Haines Hunter Horizon 650 Review

Issue: October/November 2005

Haines Hunter’s 650 Horizon is based on the same hull as its 650 Classic model, which last year walked away with our Fishing Boat of the Year Award. So the new 650 Horizon has a hull that’s already carved an enviable reputation. 

A hull is about all the two boats share though. The Horizon is no hardcore fishing boat, it’s a weekend boat featuring a roomy cabin, a workable galley and a comfortable aft lounge/dinette. It can sleep up to five people and remarkably, three can be accommodated without converting the aft dinette/lounge. 

That’s a lot to fit inside a 6.5m boat and credit goes to Haines Hunter for doing so without cramping living space. Few boats this size are actually comfortable venues for a weekend out on the water. This one is. 

A roomy double berth in the cabin of a 6.5m cruiser is perhaps to be expected. However, it’s the 650 Horizon’s third bunk that’s really clever. 

The third bunk is located underneath a well-equipped galley running along most of the portside of the boat’s living area. Entry to this third bunk is through the cabin and although somewhat akin to sliding into a sleeping bag, it’s a full size single bunk once you’re in. 

The space inside the half cabin is enhanced by a mirror on the forward bulkhead and shelving on the walls. 

Need to sleep an extra two people ? Simply convert the L-shaped dinette that fills the entire aft end of the living area apart from a corridor along the portside past the galley. This leads to a transom door accessing a folding boarding ladder outboard on the reinforced transom. 

The fully functional galley features a corner sink with water supplied via a hand pump from a built-in freshwater tank. (Pressurised water is optional.) There’s also a single burner gas cooktop. 

A fold down seat squab incorporated into a lounge along the portside beside the helm is backed with solid material that acts as a large food preparation bench.

Below the sink is a curving corner cupboard with a good-sized pantry. When you consider the third bunk lies below all this, it’s clear Haines Hunter has made good use of every available space along the 650 Horizon’s portside.

More storage is available in a locker set into the deck between the helm seat and galley. Th ere are rod racks in pockets along the cockpit sides, plus more storage in another locker under the helm seat itself. There are also shelves in the cabin plus the space underneath the bunks and the aft lounge to store even more gear.

A couple with one child could literally live their weekends on the water in a 650 Horizon in style. Few people wouldn’t option a loo under the cabin bunk cushions, or the bimini top seen on the boat we photographed. 

With (optional) storm covers to shelter the aft bunk (once the dinette is converted) more kids, or a second couple can tag along. Another option fitted on our test boat was an electric anchor winch, that we didn’t notice until we opened the anchor hatch. Full carpeting through the boat’s living area and lining in the cabin are both standard. 

The helm area is well set out ergonomically with a footrest for the driver and a sexy Italian wheel. 

A comprehensive suite of Navman fish finding and navigation electronics is standard equipment on the Horizon 650. 

For open-water boating, the 650 Horizon hull’s history as the 650 Classic off shore fisher serves it well. She has no fear of open water like northern Moreton Bay and the Modern Boating team predicts a bright future for southern Queensland owners out around the famous Tangalooma wrecks anchorage. 

With a 210lt-fuel tank fitted as standard she has plenty of range for cross bay jaunts like this. Like all Haines Hunter boats these days, the tank is provided with a deck fill and dual breathers to make it easy to fill. 

With the 650 Horizon/Classic hull being rated up to a whopping 230hp, the 150hp Yamaha four-stroke on our test boat was a conservative power choice. 

Considering the Modern Boating crew’s general preference for more power than less, we were surprised to find ourselves liking the combination of 150hp Yamaha and the 650 Horizon. 

The top speed of 34.8 knots we recorded is even more pleasing in that it was achieved with four adults aboard. Low speed performance was similarly impressive with a seamless transition to planing speeds under 9 knots. 

Given the fanfare of recent Haines Hunter releases such as the 490 Pro Strike tested last issue, the launch of the 650 Horizon has been somewhat low key. But we reckon that’s appropriate, because quiet and relaxed boating is very much the Horizon’s style. 

To own one of these beauties will set you back around $75,000. 

Considering this hull is rated for a maximum horsepower of 230hp, having a 150hp Yamaha four-stroke mounted on the transom of this boat surprised the team. We normally like to have extra grunt for our offshore excursions, but following this test we all agreed the 150’s performance was excellent. This is an extremely smooth and quiet running outboard that displayed plenty of torque throughout the entire power range. Lightly loaded I have little doubt this motor would easily top out at 36 knots plus.

As it was, it proved to have more than enough grunt for this 6.75m hull and she was a pleasure to drive. 

The Haines Hunter 650 Horizon was powered by a sprightly 150hp Yamaha four-stroke outboard. But the maximum horsepower rating for this hull is a whopping 230hp. 

The Haines Hunter 650 Horizon/ Yamaha 150hp four-stroke spinning a standard Yamaha aluminium 15′ propeller with four adults onboard produced the following speed-to-rpm figures: 8.9 knots @ 2600rpm, 25.0knots @ 4500rpm, 34.8 knots @ 6000 rpm.

LOA: 6.75 
BEAM: 2.4 
HULL WEIGHT: 1300kg 
MAX HP: 230kg 
FUEL: 210lt 
PRICE: $75,000 

+ Sleeping capacity. Galley set-up 
– Nothing to report

Words by Warren Steptoe