Issue: June 2006
HEY TRUE BLUE
Here’s a top Aussie boat taking on the imports and winning.
There’s no denying our parochial pride when we come across homegrown machinery as good as the latest Haines Signature 580 BR ? even though we’re supposed to remain objective as boat testers for Modern Boating.
But the 580 BR is a true blue Aussie that unashamedly takes on the imports on their own ground and shows them a thing or two. And while the quality of the imported bowriders in this class is first rate, the Haines Signature 580 BR adds a distinctly Aussie flavour.
The American boating scene differs from ours as their boats are configured for use from a marina. Which explains why so many of the 580 BR’s imported compatriots don’t have an anchor well. This can be inconvenient in the usual Aussie scenario of finding a beach to base your day on the water.
The Aussie-built Haines Signature 580 BR has an anchor well so soundly integrated into the bow area that it might go unnoticed, until you need an anchor, anyway. The mooring cleats on the test boat were of the pop-up variety, so they too go unnoticed until needed.
Practical considerations aren’t of great concern to typical bow rider buyers, so they probably won’t notice the way the Haines Signature 580 BR’s rear lounge seat comes out as a single unit. Removing the lower part of the seat creates an enormous amount of room and a spacious cockpit. It adds versatility, allowing the boat to be used for fishing, or as a serious ski boat with plenty of open space.
Getting skiers in and out of the water is easy whether or not the aft lounge is in place. A small transom door on the portside leads to the integrated swim platform complete with folding extension ladder and a grab bar to aid boarding.
On a purely practical basis, the 580 BR has much to offer, but it gives nothing away in style or performance. Aesthetics appeal to individuals, so we’ll let you be the judge.
Slide behind the 580 BR’s (tilt adjustable) wheel and you find a seat with sides high enough to hold you in place at the wheel, although they’re not that high that you stew in a literal “bucket” on the average Aussie summer day. The passenger’s seat also pivots to allow the observer to look aft while skiing. An optional pedestal picnic table can be located either in the bow or aft cockpit, where all the seats face each other when the buckets are swivelled aft.
The way the seating is set up in the 580 BR provides a great combination of security, comfort and sociability. You sit low to the water yet retain good vision in all directions from the helm.
Below the sporty, carbon-fibre dash there’s a carpeted bulkhead perfectly positioned to brace your feet against during the kind of Gs this boat generates in turns. The passenger side of the dash gets the Clarion stereo and a glove box big enough to double as a drinks cooler.
Both bow and rear lounges are luxuriously upholstered, as are the cockpit sides. Grab bars and drink holders are strategically placed in both and there are storage lockers beneath both lounges.
A cavernous locker, set lengthways under the cockpit floor easily handles the skis, but wake toys, being such bulky things when they are inflated, are always problematical to stow.
Admittedly it’s an option, but the stainless steel framed bimini top featured on the test boat, includes what we can only describe as a ‘roof rack’ to transport skis and inflated wake toys from place to place.
John Haines’ variable-deadrise hull (Signature boats term it “SVDH”), is a “signature” of this family brand and a credit to our local boating industry.
SVD hulls are a favourite with the Modern Boating crew. They ride soft, and turn as if they are on the proverbial rails. This 5.8m version easily handles a windy day on the lower Brisbane River.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet, the 580 BR is an easy boat to like. It’s a fun boat, but it wouldn’t be fair to say that without pointing out that one of Suzuki’s recently released 175hp four-strokes contributed significantly to the fun.
Suzuki’s new 175hp has the biggest displacement in its class and it shows. The 2867cc DOHC multi-point, sequential electronically, fuel-injected, inline four-cylinder motor features an aggressive cam profile and continuously variable timing.
At idle, the 175hp on the Signature 580 BR was quiet and vibration free, yet it produced punchy acceleration when spinning a 15-in pitch standard Suzuki propeller, although it was difficult to determine an exact top speed on the day due to conditions.
At 215kg, the new Suzuki is lighter than its competition and although right on the maximum weight limit for the 5.8m SVDH hull, the combination with the 580 BR is a flawless and spirited match.
The Haines Group recently instigated the Signature Benchmark Program, where the Haines team strives to build every boat better than the last. The high-grade stainless steel rod-racks, bowrails, windscreens, electronics, your specified options and every other detail is carefully fitted. Before your Signature leaves the plant, it is meticulously detailed and thoroughly inspected.
When crafting a Signature hull, Haines use a superior grade of double bias matting fiberglass, which has a finer, tighter and much stronger weave. It needs less resin, is less brittle and lighter. The highly-polished gelcoat finish is almost 100 per cent impervious to UV ray damage with negligible decomposition in colour or resin texture, which is why there are boats out there, built 30 years ago, still in pristine condition.
A Suzuki 175hp four-stroke powered the Haines Signature 580 BR.
Spinning a Suzuki 15in prop, the 580 recorded the following performance figures.
KNOTS – RPM
7.7 – 2400
16.7 – 3000
25.6 – 4000
35.1 – 5000
42.3 – 5900
44 – 6000
DEADRISE: Variable (33-21 Degrees)
HULL WEIGHT: 560kg
TOWING WEIGHT: 1600kg
MIN HP: 115hp
MAX HP: 175hp
MAX ENGINE WEIGHT: 215kg
WORDS : WARREN STEPTOE
+ Excellent overall finish; SVD Hull
– Nothing to report