FROM THE ARCHIVES: First published in TrailerBoat #178, March 2004
The Patriot series from the Haines Hunter stable is now very well known on the high seas from Broome to Brisbane since it hit the water running back in September 2002. Many an engine hour has passed since that time, and with a number of alterations made to the hull as part of the Queensland boatbuilder’s research and development program, we thought it was time to revisit this legendary workhorse.
To make things more interesting, we got hold of a boat fitted with Yamaha’s 225 four-stroke so we could compare the results of our last skirmish with a 680 powered by Evinrude’s 225hp DFI two-stroke.
We say “workhorse” simply because that’s what it is. If you take the range of boats in the 6–7m class, you will find a select few that have all the hallmarks of a sportsfishing platform. Sure, the others will do the job — but in their quest to satisfy a broader spectrum of the market, some of the prerequisites of a serious offshore boat are relaxed.
Gunwales might be kept to a lower level, targas and biminis reduced in height and cabins made “squatter” to give the boat a sleek and sporty appearance. These are just a few refinements that usually appease that sector of the market where a party to the investment is looking for more of an “all-rounder”.
Haines Hunter’s 680 Patriot is designed and built with one market in mind — the serious fishing sector.
I KEEP MY TRANSOM LIKE FLO-JO
The most striking aspect of this boat is its aft section, which is an excellent example of a workstation layout.
It’s built around a big transom bulkhead, which dominates the lines of this boat so much so that the Yamaha 225hp four-stroke motor looks small in comparison.
The cockpit is expansive and features two-tier sidepockets below a gunwale that stand up gamefishers will appreciate. At about 80cm high, its padding on the inside of the coaming provides plenty of safe comfort in a heaving sea.
The rear lounge is removable and its stainless couplings on the bulkhead are low profile and unobtrusive.
The livebait tank is huge and has been revamped to include a more rounded inside profile — a feature that places less stress on livebait than swimming around a square tank. Remember, a happy livie is a long-lifer!
Some of the bulk of the tank is outside the cockpit, leaving the forward part of it flush with the inner bulkhead.
The gap between the bottom of the lowest sidepocket and the deck, and that below the rear transom bulkhead, is marginal in its required height to tuck the feet under to maintain a perpendicular position when fishing against the coamings. Bare feet fit snugly under there, but high-profile shoes — such as some runners — might find the going a little tight.
GAME, SET, HATCH
Two large hatches in the face of the bulkhead access the pair of batteries and bilge and pump. While these hatches are large, there is not a lot of space behind them — the engine-well moulding and that of the livebait tank intrude here.
A short transom door gives access astern. On one side of the companionway the freshwater shower is installed, and on the top of the coaming opposite you will find the deckwash. The foot tread in the companionway is hinged and lifts up to access the fuel filler and breather. This area is designed and manufactured as neat as a pin.
The bait-rigging station is just as serious as the rest of the transom. It sits in vertical stainless-steel postholes that second as rodholders when the station is removed. It has two rodholders of its own and two slop trays for thawed bait that drain into engine well.
A sink is located below two hinged lids that second as bait-cutting boards, and a hose can be fitted to its drain if required to exit the rubbish off the cutting boards into the engine well.
The engine bay is uncluttered and a boarding ladder is installed on the port side.
FRONT FOOT FORWARD
Moving forward into the helm area, it has a raised deck some 100mm above the outside cockpit. This deck is full width and should any water come over the transom, it will be restricted somewhat from entering the cabin.
The seating was bucket-style and mounted on swivel bases. Surprisingly, there was no forward and rearward adjustment on either seat and this writer, when standing with the rear of his thighs against the seat front, had the front of his thighs against the helm. This issue must be addressed when purchasing this boat.
Yamaha instrumentation was tucked away on the starboard side of the dash leaving a huge expanse for the installation of one large-screen monitor or a couple of big sounder/GPS units. The toughened, wraparound glass screen was augmented with a grabrail across the top aft edge, and both were very rigid in their construction.
A set of clears and a bimini was fitted to the test boat and the neatly constructed stainless-steel rocket launcher finished this section
The cabin was easily accessed via the rebate in the deck in front of the passenger seat, which alleviated the need for most of us to stoop to enter. Once inside, a person of 180cm can almost stand upright — and when seated, said beanpole will find a good 20cm of clearance above his or her head.
There’s plenty of the usual storage below bunks, and the head was a macerator type installed at the forward section of the berths. Those overnighting on their favourite drop will appreciate what this cabin offers when the bite is quiet.
A “foot-over-foot” width walkway leads to the huge anchor well, which will hold enough chain and rope to make you appreciate the electric winch fitted there. The bowsprit is moulded with the topside and looks as strong as the rest of this rig.
EASY CHOP SUEY
Taking the 680 out through the seaway on the Gold Coast, the swell was running at around 1.5m, calming further out.
This boat cut through the considerable swell with ease and was typically Haines-Hunter dry on the windscreen and over the forequarters — the legacy of the deep, sharp entry that typifies the Patriot series.
Putting the broad transom into a following sea, the boat tracked down the swell without any broaching, and one can imagine putting in some long hours with pushers astern running down the face of some big swells.
The boat was equally well-behaved running along the tops of the swell, and when punching into chop, there was no bone-jarring ride to worry about. This boat is fitted standard with trim tabs and their use is required when on the plane to level out the platform.
Holeshot was not neck-snapping by any means — but then again, the big Yammie was pushing a lot of weight out of the water. Full throttle was realising only 5700rpm with our GPS showing 42kmh.
This motor has 300rpm left in it and a re-prop would no doubt sort out a slightly better top-end speed. A spin with a four-blade screw would also sort out any hole-shot issues if you felt there were any. High-speed manoeuvring was very direct, with full-lock 30kmh turns effortless and cavitation free.
As tested, the performance of this rig will please all but the most fastidious, and it is the sort of boat in which one would feel comfortable and safe a long way from the ramp. Those few issues that have put a slightest blemish on this boat should be easily remedied at the time of ordering. Break out the heavy tackle, fellas — this really is a serious offshore rig.
HAINES HUNTER 680 PATRIOT
Price as tested: About $92,000
Options fitted: Engine upgrade, clip-in carpet, bait station, rocket launcher, front and side clears, canopy, marine toilet, padded side coamings, freshwater tank
Priced from: About $86,800 with 225hp Yamaha four-stroke
Hull length (overall): 7m
Rec/max hp: Two-stroke 300, four-stroke 260
Weight: 1400kg hull only
Towing weight: About 2300kg
Make/model: Yamaha F225
Type: Fuel-injected four-stroke
Rated hp: 225
Weight: 269kg ultra-long shaft
Gearbox ratio: 2:1
Boatarama Gold Coast, Labrador, Qld, tel (07) 5537 5412 or visit www.boatarama.com.au or www.haineshunter.com.au
Offshore form for heavy-tackle work
Smooth and stable in rough seas
Excellent workstation layout
Easy access to most areas
Helm seat not adequately adjustable
Needs re-prop for better top-end speed, or consider a DFI two-stroke
Not much servicing room around batteries
First published in TrailerBoat #178
Want more boat reviews? Click here for hundreds more!