Issue: July 2004
Haines Hunter’s 625 Horizon is the smallest of their trailable cruiser ‘Horizon’ range. Although she’s perhaps a little on the small side to be considered a serious ‘live onboard’ cruiser, astute design by the Haines Hunter team has produced a boat that is actually quite comfortable for a couple to live onboard for a weekend. However, before coming to that conclusion, our test of the 625 Horizon was unusual in that we actually spent a day onboard doing exactly the kind of stuff boats like this are all about.
We cruised southern Moreton Bay, lunching on Wavebreak Island. But not before ‘doing’ some beaches. We had to check Wavebreak and a few beaches on South Straddie up towards Currigee before deciding on Wavebreak after all. After lunch and with the photo shoot out of the way, it was time for a little sun baking during the digestive phase of the day. And there was no way everyone wasn’t going for a swim. But duty called ‘ somewhat reluctantly ‘ and eventually we fired up our official GPS speed recorder and conducted the formal side of a boat test formatted for magazine publication. Up until the pics were ‘in the bag’ our day was a bit like a TV show in that the images our photographer produced, to the viewer’s mind, somehow ignore a photographer being there at all.
Like a TV show, the images actually portray an accurate picture of what this boat offers to prospective buyers. Part of that had to do with the plate of seafood and the bottle of white set up as ‘props.’ Photos shot, seafood ‘ ‘yummo’ is the only word necessary! A glass each, (designated driver excluded of course) condensation glistening in the sunlight, just to rinse the palate you understand, purrfect!! In the end the whole crew, in front of and behind the camera, ended up kicking back, relaxed, wet, bedraggled, sandy, sated, and feeling damn good about the world and life in general.
On reflection, stepping outside the (boat test) square, produced a result that was much more of a ‘test’ than the usual hour or two zooming about finding a place for a photo shoot, some speed runs and then see you later, back to the office. We did all that along the way, however the bottom line is that the Modern Boating team really enjoyed ‘testing’ the 625 Horizon. And there are all kinds of messages in there that I don’t think need spelling out. As for leaving a strip of sandy footprints across the carpet back at the office and the salt ring gracing the editorial chair, for a boating mag, isn’t that how it should be ?
As for the boss’s questions about the team turning up in bare feet and boardies, why waste space repeating the obvious. For the test day, the Haines Hunter 625 Horizion’s plush bucket seats in the helm area and aft lounge/dinette proved ideal for four. We travelled about the Broadwater with everybody seated in comfort. When the cameras were stowed there was plenty of space for four to sit around the table chatting as we paid due attention to the bugs and prawns. Over the water, the smallest Horizon cruised effortlessly, proving herself nimble in the confines of the sometimes sinuous channels of southern Moreton Bay.
When we crossed the back of the Broadwater Seaway’s bar entrance, the confused, slightly nasty wind chop and tide conditions there passed unnoticed. Social skiing and wake toys are definitely in the 625 Horizon’s job description. Pushed, it turned quite well, performing more like a sporty runabout than a cruiser. Helm ergonomics are faultless, even when pull a ‘G’ or two in turns and as for a comment on the seating, no one noticed the bumps when we crossed the back of the bar. Hydraulic steering and a sporty steering wheel come as standard as did the stereo system you just couldn’t be without. A Navman Fish 4150 sounder and Tracker 5100i GPS are also standard fitments.
Like all Haines Hunter boats this boat features the data dot anti-theft system. But there is a downside to a 6.25m cruiser; it contains only so much space. On the other hand the upside of being 6.25m long means a well drawn hull gives a nimbleness of ride denied larger hulls, adding considerably to the boat’s versatility for other activities such as skiing. Driving the 625 Horizon was easy; it is after all a 6.25m trailerboat, which raises point that she’s easy to tow over long distances if the inclination takes you.
Here in Australia we in this country are blessed with many places where a boat like this is the key to delightful boating both close to home and further away. Whether that ‘further’ is north, or south of where you live and let’s not forget the NSW south coast. Nor places like Victoria’s lovely Gippsland lakes. Of course weekending on some of our big inland lakes is also clearly on the job description list. But for boating anywhere in this country the shade bimini seen in our photo spread is an option it would be hard to do without. It protected the helm area and cabin entrance well.
Going for a swim, the platforms either side of the outboard function as part of the outdoor living area as does a folding ladder and strategically placed grab bar for getting in and out of the water. Access to the cabin top is provided through an opening in the centre of the windscreen. By adding sunbathing to the agenda, this area too becomes part of the living area. In fact, the whole boat is basically usable living area, it makes for as much space as humanly possible in a boat of this size. Inside the cabin the fully lined ceiling keeps everything cool and comfortable. A toilet is another option few 625 Horizons could be ordered without. Portable, manual and electric flush models are on the list.
It’s worth noting when talking about the cabin that the curtains supplied with the toilet option, or if you prefer closing the folding cabin doors, make it completely private when necessary. These are lockable ‘ an unfortunate necessity in today’s world ‘ and yet when these and the big circular hatch in the cabin roof are open, the cabin is well ventilated. For sleeping, an infill added to the bunks makes a large comfortable bed. This brings us to the point about this boat being an excellent weekender for a couple. There are no cooking facilities, although there is ample room to stow these in for later use on a convenient beach.
It’s one reason we set up a couple to model, they illustrate accurately that a 625 Horizon is all about weekends, even long weekends, away for a couple and days out on the water, much like the one we enjoyed, for two couples. Our test 625 Horizon was powered by a 200hp Yamaha four-stroke, which added an element of straight-line performance with a top speed more than 40 knots. The 625 Horizon hull is rated up to 225hp for two-stroke outboards, which would make it even quicker again, although we suspect only folk more serious about wake toys or waterskiing would choose to take advantage of more power. For those boaters more into the cruising side of life in a trailable cruiser, Haines Hunter’s Glen Davidson told us that a 175hp outboard still produced a top speed of more than 30 knots. That’s without sacrificing too much acceleration with careful prop selection and slices some five grand off the purchase price.
So, what will it cost you to park one of these top Aussie boats on your front lawn ? Try around $58,000.
Words by Warren Steptoe