Haines Signature 640SF review
THE quest for an Australian-built six-metre-plus dedicated sport fishing boat with forward and aft casting decks has finally arrived with the all new 640SF Haines Signature.
Fishing World recently attended the launch of the Haines Signature 640SF at Queensland's Southport Yacht Club where we were given an introduction to two new trailer boat offerings by The Haines Group managing director John Haines. With a renowned reputation as a builder of quality boats, it was with little surprise the two vessels that greeted me at the dock kept with the tradition of Haines Signature's excellence in producing boats of the highest standard.
That said, the boats immediately caught my eye, and as an avid angler and with my own fishing requirements brought into play. I began mentally ticking the boxes of my needs and wants within the confines of the well appointed Haines Signature 640SF side console fitted with a 200 Suzuki inline four-cylinder outboard motor and a 640SF centre console fitted with a 225 Mercury V6 outboard motor.
The stylish grey interior had everything in its place while nothing stood out as being impractical. First and foremost, a boat needs practicality; a space and a home for every piece of boating and fishing equipment where it can easily be accessed and not left on the floor. Rod holders and cleats have been strategically placed on the gunwale of the boat. Cosmetically, the black rails really added to the wow factor in the 640SF centre console but also offered practical use as obligatory grab rails on the console for those days when it's rough and more pleasant to stand rather than sit. A lean rail on the spacious front casting deck of the centre console is ideal for supporting anglers when casting for tuna, trevally or whatever target species is on offer particularly in rough conditions. The Missus loved the concept and how comfortable it would be for fly fishing trips, adding that the clear deck was perfect for controlling fly lines with no extruding "stuff" to catch her fly line whilst casting.
Also noted were the high sides which would contain fly line but also offers somewhat of a buffer when fishing from the bow so that accidentally "stepping off" the boat is eliminated. The wife also appreciated the padding located in the cockpit area where one could get away with fighting fish without coming home bruised and battered from leaning on a hard gunwale.
Moving forward and in the large front casting deck area there's a number of dry storage hatches where a mammoth amount of gear can be stowed. The front anchor hatch has been made bigger so you can actually stand and fish from it for more elevation in the right conditions. The trolling motor mounting bracket looks neat and is placed in a position for when the motor is stowed. The whole boat is still usable without the motor getting in the way.
The cleverly thought out rear casting deck is the ultimate in practicality and is user friendly with hatch storage on the port side and a pretty cool live bait set up with viewing window on the starboard side. There are five rod holders conveniently placed on the rear casting deck which is ideal for travelling to your fishing destination. The heart of the 640SF centre console was the console itself. The helm area is large enough for two adults to sit comfortably behind with a moulded foot rest and a sizeable windscreen for shelter if required. Black hand rails envelope the console as mentioned before. There's an ample flat area to accommodate several sounder/GPS navigation screens and a clever fold out console design. The console hinges forward, allowing access to the inside of the console; super practical for fit outs and servicing. There's a hatch on the side of the console for easy access to the battery. The console is also fitted with cup and phone holders. The bench seat can comfortably seat two anglers, however as a personal choice, I would utilise the under seat area by enclosing it somewhat and adding further storage options such as tackle boxes which could be easily accessed from the rear. An optional T-top can also be fitted which adds to the comfort level when fishing during hot days and provides some shelter from rain as well.
The 640SF is certainly a boat that I could see myself chasing mackerel, tuna and marlin from offshore and would be perfect for days traversing comfortably across Moreton Bay. A number of anglers can quite easily fish from this boat and as a centre console owner myself, I do love the ability to basically work the whole floor from bow to stern whilst fighting a fish and have a clear passage to do so.
The 640SF side console was indeed more spacious than its centre console cousin with the console having a large flat area suited to fitting a couple of screens, or one large screen if that's more to your liking. The windscreen was understandably smaller in size compared to the centre console and obviously wouldn't afford the driver as much protection in rougher conditions. If you're into adventuring for days on the water or undertaking long range day trips, the 300L fuel tank is certainly a big advantage, theoretically giving the boat a range of 498km based on a Yamaha 225hp @3350 RPM doing 24 knots with a top speed of 43 knots at 5900 RPM. The X Deck foam flooring in grey and black throughout the two boats really finished off the interior.
The factory fitted standard options on these boats from sounders, batteries and chargers, sound system, switches, etc, are all very usable for the beginner boat owner to serious fisho. But obviously the sky is the limit to optioning the boats up to one hell of a diehard fishing rig. If there was a negative I found with the boats is the hatch lids were all made from starboard and I'd love to see them made out of fully moulded fibreglass.
The 640SF nicely fills in the gap in between Haines Signatures 788SF and the 543SF and I can foresee these boats being very popular, both offshore and inshore. The day of the boat test saw typical winter conditions with a beautifully calm Broadwater to test the boats on, and as expected the boats performed flawlessly.
The new 640SF models from the Haines Signature stable are certainly a stunning piece of equipment to enjoy whether fishing offshore or just purely spending a day exploring our waterways with friends and family.