Haines Signature 670c

Haines Signature 670c Boat Test
PROPELLOR Magazine - October 2002

by Barry Thompson

In 2002 the Haines Signature 670C picked up an unprecedented three major awards; Best Boat Open Class over 6m - NZ Boat Show, Best Family Boat - Christchurch Boat Show, Best GRP Boat Of The Show - National Boat Show/Hamilton. Barry Thompson looks over a boat that with such credentials many feel could justifiably lay claim to the title of Fibreglass Trailer Boat of the Year.

Like all boats from the Haines Signature range, the 670C features the patented Haines SVDH Signature Variable Deadrise Hull - a 400mm outboard pod, wide ski plank and the recessed adjustable planning flaps. The basis of the SVDH is a variable deadrise, i.e. concave sections, throughout the length of the hull, with the transom having 21 degrees at the chines and 33 degrees beside the centreline ski plank. This provides a very soft ride and the hull rides easily onto the plane and retains its on-plane attitude at reasonably low speeds. The trim plates are recessed into the hull and not hung on the transom, which leaves both sides of the transom free for a ladder and auxiliary outboard bracket. The extra wide concave planning strakes and wide chine rails dump the water straight back down and provide both lift and stability when underway.

When Reflex Products wanted to fill the shortcoming of not having a cabin boat in the 7m-cruiser category they called on John Haines, the man responsible for the basic design of all models in the Haines Signature range. The collaboration between the two has resulted in the new 670C, the biggest boat in the current line up and one that has quickly gained national acceptance. While the hull has not been altered, there have been some subtle changes to the topside styling and the internal layout from the Australian version. In flat calm water the boat rides high on the ski plank and with only moderate trim I was able to get the 670C riding up like a runabout on the last 25% of the hull and the ski plank. It's a boat that responds positively to helm movement and hangs on tight in hard turns. I have experienced in some other Haines Signature hulls an obvious 'slapping' noise coming from under the boat in the calmer water, due to the flat running surface and wide strakes. The addition of Pu.FF underfloor foam buoyancy - in the 670C has done a lot towards making it quieter.

The high profile Taylor tempered glass windscreen certainly keeps off the wind and any spray that may come over, but I found it a little too high for my 1.8m height and it impeded my vision when standing. Reflex will however provide the screen to suit your height prior to delivery.

Being a big trailerboat, the 670C is designed to take the larger range of outboards with an engine power recommendation for 150hp to 225hp. For the test we ran a Mercury 200XL EFI and at 5800 rpm got 47 mph on the GPS on a calm Auckland Harbour. Best cruise was around 4500 rpm @ 37.5mph and slowest troll speed was 3.5 mph @ 700 rpm. Bolt on a 150hp and the top speed would drop back to around 40-42 mph and with a 225hp you would expect to see speeds in excess of 50 mph.

Loaded

It's not hard to see why three independent sets of judges at three national boat shows found so much to praise in the 670C. This is a boat that has been very well thought out and conceived with a load of neat features. The layout takes into account the needs of fishermen and divers, family boaties and those wishing to overnight. Storage is plentiful, seating is generous and space copious.

Depending how you want the toilet configured, you have the choice of twin full length berths with the head forward or 1 1/2 berths with the head to starboard. A privacy curtain can be drawn either across the open bulkhead or around the head itself. The rest of the cabin has the usual moulded storage bins under the squabs and wide side trays, with sitting headroom for 3-4 adults. An infill makes the whole area into a large double and provides an excellent area for overnighting.

Anchoring is carried out via the front hatch with a knee or foot operated switch onto an electric Muir capstan. If you want to have a fully automatic helm operated system then you'll need to permanently fix the anchor locker hatch, bolt the winch onto the top and add an inspection port on the forward bulkhead in case you need access. That's because there is not enough drop area under the winch with it mounted ahead of the anchor hatch. Chain and warp simply binds up.

An interesting feature of the 670C is the rear lounge arrangement in the cockpit, which traditionally has not been a feature of the smaller, locally produced Haines Signature models. However, in the larger 670C it adds to the character and practicality of the boat, which includes a lift-out round table and forms a dedicated area with seating for four.

Overall the boat provides seating for five to six. A single gas pedestal helm seat and back-to-backs opposite are standard and there is the option also of a full camper seat back-to-back with cooker and basin with freshwater. With a freshwater system, and camper style bimini and cockpit covers, the 670C transforms into a true overnighter.

Storage in the cockpit goes past just the casual side trays, underfloor wet locker and seat bases, it also includes three smaller moulded side pockets with woodgrain facings. Across the transom there is a dedicated gas bottle storage area and there's also a concealed moulded area under the lift up dash panel. This also provides easy access to the back of the instruments and can be wired up before installation in the boat. All instruments and electronics on the fascia are flush mounted with space provided for a centrally mounted fishfinder or GPS/plotter. Switches, trim tab controls and instruments are all conveniently placed. Our test boat was fitted with a Fusion marine CD stereo system with cockpit speakers and plenty of sound.

Fishability

Following our day on the Waitemata Harbour, and with a near perfect weather forecast the next day, all thoughts turned to the practical applications of the boat. A fishing trip was in order!

I headed home that night with the 670 behind my Nissan Safari, and once home set about, as best as I could without doing any permanent modifications, turning the boat into a fishing platform. A quick inspection showed that without any difficulty, this should be able to be achieved. First out was the cockpit table with its nice wood grained centre. While ideal for picnicking, its positioning in the centre of the cockpit meant it had to go. Next out was the rear seats and squabs. These comprise two separate fibreglass units that are held with Velcro to the carpet, but with their squabs, sit firmly in place. The last item to go was the carpet. I expect PRB Marine wouldn't have been too happy if we had returned the boat with pilchards engrained into the carpet! The whole process took only a couple of minutes and the result was a large working area that two anglers would positively rattle around on and four could fish relatively comfortably at a push.

Storage is excellent with a half fish bin for bait sitting comfortably in the underfloor hold down the centre of the boat and the two 20-litre buckets with all the gear fitting easily under the passenger's seat. While we didn't try it, it looked as if two or three dive tanks would fit comfortably under the floor and two may even stand up, stowed under the passenger's seat.

The next morning saw one keen angler with the boat down at Half Moon Bay boat ramp at 5:30am, where, with all gear stowed, he waited for the next keen angler to arrive at around 6:15am. With all pleasantries completed and his gear stowed away, the boat was launched.

The day was picture perfect and again the sea was flat calm, which gave us little opportunity to really see how the hull performs. Our tours in pursuit of the elusive snapper saw us do a circuit of Waiheke. travelling well out into the Firth of Thames and then the outer Gulf in search of work-ups. As is often the case at this time of year, it is either feast or famine and the day was our turn to go hungry. Maybe we would have been better to have gone in close and set up a decent berley trail'

Nevertheless the boat was good to fish from and with the accessories removed as described, gave plenty of space. The set-up came standard with a bait table that was seated into two rod holders on the transom. This was fibreglass with a cutting board insert and while functionally fine and looking really good was reasonably heavy and I dare say wouldn't float if it were dropped while washing it over the side!

Inset into the transom and portofino were two storage lockers that were of good size. If setting up specifically for fishing these would adapt well for live bait and kill tanks, or you may wish to use one to keep the tinnies cold on ice. The only other accessory that would be required would be a rocket launcher to store rods out of the way when not in use.

The Haines Signature 670 is a good all round family boat that would because of its larger size adapt well for a closet sports fishing boat with relative ease. It is also ideal for a weekender, providing space and features for comfortable overnighting.

Performance

650 rpm - 3.5 mph
1000 rpm - 5.5mph
1500 rpm - 7.5mph
2000 rpm - 9.5 mph
2500 rpm - 13.0 mph
3000 rpm - 20.5 mph
3500 rpm - 30.0 mph
4000 rpm - 34.5 mph
4500 rpm - 37.5 mph
5000 rpm - 41.5 mph
5500 rpm - 45.0 mph
5800 rpm - 47.0 mph

Speeds recorded on an Magellan GPS and rounded off to the nearest 1/2 mph

Notable Standard Equipment

  • CPC rated
  • PU.FF underfloor buoyancy
  • Toughened glass screen
  • Softrider pedestal helm seat
  • 200 litre fuel tank
  • Hinged dashboard
  • Toilet
  • Muir capstan
  • Hydrive hydraulic steering
  • Trim tabs.

 Notable Options on Test Boat

  • Lowrance LCX15 GPS/Plotter
  • Uniden Oceanis VHF
  • Cockpit dining table
  • Bait table
  • Bunk infill squab
  • Bowrails
  • Fusion CD/Stereo

Engine

Make - Mercury
Model - 200XL EFI
Horsepower - 200
Cyl. Type - V6
Max RPM - 5500
Propellor - 17" Vengeance

Trailer

Make - Mudgway
Braked - Override Brakes
Rollers - Multi Roller

Std Equipment

  • Submersible lights
  • Guide polles
  • Wind-up jockey wheel