Haines Hunter SS660 review

Haines Hunter SS660 review

The Haines Hunter marque is instantly identifiable in New Zealand (and Australia). Sam Mossman checks out the latest advances in their design and construction.

Auckland-based Haines Hunter NZ Ltd is a name that is instantly recognised by Kiwi boaties). Known for their practical and comfortable designs, world-class finish, robust construction and impeccable sea-keeping, Haines Hunter hulls are a common sight around the country.

Recently Haines Hunter NZ has embarked on a development program and the new SS660 (Sport Sedan) is one of the results.

The hardtop provides plenty of shelter and shade for the crew.

Putting it together

There are two notable changes in this new model. The first is the change in the cockpit deck construction: the previous glass-over-ply construction has been replaced by a moulded composite PVC/foam sandwich that’s bonded to the hull (which features a GRP-encapsulated tantalised pine stringer/girder system), creating watertight chambers under the deck.

The deck created is stronger and lighter than before and the surface is covered in soft-touch, light-grey over black U-Dek panels from Ultralon. An alternative to the U-Dek is a domed-in marine carpet finish.

Haines Hunter NZ pays considerable attention to detail. Each hull is hand-laid in the mould with multi-layered, chop-strand fibreglass and woven rovings. The stringers and thwarts are fully enclosed and the resins hand-squeegeed to remove excess resin and air bubbles. The resulting hull is a 50-50 mix of resin-to-glass.

High-quality Orthopthalic resins and Isopthalic gelcoat are used, with some of the locker doors and capping finished in teak, softening the look. Metal fittings are stainless steel or chromed bronze while the ‘screens and side-sliders are 6mm toughened glass with a wiper standard on the helm side, and others optional.

The factory uses the latest high-tech systems controlling humidity, temperature and air quality. Each hull is the responsibility of one staff member, who oversees the construction from go to whoa.

Changes to the layout also consider the needs of the latest in electronic and electric devices and instruments. The hull is designed to take a through-hull Centre Line Structure Scan transducer. Twelve-volt and USB charging ports are also built in.

The helm console features a 12-inch Simrad multi-function display, but there is space for up to a 16-inch screen. Instrumentation is covered by Yamaha’s Command Link display or the Simrad NSS12 EVO 3. The VHF radio and Fusion Bluetooth stereo are housed in the hardtop console above the windscreen. A Lectrotab control is on the dash-top and these auto-retract trim-tabs are easy to use with the indicator panel showing their position. The sounds department is covered by a Fusion system.

Fitting up

As mentioned, ‘SS’ stands for Sport Sedan and the test boat design was basically an open-back hardtop, but there are also other configurations based on this hull. The SS660C (Closed Cabin) version features a teak cabin door and a cooker built into the dash, while the SF660 is the soft-top version.

A Lewmar V700 anchor winch on the bow takes care of the heavy lifting, feeding through the foredeck into the anchor locker. The fully-lined forecabin will sleep up to three adults with a berth infill, and also features an (optional) electric toilet under the forward-berth. There is under-berth stowage to each side, and more space in wide side shelves.

 An electric toilet is fitted under the forward squab

The addition of options like the under-seat fridge and two-burner gas cooker would make this a comfortable boat for overnight stayaways.

There are pedestal seating options offered, but the test boat was fitted with a pair of very comfortable king-and-queen seats, finished in high-quality vinyl. Each seat has two levels of internal stowage as well as an external mesh pocket. A decent-sized under-deck hold is sited between the seats.

The theme of quality fittings includes the lighting, with Hella LED products used throughout. This includes two red side-cockpit lights, two underwater bait lights on the transom, a cockpit flood, three lights under the hardtop and cabin lights further forward.

Quality Hella lighting is used throughout the boat

The word ‘stowage’ keeps popping up in this review, and we haven’t finished with it yet. Full-length side pockets run along each side of the cockpit, both fitted with pole/rod racks. There are pair of small pockets on each side under the hardtop and one on each side, further back. Grab rails are fitted everywhere they are needed.

The transom design features a step-through on the port side and fibreglass fish bins form padded bench seats in each corner. These can be removed to allow more fishing room while leaving the padded back rests to lean against in comfort. The transom wall supports a removable bait board (with two Railblaza mounts allowing attachment of a range of fittings) and there is a nice teak-fronted locker below. The battery, fuel filter and Isolation switch are in the transom locker on the starboard side.

The transom wall features a step through (behind angler), two removable bench seats, bait board and locker.

The 660’s sealed deck drains to a sump under the transom, which is fitted with a bilge pump. A saltwater wash-down hose is built into the transom top (a 50-litre freshwater option is also available). On the transom is a stainless steel fold-down boarding ladder, helping divers and swimmers access the port boarding platform.

A fold-down stainless ladder gives easy access to the port boarding platform.

Fishing fittings

In addition to those fishing fittings already mentioned, the SS660 is well kitted-out for fishing. There’s a six-position rocket-launcher on the hard-top, which may be tilted down to allow easier garaging. Four through-gunwale rod-holders are fitted, as are a pair of very cool Lewmar Viper outriggers from Kiwi Yachting. The heavy chromed bases are fully removable and adjustable, with telescopic poles that come down short enough to fit into the side shelves – a nice bit of kit. A mackerel-sized livebait-tank is built into the port-side boarding platform.

The rocket launcher is hinged and can be folded down to aid garaging

The cockpit sides are hip-high on average adults, making for security (especially when smaller kids are aboard) and removing the starboard side transom seat creates a nice comfortable, well-braced position, ideal for a forward-chase when stand-up game fishing.

On the water

I met up with Dennis McCorkindale from Seacraft (the retail division covering Auckland and Northland) at the Outboard Boating Club (OBC) facility in Auckland. It was early in the new year and with all his work crew on holiday, he had drafted his son and daughters to drive the camera boat and my partner Tracey came along for the ride, too. With an overall length of 7.35m, the SS660 is a big, solidly-built hull with a 21-degree deep ‘vee’ profile and three bottom strakes per side.

Although the specifications for the hull recommend a 150-200hp engine, the test boat was sporting a Yamaha 225hp four-stroke and is estimated to be capable of a substantial 42 knots (see performance figures hereabouts). We didn’t take the test boat to its limits, though. It was blowing about 10 knots when we left the OBC base in Auckland’s Tamaki Drive, with a half-metre chop in the Rangitoto Chanel, and these days I am a fan of comfort over speed.

Over the next few hours the wind came up to about 15 knots, gusting 20 from the SW, and the tide turned. With the addition of container ship and ferry wakes and the tidal run, we ended up with a confused, steep sea of about a metre-and-a-half in the harbour entrance on our return.

‘Sporty’ conditions like that would mean a pretty uncomfortable ride in most craft, but the deep vee of the Haines cut through it easily and stability was not wanting – the trim-tabs were hardly needed. And remarkably, despite the wind and rough conditions, there was not a spot of water (or salt) on the ‘screens when we got in!

Coming alongside the jetty was very simple and controllable with SeaStar hydraulic steering and the soft fly-by-wire throttle controls. A lovely boat to helm.

Putting the trailer in ‘trailer boat’

A ‘glass boat of this size is not light, but one of the paybacks for this is good sea-keeping. The 660 is carried on a DMW Premier tandem-axle trailer. This is a cradle A-frame design with hydraulic braking, park brake, dual-ratio manual winch, alloy wheels, galvanised wheel guards and frame, submersible LED lights, 10 pairs of wobble rollers per side, and wind-down jockey wheel. Approximate tow weight for the rig is 2030kg.

All in all

The new Haines Hunter SS660 is strongly built and beautifully finished and trimmed. Suited to stay-away trips and blue-water capable, it has demonstrated excellent sea-keeping. When you add this to Haines Hunter NZ Ltd’s long experience in boat building and their care in manufacturing, as well as their insistence on using high-quality materials and fittings, I think they have a boat that will be very popular and highly rated by lovers of fibreglass.

Specifications SS 660

Material: GRP

Configuration: open-back hardtop

LOA: 7.35m

Beam: 2.45m

Deadrise: 21 degrees

Reserve Buoyancy: CPC compliant, positive buoyancy

Fuel Capacity: 195 litres under deck

Recommended HP: 150-200

Test engine: Yamaha 225XCA four-stroke

Prop: 17-inch pitch

Hull warranty: five-year structural

Trailer: DMW Premier tandem

Tow weight (approx.): 2030kg

Key turn rig: $125,299 (200hp Yamaha)

Prices as tested: $154,521

Test boat courtesy of: SeaCraft

Performance

Light Boat – approx. 100 litres fuel and two persons on board 18”-pitch Salt Water Series II stainless steel three-blade prop

Revs (RPM) Speed (kph) Fuel(l/hr total)
1100 5 5.8
1600 7 9
2000 9 14
2200* 11 16
2400 13 18
2600 17 21
3000 21 25
3400 25 31
3700 27 37
4000 30 35
5300 42 80

Figures supplied by Seacraft

   This article is reproduced with permission of   
New Zealand Fishing News

February 2019 - Sam Mossman
Re-publishing elsewhere is prohibited

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