WEAPON OF CHOICE
There’s little doubt that we call on our boats to perform more and more tasks in the differing arenas of recreational boating these days.
With long-range tanks, galleys, fridges, freshwater showers and all sorts of mod cons, the capabilities of your average boat can be greatly improved. And when you’re planning a billfishing or bottom-bashing trip out wide, you can turf out all the fancy stuff like tables and bunks in no time.
There are very few boats out there that can camp and entertain while retaining that hardcore fishing functionality, but this particular Haines Hunter we tested really excels in the versatility stakes. While it’s not strictly a new model, this particular boat was not long out of the mould and has had a serious makeover to cater for its new owners’ hectic schedule. It’s interesting to see
how a standard boat can be customised at the factory in order to please its owner.
That new owner, in this case, is former Rugby League star and TV personality Andrew Ettingshausen (ET). ET needed a fishing platform able to handle a wide variety of fishing styles, from estuary to bluewater, and you’ll see how he’s fitted it up to be able to satisfy these demands.
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS
While this boat is a walkaround centre-cabin style and offers good access to the bow, which is hemmed in by large bow rails, life is made easier by a Muir Winch. A Sarca anchor attached to it caters for all manner of anchoring situations.
Inside the cabin are two berths with an infill, one of them covering a macerator head that dumps overboard. Potential buyers of this rig for urban use would want to look at a holding tank, but ET’s travels will take him far and wide with no pump-out facilities in most cases.
The double lockup cabin door is recessed back into the dash, allowing you to step down into the cabin without stooping. This makes getting around a whole lot easier.
A drop-down galley is installed on the back of the helm station, and a microwave fits flush into the port side of the cabin. So now you can upgrade from bacon and cheese rolls to a hot meal!
Up on deck, the liveability of this rig continues. A double helm seat does away with pedestal seats and allows uninterrupted access to the cabin along the port side of the helm. A dedicated fridge and freezer of about 60lt apiece live under the helm seat. These had good lockable doors to keep the contents inside, as nobody wants their lunch and blocks of pilchards splattered all over the shop.
Binnacle throttles for the counter-rotating 150hp Yamaha four-strokes are installed snug against the cabin liner, and the Seastar hydraulic steering ram on one
was fitted with a drag link to the other. It was smooth to operate.
Yamaha instrumentation displayed all the info required for long hauling such as fuel usage and range, and a Lowrance LCX104C was recessed into the dash. This combo sounder/plotter was running a 1kW shoot through-hull transducer sitting in a wet box in the bilge, which would cover most depths until you’re way past the shelf.
On top of the hardtop were solar panels charging four house batteries. This means you can ride at anchor for long periods without needing the engines to charge your house batteries. Each outboard also had its own starter battery.
A slide-out stainless-steel and canvas awning offered more shade for the cockpit when required, and slid away neatly under the hardtop when not in use.
The cockpit liners were festooned with tackle-draw hatches, three to each side loaded with a multitude of terminal tackle. Low sidepockets allowed the feet to fit under for comfortable fishing against the gunwales, which featured rodholders in strategic positions.
The liner across the rear bulkhead also featured large hatches; and once opened, the inside looked like the showroom at Battery World. Engine and house batteries were fixed to the inner deck, with BEP battery management systems servicing and isolating this powerhouse.
The bilge was open and easily cleaned as well. A Victron Energy unit supplied shorepower when hove-to.
A couple of killtanks were located under the clip-in carpet, and a big livebait tank featured in the starboard aft corner.
The bait station was also huge and totally removable, with hinged cutting board lids leading to drainable tanks, and a sink that had a drained shelf for keeping baits from going soggy.
Stainless clips on the cockpit lining on three sides allowed for surround seating, on which an infill could be installed to make an external daybed. Neat idea!
The big four-cylinder Yammies were typically quiet and had heaps of grunt to blast this big rig out of the hole effortlessly.
At full throttle into a 6kmh current and 20kmh headwind, the tachos showed 5300rpm, and GPS speed over ground was 70kmh. Out of the current and headwind, 80kmh was smooth and quiet, with the hull producing a surprisingly flat wake.
If you watch fishing shows on the box you’ll surely get to see this rig in action at some stage. Its inaugural trip was from Darwin to the top of Melville Island, and its next trip will be along the NSW coastline with ET sampling the fishing as he goes.
I had a word with ET, inquisitive as to what made him decide on a Haines Hunter Patriot when he had the option of using any boat on the market. Here’s what he had to say:
“Many years ago I fished a Straddie Classic with John Palermo in a 680. It was blowing 15kt and we went full throttle for two solid hours to get to our fishing spot. I knew then that it was a good hull.
“I wanted to change the format of the Escape With ET shows, and extended trips were the go. While I wanted something a little different, I needed to be able to trailer it and sleep in it in the tropics as well as colder climates. It also needed plenty of fuel and water and, more importantly, plenty of power to charge camera batteries. It also had to be a joy to go boating in.”
Asked what he would change or add, ET had this to say:
“I would change nothing, but probably add another freezer for those long trips and more shelf space for the chattels that you have to bring along such as cooking gear, dry food and heaps of fishing tackle. There’s plenty of that!”
Haines Hunter’s slogan is “Legends Of The Sea”, and it is indicative of what this boat has to offer when it is chosen, owned and run by one of fishing’s most respected and liked characters, Andrew Ettingshausen — a legend himself.
• Versatility plus, with shore- and 12V power supply as fitted
• Ideal for long hauling up the coast
• A great little overnighter for those remote fishing destinations
• Cooking in the galley would be stifling and tend to odorise everything
• As optioned, towing weight with all tanks full would be much higher than the average boat of this length
Specifications: Haines Hunter 680 Patriot
Price as tested: $125,000
Options fitted: Hardtop and grabrails, screen rail, clears and
curtains, storm cover, extendable awning, carpet, padded coamings, head, bunk infill, transom shower, cabin door, 200lt water tank, pressure water system, double helm seat, rodholders, outriggers, baitboard, boarding ladder, transom door, windscreen wiper, killtanks, bait tank aerator, pump and deckwash, sink and galley unit
Priced from: $100,000
Length (overall): 7m
Deadrise: 21 degrees
Weight: 1400kg hull only
Berths: Double bed
Rec/max hp: 1 x 250, 2 x 150
Type: Four-stroke outboard
Make and model: Yamaha F150
Rated hp: 150hp each
Gearbox ratio: 14:28 (2.0)
Propellers: 19in stainless
Haines Hunter, 28 Computer Road, Yatala, Qld, tel (07) 3287 4088 or visit www.haineshunter.com.au
Originally Published In TrailerBoat #188