Haines Hunter 500 Review

Issue: January 2000

Haines Hunter have the family and first-time boat buyer in mind. They are producing a series of their models as turnkey BMT packages.

Designated as the Classic series, these boats are intended to provide quality boating and make boat ownership easier and more affordable for families and first-timers. All boats in the series are fitted specifically for the role envisaged by Haines Hunter, and hence offer limited engine options and choice of only a handful of boat extras.

The latest addition to the Classic series is the 500 runabout which addresses the simple functions of boating – being able to quickly load up on a fine morning, get to the ramp, onto the water, and underway for a picnic, a bit of skiing, some fishing, or simply to enjoy the outdoors and the water. This Classic is a boat that doesn’t try to do anything more, nor does it offer loads of luxuries. With the package priced at $27,319 (with a 90) or $25,636 (with a 70) it has been built to a price and to a market.

However, it does make a very commonsense approach to basic boating needs and boat use. After testing with a 90hp Johnson, I believe that the larger engine is far more suited to the variety of uses that can be asked of a ‘family runabout’. The 90 produces a good comfortable cruising speed of 25 to 30 knots in the 3500 to 4000rpm range. Our testing was carried out with two adults on board, so it can be expected that these speeds will drop up to 5 knots across the rpm range with four people on board. With a 17′ SST prop, the 90 gets plenty of grip on the water and it takes a lot to get the prop to ventilate in any form. Consequently, acceleration is good and the boat responds well to trim.

The manufacturers have rated the hull to 115, enabling buyers to re-engine through their dealer if they need to repower, but prefer to offer the boat as a turn-key package with 70 to 90hp. Since the Johnson is a conventional carburetted 2-stroke engine, the package price for the 500 can be held down to a respectable $27,319. This includes a multi-roller trailer that enables relatively easy launching and retrieval from even poorly graded and shallow ramps.

Story & Photos by David Toyer.