Haines Hunter 635 Sport Fisher Review

Haines Hunter 635 Sport Fisher Review

One of the best known and most highly regarded GRP (fibreglass) boat manufacturers in New Zealand is Haines Hunter NZ, so a new model from them is a big deal. Sam Mossman took the new 635 Sport Fisher for a spin prior to its debut at the Hutchwilco NZ Boat Show in Auckland.

After years of service, the moulds of Haines Hunters’ popular 650 were due for replacement. This is complex and expensive business for a fibreglass boat and the decision was made to take the opportunity to make a new model. By drawing on the best features of the 650 and smaller sister, the 600, and updating the design features and manufacturing process, they were able to bring the 635 Sport Fisher to life.

Haines replaced their ply decking system with a structural composite floor some years ago and now the fibreglass encapsulated treated timber bearers have gone too, also replaced by GRP. Along with several clever new design features which we will get to in a moment, they adjusted the shear lines and have also made this all-rounder a bit more fishing orientated.

From stem to stern

The graceful curves of the 635 start at its bow sprit where a Delta anchor is permanently mounted and retrieved by a helm operated Lewmar Sprint winch into an enclosed anchor well in the bow. Access to the ‘pointy end’ can be around the cabin sides or through a hatchway in the cabin roof. Bow rails are fitted.

The forecabin is lined to the berths which, with infills fitted, can sleep two or three adults. The space under the berths is largely taken up by buoyancy chambers but stowage is supplied by large side shelves. There is space for an optional Porta Potty or an electric marine toilet to be fitted in the bow.

The forecabin is line to the berths, which with infills fitted, can sleep two or three adults.

The forecabin is line to the berths, which with infills fitted, can sleep two or three adults.

The helm position is protected by Taylor Made curved, toughened glass ‘screens with a well-designed and removable bimini top and a set of clears. As part of the new design, an open-back hard top variant is being developed for release at the Hutchwilco Boat Show. This combo should be a winner, given New Zealand’s climate.

Grab rails are fitted in the right places and modest dash trays help with storage.

Haines Hunter have taken great care with their finishing touches. The padded vinyl on the cowl and bulkhead sides looks and feels lush and there are some nice design touches like the four staggered drink holders around the helm area, and drop-down sections at the front of the side pockets that stop things like phones and keys from sliding aft. Twelve-volt outlets and USB chargers are also situated here.

The padded vinyl on the cowl and bulkhead side looks and feels lush.

The padded vinyl on the cowl and bulkhead side looks and feels lush.

Electronics are taken care of by Simrad’s NSS12 EVO3S, in this case set up as a GPS plotter and hi-tech sounder with ‘wind back’ (it is also radar capable). This is a great bit of kit and Haines have further improved the sonar aspect with a protected, purpose-built transducer mount on the keel line, ahead of the engine. This produced a nice sharp bottom profile at 25 knots.

A school of anchovies being harassed by kahawai just a couple metres under the hull.

A school of anchovies being harassed by kahawai just a couple metres under the hull.

Other electronics include: a Uniden VHF, Yamaha’s Command Link engine gauge, and Fusion sound system. The easy-to-use fly-by-wire throttle, hydraulic steering (with a classy wood-look wheel) and Zip Wake trim tabs made this boat a dream to helm.

Beside the forecabin berths, there is seating for around seven adults in the 635. The two forward-facing seats (with moulded-in footrests) are both king-and-queen style with an upholstered bucket type on a sliding mount for the helmsman, and a plush passenger seat with lots of lumbar support. The helm side pedestal box houses an Icey Tek split-lid ice bin with a padded back section forming a rear facing bench seat. The passenger side has a more conventional back to back seat with storage space underneath.

The helm side pedestal box houses an Icey Tek split-lid ice bin with a padded back section forming a rear facing bench seat.

The helm side pedestal box houses an Icey Tek split-lid ice bin with a padded back section forming a rear facing bench seat.

Across two-thirds of the transom wall are forward-facing bench seats atop GRP bins with fold up back rests that disclose the battery (a twin battery rig is optional), isolation switching and more storage. These seats are removable if more cockpit space is needed for, say, fishing. Haines are working up a hatch system so the backrests can be removed, too. Supplementary storage includes a hold between the seats and side shelves with rod/pole racks and toe space underneath.

Side shelves are fitted with rod/pole racks.Side shelves are fitted with rod/pole racks.

The decking is good looking, non-skid U Dek from Ultralon and is available in faux teak or grey. Further contrast is added by natural teak wooded covering boards on the gunwales. Drainage runs to a sump under the transom wall from where water is removed by a bilge pump.

Other features? How about recessing stainless cleats, a rear-facing Hella cockpit flood light, a saltwater washdown system, two more cupholders on the transom wall, a transom step-through, fold-down stainless-steel boarding ladder, fuel port out on the boarding platform (to prevent internal spillage) and heavy-duty rubber rubbing strip around the sides. Oh, and a ski pole can be fitted, too.

Fitted up for fishing

But wait, there’s more! There are a lot of fishing fittings I haven’t mentioned yet.

Aside from the side rod racks, toe recesses, non-skid decking and ice bin already mentioned, there is a six-position rocket launcher bolted onto the bimini frame, four stainless through-gunwale rod holders are placed around the cockpit sides and Haines have developed a removable GRP bait station with Starport mountings for a pair of Railblaza rod holders. There are two underwater bait lights and soon to be available is a livebait tank built into the stern platform, and an outrigger system.

A six-position rocket launcher is bolted onto the bimini frame and mounts a Hella cockpit flood light.

A six-position rocket launcher is bolted onto the bimini frame and mounts a Hella cockpit flood light.

Haines have developed a removable GRP bait station with Starport mountings for a pair of Rail Blazer rod holders.

Haines have developed a removable GRP bait station with Starport mountings for a pair of Rail Blazer rod holders.

With all these options available, suddenly what has been a popular all-rounder can become a well-appointed fishing boat as well, without affecting the rig’s good looks or family fun applications.

On the water

As Haines Hunter HQ retail sales manager Dennis McCorkindale and I headed out on the Waitemata Harbour on test day, we spotted plenty of small groups of feeding birds and the sounder painted widespread scattered baitfish. It was late in April, but the autumn anchovy run was still happening. Dennis could not resist casting out a jig and soon managed a couple of fat kahawai. Several aspects were obvious – the boat was a stable fishing platform and the UDek, besides looking classy, was a good non-slip surface. The toe recess under the side shelving also allowed Dennis to get right up against the gunwale face without having to lean forward, off balance, while playing the fish. Removal of the transom seating gave a great amount of space, allowing for multiple anglers to fish comfortably.

The stern seats can be removed to provide more cockpit room.

The stern seats can be removed to provide more cockpit room.

With a mix of conditions from flat calm to a half metre chop, we confirmed the Haines Hunter 635 credentials as a stable, dry, soft-riding and comfortable boat. Rated for 150-200hp outboards, the test boat was pushed by a 175hp Yamaha with a 17” pitch Reliance prop, taking the rig up to 42 knots. (See the performance specifications to the left.)

Trailering

The test boat is carried on a DMW tandem axle trailer fitted with a walk board that aids dry-footed launching. Other features include: wind down dual-tyre jockey wheel; dual ratio manual winch; hydraulic braking with parking brake, submersible LED lights; and six pairs of wobble rollers per side with entry bay. The tow weight for the rig is 1800kg.

A walk board on the DMW trailer aids dry-footed launching.

A walk board on the DMW trailer aids dry-footed launching.

Haines Hunters’ sleek new 635 Sport Fisher displays a high degree of finish in the fibreglass hull, along with excellent quality upholstery and fittings. The upgraded construction systems and design features, in combination with the new hard top variant and fishing fit-up options (including live bait tank, bait station, out riggers and the ability to remove the extra seating from the rear of the cockpit), are sure to make this boat a hit with fishermen and fibreglass fans. All this while retaining their well-regarded sea keeping, looks and all-round application to diving, water sports and general family fun. An instant Kiwi classic.

The 635 is more fishing oriented but has kept Haines' all-round application to diving, water sports and general family fun.

The 635 is more fishing oriented but has kept Haines' all-round application to diving, water sports and general family fun.

Performance

Engine: Yamaha 175 hp four-stroke with 17” pitch prop.

Load: two adults

Revs            Speed            Fuel
(RPM)          (knots)             (l/hr)

1000             4.0                  3.0

2000             8.7                  9.4

3000             18.0                16.0

4000             28.0                27.5

5000             35.0                49.0

5500 (WOT)  42.0                62.0

Specifications

Material: GRP

Configuration: Cuddy with canopy

Hull length: 6.35m

LOA: 6.76m

Beam: 2.34m

Hull deadrise: 21 degrees

Length on trailer: 7.5m

Width on trailer: 2.40m

Height on trailer: 2.30m

Fuel tank capacity: 195 litres

Recommended HP: 150-200hp

Test engine: Yamaha 175hp four-stroke

Prop: Reliance 17” pitch

Tow weight approx.: 1800kg

Key-turn price: packages from $124,000

Price as tested: $143,896

Warranty: 5-year hull warranty

Test boat courtesy of Haines Hunter HQ


June 2021 - Sam Mossman
New Zealand Fishing News Magazine.
Copyright: NZ Fishing Media Ltd.
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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