet down-under requirements, the anchor locker hungry enough to gobble up a generous quantity of rope, chain and anchor. Still at the bow region, on the coaming just forward of the navigation lights on each side are tasteful chrome flush mounted mooring cleats that pop up with just the slightest push, assisting in keeping the clean lines of the 580BR uncluttered. Beneath the plush upholstered bow seating, which accommodates two to three adults or in our case up to four kids, are two good-sized self-draining lockers, big enough to store two or three life jackets in each. There is further stowage in each side of the bow by way of two pockets where we have a Fusion speaker mounted in each to drown the noise of the screaming kids! When cruising in cooler weather there is a bow cover that effectively blocks the draft through to the cockpit area.

For those who enjoy a little less wind blowing through their hair, a few steps through the beautifully curved glass walk thru’ windscreen finds you in the very luxurious and generous cockpit. On your way through the strongly hinged centre glass at knee height there is more storage within the console lockers each side. The access is quite small for such a large storage area, but a great dry area for storing items you want to be sure to stay dry. Seating arrangements within the cockpit consist of a large, comfortable rear bench seat that runs the entire width of the cockpit. The moulded base of the seat also acts as a large storage bin. There is a bolt on each side, which allows the removal of the whole rear seat, offering generous cockpit space, which we have found valuable when we have ventured out for a serious day’s wakeboarding or skiing or a bit of a fish. Another great fishing feature is the ability to remove the light brown marine carpet when at risk of pulling a ‘bloody’ fish or two onboard. With the seat removed there is also good access to the battery, fuel filter and the internal bung. Seating portside is a clever forward- and aft-facing moulded seat, hinged at each end, that splits down the centre to be opened up like a book, offering more storage again. Facing forward is comfortable with a well-placed handrail to the side. Immediately ahead is a good-sized deep glove box come icebox, big enough to fit a couple of six-packs and ice. Directly above we have the latest fully waterproof Fusion MSIP500 stereo, which has a facia that drops down and takes an ipod or MP3 player inside, enabling you to take all your best tunes with you. Both skipper and co-pilot have a cup holder and teak dressed moulded footrests against the bulkhead. At the helm there is a low pedestal seat that slides forward and aft and also has the ability to swivel around to face to the rear, creating a very social lounge type atmosphere. Having seats so low gives the boat a sports car type feeling; visibility is unaffected due to the low profile of the boat.
Seated on either side, there is very little windage due to the low seating style. I have had friends of over six feet who sit well clear of the breeze diverted over the screen. For those wanting to stand, the helm seat slides back just enough, with the flush mounted control box in a natural position, easily within reach for times out in testing weather when you sometimes need to power on or off in a hurry. Standing or seated, the stylish Suzuki gauges are easily visible, mounted within a sporty looking graphite carbon-fibre dash facia. Down each side, there are two deep side pockets big enough to take skis and other long items. The Australian 580BR version has a ski locker under the cockpit sole; to meet the CPC requirements Reflex has filled the cavity with its patented PuFF buoyancy system. To be honest, with all the other storage available I have not missed the locker. We have fitted Tallon receivers above the mentioned side pockets for the option of additional cup holders, cabin down-lighting, a bait board or stainless rod holder, a fantastic product that has allowed us to save space and preserve the clean lines of the 580BR. The portofino stern is both good looking and functional with the very practical water level swim-up platform with ladder and strong grab bar, which allows easy access to and from the boat. Once up to the elevated platform there is a small transom door on the port side for easier access into the boat.

During the four months we have been in possession of the boat, we have experienced an interesting mix of sea from dead flat to one-metre-plus choppy seas, waterskiing, fishing and in poker runs. The 21-degree deadrise hull has preformed well, kept us safe and mostly dry. (There is not too much you can do about the wind throwing it back at you!) The 175hp Suzuki is more than enough power – the 2867cc DOHC, fuel-injected inline four is smooth running and a great match for the 580BR – a must have if you enjoy speed and like to drive a boat. Right through the rev range the beefy four-stroke engine seems to be ready to offer a little more, instantaneously. I found the rig ‘sits up nice’ and performs best at about three-quarter trim. With the outboard tucked right in, the boat seems quick to get up on the plane, and holds on the plane longer when dropping down in speed.

As we have experienced with other Haines Signature models that feature the SVDH hull – part of the reason for these quality hull traits is unquestionably the very special running sections of the hull or SVDH (Signature Variable Deadrise Hull), which carries a world patent. According to John Haines (Snr), the design offers several advantages over the traditional V bottom hull, giving improved stability at rest compared to a conventional deep V boat and lower planing speeds for a flatter, drier ride. The hull design, says Haines, has another special feature; the way the hull manipulates the water. Water flows transversely over the warped hull, created by the concave section and as water cannot be compressed it creates enormous amounts of lift and therefore lower planing speeds. Haines claims that the benefits are also translated into a more efficient hull and better fuel consumption.

The time we have spent with our 580 BR to date has been pleasurable and fun. The 580BR has come from years of on-water testing and developing by the Haines family and Reflex Products. Through the quality build process at Reflex Products, we have been presented with a well spec’d, soft riding sports boat which I am sure we will have many more hours of fun with before it is time to move her on.

Make: Haines Signature
Model: 580 Bow Rider
Price as Tested: $76,068
Packages From: $63,000
Designers: John Haines
Material: GRP
Type: Bowrider
LOH: 5.8m
LOA: 5.95m
Beam: 2.32m
Deadrise: 21 degrees
Hull Configuration: Mono
Trailerable Weight: 1500kg approx.
Power Options: Outboard Only
Recommended HP: 115–175 hp
Fuel Capacity: 150 litres
500 rpm 3.5 mph
1000 rpm 5.1 mph
1500 rpm 7.0 mph
2000 rpm 8.3 mph
2500 rpm 10.6 mph
3000 rpm 18.5 mph
3500 rpm 25.5 mph
4000 rpm 30.4 mph
4500 rpm 36.4 mph
5000 rpm 43.0 mph
5500 rpm 48.8 mph
6000 rpm 54.0 mph
Speeds recorded on a Lowrance GPS

Notable Standard Equipment:
Curved glass screen, dedicated locker well, full length side pockets, Graphite Dash Facia, moulded drink holders, moulded glove box with lid, removable carpet, rear lounger seat with storage, sports steering wheel and walk through transom.
Notable options on test boat:
Removable ski pole, bow cover and road cover, Fusion ipod four speaker stereo, Talon fixtures including power source fittings,
Make: Suzuki
Model: DF 175
Horsepower: 175
Weight: 215kg
Cyl. Config.: In-line 4
Max RPM: 6000
Propeller: 15” D x 23” P
Retail Price: $30,455

Make: Mudgway
Model: Tandem
Braked: Hydraulic
Rollers: Multi
Std Equipment: Jockey wheel, submersible lights.
Retail Price: $6,700

Boat Supplied by: Reflex Products, Christchurch www.reflex.co.nz
Manufacturer: Reflex Products, Christchurch www.reflex.co.nz