543F
  • NOW AVAILABLE with Enclosed Hard Top. Fitted with glass windscreen and built tough for all weather conditions
  • Great offshore fisher that converts to a family cruiser, this boat can do it all!
  • Big enough to overnight in
  • Long bunks for a comfy sleep
  • Walk around deck for an easy access to bow
  • Large cockpit space
  • Plenty of storage
  • Transom door

Configurations


Take a Tour


Specifications


Moulded length with bowsprit 5.53m
Length 5.33m
Beam 2.13m
Deadrise 21−33°
Fuel 100L (150L option)
Water 38L (option)
Berths 2
Power outboard 90-150HP
Transom height 25"
Max outboard weight 240kg
Hull weight approx. 900kg
Towing weight approx. 1,400kg
BMT length approx. 7.10m
BMT height approx. 2.17m
BMT width approx. 2.13m
Max people 7/630kg
Max load 850kg

Haines Signature 543F - Fishing Monthly Group BACK


DOWNLOAD TEST DATA

Another instalment in the very popular Haines Signature Boats is the 543F.

This is a dynamite package that is sure to impress boat buyers who are after a very manageable sized boat that is capable of fishing in the bay and towing a ski biscuit; it’s even up to some light offshore work.

The 543F has undergone some minor changes to make it user-friendlier and even nicer on the water. In saying that though the key features that have made these boats so popular over the years still remain the same.

On the trailer the 543F Signature is a very tidy looking package with sleek, smooth and rounded lines that are such a big part of the Signature boats: this model fits very nicely into the range

A quick walk around the outside highlights some of the features that make these hulls a great option for a range of water sports.

Straight away the transom door combined with the rear steps and rails allow easy access in and out of the boat, whether it’s loading up for a day out or on the water or getting in and out of the boat for a bit of swimming or water skiing.

The hull itself features the Signature’s famous ‘Variable Deadrise Hull’ that flares from 12-33 degrees, giving it great performance on the water in a range of situations.

Inside the boat

Plenty of thought has gone into the updated model to make it appealing, from a fold away rear bench seat that covers and yet allows easy access to the batteries.

The rear coaming cushions provide a comfortable backrest, as well as for some cushioning when bracing your legs in a slop.

Speaking of fishing, the transom also houses a neat and functional bait board made by TK Marine in Dandenong that can be easily removed if need be. There is also room to have a set of custom snapper racks fitted if need be.

Gunnels storage

I really love the clever use of space along the gunnels, with small tackle box lockers located in each corner that will hold all the bits of tackle required in a very handy, easily accessible location.

The side pockets themselves are wide and deep, allowing space to fit a landing net, which is usually the hardest and most inconvenient thing to store in any trailer boat.

The bottom of the pocket has three defined sections with dividers, while further forward there are two smaller shelves that help to separate all your smaller bits and pieces into some sort of order, rather than in a messy wet pile in the bottom of the side pockets.

The carpeted floor is, as always, very comfortable underfoot and hides an ample 100L underfloor fuel tank, while between the driver and passenger seats you will find a very generous ice box/kill tank to store, ice, food, or hopefully fish.

Helm area

Up in the cabin section there are all the relevant pockets to hold the EPIRB and fire extinguisher in a close and easily accessible location.

The neat looking wood grain console on the 543F has plenty of room for a multitude of gauges and electronics, with space for separate sounder and GPS if required. There is also room on the top of the dash to mount a sounder if need be.

Keeping with the tidy look on the boat, the 27mhz radio is mounted below the throttle control box.

If I had one feature I found a little awkward on the boat it would be that the angle of the console is quite steep, which is fine when driving seated as it allows good clear vision of your electronics, but when driving while standing (which is how I tend to travel) it is harder to keep check on the sounder/GPS.

One of the new and improved features of the 543F is the full glass windscreen, which is a real bonus to any potential buyers, especially if they plan to keep the boat for several years, as the glass stays clear and isn’t prone to wear and tear, stone chips while towing, scratching and fading or turning a milky colour as can happen with Perspex windscreens.

Forward Comfort

Moving forward you instantly see why Signature boats are popular with the families. The padded and very generous sized bunks allow for a real lay down and sleep session, while the front hatch has been modified to make it larger and further forward, allowing easy access to the anchor well and even to the bow sprit.

However one of the great modifications to this boat is a larger anchor well design allowing for the addition of an electric winch – something well worth investing in.

On The Water

Out on Port Phillip on a cold and very foggy morning it was interesting taking the 543F Signature for a squirt. While visibility was out to several hundred metres the low and very grey light made the half metre chop hard to see and read at any distance ahead of the boat.

However with the very sharp entry on the nose the hull sliced through the waves like a hot knife through butter. In fact there were several waves I was expecting a serious crunch from, but due to the hulls steep and variable deadrise it never happened.

The other notable feature was the powerful 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke engine. Relatively light in weight for a 4 stroke, it made this boat perform like a dream. Off the mark the boat popped on the plane in seconds at 2500rpm. It was noticeable how much torque and full throttle rev range the motor had; the more you pushed the throttle the more the speed noticeably gained. This doesn’t always happen on some other 4-strokes, which tend to do a lot more revving for the last quarter throttle rpm for only a touch more speed.

With good engine performance it allowed you to get great results from the hull, in fact the harder you pushed the boat into the waves the better it went, cleanly skipping across the top of the slop with little effort.

The Signature responded well to the engine trim allowing the boat to be thrown into tight turns with full control and very little cavitation from the prop.

While I said earlier it seemed that the dash layout was a bit awkward when trying to drive while standing and trying to read the gauges, the 543F was totally comfortable to drive while sitting down, with perfect visibility over the dash and a clear view of all the gauges.

The Signature crew have done it well designing these boats to be driven in the comfortable manner.

The Signature 543F is available at JV Marine, so call in and see the great features of this boat first hand.

Facts

Specifications

Beam:2.13m
Overall Length: 5.53m
Fuel: 100lt underfloor
Deadrise: Variable 12-33degrees
BMT Height: 2.3m
Tow Weight: 1690kg
Max Horsepower: 140hp
Price as Tested: $

New Key Features

Glass Windscreen

Larger Front Hatch

New Dash Layout

Words By Lee Rayner

http://fishingmonthly.com.au/Articles/Display/9400-Haines-Signature-543F

Haines Signature 543F - RedBook Review BACK


he Haines Group has retained a time-honoured hull design in its revamp of the Haines Signature 543F. Rick Huckstepp gives the thumbs up to this big little boat

Signature rewritten

A few trends in marine manufacturing follow to a certain extent those of the auto industry. Take the shape of boats, for instance, that have gone from square-cabin fronts, windscreens and transoms to more rounded aesthetic lines of curved glass and Perspex and swept-down coamings. It is like the transition from a 1964 Holden EH Premier to the latest Holden Calais.

Haines Signature 542F was first launched back in 2002 and while that is a long way from 1964, it featured slightly squarish lines trendy of that era with a well-proven hull that offered the sort of performance you would be silly to retire even in this day.

So, the Haines Group revisited the topside of this boat and rebadged it the 543F which we have tested for you here. As well as giving it softer curves, the dashboard has been revisited to remove some of the rear bulk from the cabin. The Perspex screen is now hardened glass and modifications to the anchor well allow for installation of a variety of winch brands. A half-height transom door is also part of the new model and yes, sitting on an unchanged, well-proven hull.

HAINES HERITAGE
With many of The Haines Group boats, stowage areas are abundant and the 543F is no different. The cockpit layout is serviceable with a rebate in the liner next to the passenger for an EPIRB and fire extinguisher, and sidepockets are large with a tackle locker built into the aft end of the structure. Rods and gaffs can be strapped down on racks fixed inside the pockets, and if they are over-length, holes in the bulkhead ends of the pockets will accommodate butts or tips.

The gunwale height midway along the cockpit is about 80cm high offering a good lean when fishing at sea. There is plenty of foot space under the sidepockets for stability and alloy non-slip foot treads are fixed to the deck for added safety. A prominent foot step either side assists one to climb over the gunwales without having to stand on the fascia of the sidepockets, and a long safety handle is rebated into the inner edge of the coaming.

A nylon door closes the aperture of the step-through transom and is firm and rattle-free when closed. Over the back, a small boarding platform is situated either side of the 115hp four-stroke Suzuki with that on the port side sporting a fold-down telescopic boarding ladder.

A practical and removable bait rigging station sits in post holes on the mid-transom bulkhead with a good-sized transom livebait tank within easy reach.

Four rodholders are rebated into the side coamings and you can stow a couple more on the bait rigging station, plus six overhead in a sturdy rack which makes up part of the canvas canopy frame.

DASHING HELM
At the helm the wheel and instruments are mounted in a stylish panel with a soft upholstered top. This panel is hinged at the bottom and when unclipped at the top, swings opens to access the rear for maintenance. The wiring looms are hidden from occupants in the cabin due to the bulkhead being solid behind this panel.

A black liner is fixed to the top of the dash and alleviates any glare from the white gelcoat. A rebate in the top, above the entry to the cabin, is a handy place to throw the odds and ends like mobiles, sun block and the like.

Entry down into the cabin is via a rebate in the deck that curves around the helm bulkhead. For a boat under five and a half metres, the cabin room is exceptional, with head clearance of about 10cm above a 180cm person seated on the vee-berth. A partition in the leg well is removable to open up that area further if the optional portable toilet in the fore end of that space is not installed.

Should you go for the head, it can be secreted under a hinged nylon hatch which is strong enough to stand on with the torso out through the roof hatch to work the ground tackle manually.

Another lift-off hatch farther forward offers more stowage, albeit small in volume and there is extra stowage space under the side cushions.

To keep the gunwales uncluttered for easy fishing, the stern light post base has been repositioned to a spot in front of the windscreen. Its base protrudes into the cabin and with a sharp hard plastic finish it will create a few scalp injuries unless modified.

PERFORMANCE HIGH
If we were happy with the space in the cockpit and cabin of this small boat, we were ecstatic with its performance offshore from the Gold Coast. A small swell was running into the Seaway, but plenty of waves in the form of small chop from multiple directions showed us why The Haines Group have hung onto this hull bottom.

It offered a quiet ride with minimal wave-slap noise emanating into the cockpit and gave a very soft landing off waves and large-boat wash. With manual cable steering fitted, there were no glaring torque issues at the helm other than the usual tightness associated with full-trim-in when accelerating for a quick holeshot or hard and fast turns. Once trimmed this was a dream boat to drive and dry to boot.

If there was ever a line-up of under 5.5m cabin boats that offer the maximum amount of cockpit fishing space, roomy cabin for the kids and still produce a soft and quiet ride, this 543F will surely be up among the best of them.

 

WE LIKED

  • Soft ride
  • Good fishing cockpit
  • Roomy cabin
  • A 'big' little boat for budget watchers after value for money

NOT SO MUCH

  • Sharp obstacle in cabin roof needs modifying

 

HAINES SIGNATURE 543F
 
HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $50,700
Options fitted: Baitboard, bowrail, suede upholstery, full carpet, compass, upgraded fuel tank, boarding ladder, folding rear lounge, and bimini top and clears
Priced from: $43,300
 
GENERAL
Material: Fibreglass
Length overall: 5.53m w/ bowsprit
Moulded length: 5.33m
Beam: 2.13m
Deadrise: 21 to 33°
Weight: 1690kg
 
CAPACITIES
Fuel: 130lt
People day: 7 to 525kg
People berthed: 2
Rec. max. HP: 130 (manual steering); 140 (hydraulic steering)
Max. engine weight: 240kg
 
ENGINE
Make/model: Suzuki DF115
Type: DOHC 16-valve four-stroke petrol outboard
Weight: 194kg
Rated HP: 115
Displacement: 1950cc
Gearbox ratio: 2.59:1
Propeller: 19-inch
 
SUPPLIED BY
Laguna Boating Centre,
36 Rene Street,
Noosaville, Qld, 4566
Phone: (07) 5442 4872
Fax: (07) 5474 3924
Email: info@lagunaboating.com.au
Web: www.lagunaboating.com.au

 

Words By Rick Huckstepp

http://www.redbook.com.au/boat-reviews/2008/centre-cabin---walkaround/haines-signature/haines-signature-543f-12916?csn_tnet=true

Haines Signature 543F - Fishing World Review BACK


16 Oct 2009

Fishing World August 2009

Reviewed: Haines Signiture 543F

Wayne Kampe reports on a new Haines Signature cuddy cab that has been designed to perform as a fisherman’s fishing boat.

Haines Signature of Wacol, Brisbane, has been turning out excellent fishing boats for decades. With ongoing R&D that sees a small modification here, another subtle change there, the company’s range just seems to offer more features to make boating a pleasure with each passing year. 

The compact but big for its size 543 F (F for Fishing) is a great example of what the Haines team offer: it’s a fisherman’s fishing boat in every sense of the word and one of 11 craft in the “F” range which extend from the 460F to the mighty 675F.   

At 5.53m in length, the 543F is a size that many anglers find just right when towing and storage issues are considered. Yet, this well built rig will fish off shore with the greatest of ease thanks to ample freeboard, protection for occupants afforded by the quite large cuddy cabin and windscreen, plus a ride that ensures comfort under way in virtually all sensible sea conditions. 

Cockpit size, too, is large enough for four or five anglers to work in harmony and those same anglers are going to find very little lacking in the way of useful features to make fishing a real pleasure. 

Design & layout
Up front the winch compatible anchor locker is big enough to cater for sufficient warp for deep offshore drops and sports a lock down hatch. A strong bow rail is featured, plus a bowsprit long enough to keep the super smooth gel coat unmarked by the pick. Anchor access, incidentally, is via the large forward deck hatch from within the cabin although I’d say many offshore fishos will take the power winch option.  

Cabin entry is straightforward; there’s a large doorway in front of the passenger’s seat and once inside the cabin there’s ample head and leg room,  plenty of light thanks to large windows, and high degrees of comfort courtesy of full length well padded back rest shelves and deep, supportive cushioning on the twin bunks. If necessary, the cushions can be removed for a wash thanks to zippers on their undersides. 

A Porta Potti (fitted to the reviewed craft) was a very sensible option for a boat that also offers terrific family boating potential as well. 

Haines Signature doesn’t do things by halves and the craft’s (optional) three-piece armoured glass windscreen – in combination with the optional rod holder equipped bimini – affords plenty of weather protection for both skipper and first mate while seated on the strongly made pedestal bucket seats. The passenger will also enjoy the convenience of dual storage shelves, grab handle and bunk end footrest, while the driver is treated to a drink holder plus a really good command style driving position courtesy of excellent support and visibility levels atop the slide adjustable seat. 

Instruments are tastefully laid out on a hinged binnacle – with carbon inserts – which can be quickly unfastened and moved outwards if there’s a need to look at the wiring loom or fuse panels of the craft. 

The compact and easily monitored two section dash on the test rig sported a speedo, Suzuki multi-function tachometer,  fuel gauge, Richie compass and Suzuki trim gauge uppermost, and a  Humminbird 787C sounder set into the lower section with ignition switch to starboard.   

The craft’s sports style wheel plus an array of switches for various functions, as well as a marine radio, were set lower again but still within easy reach and all able to be quickly accessed by the skipper. I found it a very neat and user friendly set up.
                 
Fishing room aplenty
For a craft of this size the Signature 543F offers a lot of useful fishing area aft of the forward seating. Four, maybe five, anglers would easily work here even in tough offshore conditions. Footing is assured thanks to full clip-in carpet, which offers the option of removal for washing after a big day on the water. 

While there’s further seating across the transom for up to three, this well padded bench style seat hinges down to make more fishing room when required.

 

The Signature’s cockpit features good depth and a very functional layout; the dash binnacle hinges forward for easy access to wiring and electrics behind. 

As I mentioned earlier, it’s the subtle touches that make this craft so good. Features abound in the grab rail equipped cockpit. Depth is around the thigh, which makes for secure and confident work offshore. Along with paired rod holders to complement the six on the bimini, additional features include two metre long rod rack equipped side pockets, paired tackle drawers aft, and a plumbed live bait well set into the transom to starboard. 

Also featured was a very well designed bait prep station with paired rod holders, drink holders, a dedicated bait container for  ready to use bait, plus a hinged polyethylene cutting board.  Both 
cutting board and bait container were equipped with lock down straps. 

The 543F is rated for engines from 100 to 140hp. Given the great performance from the 115 Suzuki four-stroke on the transom I’d say the craft would scream along with a 140 on it. 

The Signature 543F planed at eight knots at 3000rpm; brilliant, really, given that we were travelling into a fair amount of chop for the review’s test runs and had three persons plus a near full 130 litre fuel tank under the floor. At 4000rpm the GPS was showing a speed of 22 knots, 5000rpm recorded 27knots with WOT of 6000 rpm seeing 35.3 knots. 

The ride was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Haines Signatures. Chop between half and three quarters of a metre was ironed out while the occasional large wash from passing craft was easily handled without any water or spray coming aboard. Stability was exceptional.

Fit and finish was typically good. The lustrous  hull gel coat was outstanding, with the contrasting central style line quite eye catching. Inside I noted that all stitching lined up, while padding was superb with tasteful contrasting colour sections to brighten larger areas. 

In a nutshell, this is a fisherman’s fishing boat. It’s all there, features ready for use. 

Rated for up to seven, the 543 F would also make a great family for mum, dad and the kids given the quality of ride, handling 
and features. 


Length: 5.53m 

Beam: 2.13m

Weight: 600kg (hull only)

Deadrise: 21-33 degrees  

Fuel: 130 litres

Power: 100-140hp

Towing: Family six; med.4WD  

Price: From $43,300; as reviewed $50,700.

More information: www.haines-marine.com.au

 

Words By Wayne Kempe

http://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/-f--for-fishing

Videos


Upholstery colours


Personalise your Siganture

Signature™ boats and Nautolex are proud to be associated with the PreFixx range of maritime seat vinyls - standard on all Signature™ models. Unsurpassed cleanability and wear from a marine seating fabric, PreFixx protection offers you the latest technology to remove stains that could never be removed before. With a test proven abrasion resistance, PreFixx protected products protect you from high maintenance costs and from frequent reupholstery costs. PreFixx protected Nautolex materials - cleanable with strong, active solvents without damage.

Primary Upholstery Colours
Secondary Upholstery Colours
Stitching Colours

Hull colours [Gellcoat]


Trim colours


Personalise your Siganture

Standard Cloth Trim Colours
Upgrade Colours
543F

Optional Extras

Configurations

Specifications

Moulded length with bowsprit 5.53m
Length 5.33m
Beam 2.13m
Deadrise 21−33°
Fuel 100L (150L option)
Water 38L (option)
Berths 2
Power outboard 90-150HP
Transom height 25"
Max outboard weight 240kg
Hull weight approx. 900kg
Towing weight approx. 1,400kg
BMT length approx. 7.10m
BMT height approx. 2.17m
BMT width approx. 2.13m
Max people 7/630kg
Max load 850kg

Haines Signature 543F - Fishing Monthly Group BACK

DOWNLOAD TEST DATA

Another instalment in the very popular Haines Signature Boats is the 543F.

This is a dynamite package that is sure to impress boat buyers who are after a very manageable sized boat that is capable of fishing in the bay and towing a ski biscuit; it’s even up to some light offshore work.

The 543F has undergone some minor changes to make it user-friendlier and even nicer on the water. In saying that though the key features that have made these boats so popular over the years still remain the same.

On the trailer the 543F Signature is a very tidy looking package with sleek, smooth and rounded lines that are such a big part of the Signature boats: this model fits very nicely into the range

A quick walk around the outside highlights some of the features that make these hulls a great option for a range of water sports.

Straight away the transom door combined with the rear steps and rails allow easy access in and out of the boat, whether it’s loading up for a day out or on the water or getting in and out of the boat for a bit of swimming or water skiing.

The hull itself features the Signature’s famous ‘Variable Deadrise Hull’ that flares from 12-33 degrees, giving it great performance on the water in a range of situations.

Inside the boat

Plenty of thought has gone into the updated model to make it appealing, from a fold away rear bench seat that covers and yet allows easy access to the batteries.

The rear coaming cushions provide a comfortable backrest, as well as for some cushioning when bracing your legs in a slop.

Speaking of fishing, the transom also houses a neat and functional bait board made by TK Marine in Dandenong that can be easily removed if need be. There is also room to have a set of custom snapper racks fitted if need be.

Gunnels storage

I really love the clever use of space along the gunnels, with small tackle box lockers located in each corner that will hold all the bits of tackle required in a very handy, easily accessible location.

The side pockets themselves are wide and deep, allowing space to fit a landing net, which is usually the hardest and most inconvenient thing to store in any trailer boat.

The bottom of the pocket has three defined sections with dividers, while further forward there are two smaller shelves that help to separate all your smaller bits and pieces into some sort of order, rather than in a messy wet pile in the bottom of the side pockets.

The carpeted floor is, as always, very comfortable underfoot and hides an ample 100L underfloor fuel tank, while between the driver and passenger seats you will find a very generous ice box/kill tank to store, ice, food, or hopefully fish.

Helm area

Up in the cabin section there are all the relevant pockets to hold the EPIRB and fire extinguisher in a close and easily accessible location.

The neat looking wood grain console on the 543F has plenty of room for a multitude of gauges and electronics, with space for separate sounder and GPS if required. There is also room on the top of the dash to mount a sounder if need be.

Keeping with the tidy look on the boat, the 27mhz radio is mounted below the throttle control box.

If I had one feature I found a little awkward on the boat it would be that the angle of the console is quite steep, which is fine when driving seated as it allows good clear vision of your electronics, but when driving while standing (which is how I tend to travel) it is harder to keep check on the sounder/GPS.

One of the new and improved features of the 543F is the full glass windscreen, which is a real bonus to any potential buyers, especially if they plan to keep the boat for several years, as the glass stays clear and isn’t prone to wear and tear, stone chips while towing, scratching and fading or turning a milky colour as can happen with Perspex windscreens.

Forward Comfort

Moving forward you instantly see why Signature boats are popular with the families. The padded and very generous sized bunks allow for a real lay down and sleep session, while the front hatch has been modified to make it larger and further forward, allowing easy access to the anchor well and even to the bow sprit.

However one of the great modifications to this boat is a larger anchor well design allowing for the addition of an electric winch – something well worth investing in.

On The Water

Out on Port Phillip on a cold and very foggy morning it was interesting taking the 543F Signature for a squirt. While visibility was out to several hundred metres the low and very grey light made the half metre chop hard to see and read at any distance ahead of the boat.

However with the very sharp entry on the nose the hull sliced through the waves like a hot knife through butter. In fact there were several waves I was expecting a serious crunch from, but due to the hulls steep and variable deadrise it never happened.

The other notable feature was the powerful 140hp Suzuki 4-stroke engine. Relatively light in weight for a 4 stroke, it made this boat perform like a dream. Off the mark the boat popped on the plane in seconds at 2500rpm. It was noticeable how much torque and full throttle rev range the motor had; the more you pushed the throttle the more the speed noticeably gained. This doesn’t always happen on some other 4-strokes, which tend to do a lot more revving for the last quarter throttle rpm for only a touch more speed.

With good engine performance it allowed you to get great results from the hull, in fact the harder you pushed the boat into the waves the better it went, cleanly skipping across the top of the slop with little effort.

The Signature responded well to the engine trim allowing the boat to be thrown into tight turns with full control and very little cavitation from the prop.

While I said earlier it seemed that the dash layout was a bit awkward when trying to drive while standing and trying to read the gauges, the 543F was totally comfortable to drive while sitting down, with perfect visibility over the dash and a clear view of all the gauges.

The Signature crew have done it well designing these boats to be driven in the comfortable manner.

The Signature 543F is available at JV Marine, so call in and see the great features of this boat first hand.

Facts

Specifications

Beam:2.13m
Overall Length: 5.53m
Fuel: 100lt underfloor
Deadrise: Variable 12-33degrees
BMT Height: 2.3m
Tow Weight: 1690kg
Max Horsepower: 140hp
Price as Tested: $

New Key Features

Glass Windscreen

Larger Front Hatch

New Dash Layout

Words By Lee Rayner

http://fishingmonthly.com.au/Articles/Display/9400-Haines-Signature-543F

Haines Signature 543F - RedBook Review BACK

he Haines Group has retained a time-honoured hull design in its revamp of the Haines Signature 543F. Rick Huckstepp gives the thumbs up to this big little boat

Signature rewritten

A few trends in marine manufacturing follow to a certain extent those of the auto industry. Take the shape of boats, for instance, that have gone from square-cabin fronts, windscreens and transoms to more rounded aesthetic lines of curved glass and Perspex and swept-down coamings. It is like the transition from a 1964 Holden EH Premier to the latest Holden Calais.

Haines Signature 542F was first launched back in 2002 and while that is a long way from 1964, it featured slightly squarish lines trendy of that era with a well-proven hull that offered the sort of performance you would be silly to retire even in this day.

So, the Haines Group revisited the topside of this boat and rebadged it the 543F which we have tested for you here. As well as giving it softer curves, the dashboard has been revisited to remove some of the rear bulk from the cabin. The Perspex screen is now hardened glass and modifications to the anchor well allow for installation of a variety of winch brands. A half-height transom door is also part of the new model and yes, sitting on an unchanged, well-proven hull.

HAINES HERITAGE
With many of The Haines Group boats, stowage areas are abundant and the 543F is no different. The cockpit layout is serviceable with a rebate in the liner next to the passenger for an EPIRB and fire extinguisher, and sidepockets are large with a tackle locker built into the aft end of the structure. Rods and gaffs can be strapped down on racks fixed inside the pockets, and if they are over-length, holes in the bulkhead ends of the pockets will accommodate butts or tips.

The gunwale height midway along the cockpit is about 80cm high offering a good lean when fishing at sea. There is plenty of foot space under the sidepockets for stability and alloy non-slip foot treads are fixed to the deck for added safety. A prominent foot step either side assists one to climb over the gunwales without having to stand on the fascia of the sidepockets, and a long safety handle is rebated into the inner edge of the coaming.

A nylon door closes the aperture of the step-through transom and is firm and rattle-free when closed. Over the back, a small boarding platform is situated either side of the 115hp four-stroke Suzuki with that on the port side sporting a fold-down telescopic boarding ladder.

A practical and removable bait rigging station sits in post holes on the mid-transom bulkhead with a good-sized transom livebait tank within easy reach.

Four rodholders are rebated into the side coamings and you can stow a couple more on the bait rigging station, plus six overhead in a sturdy rack which makes up part of the canvas canopy frame.

DASHING HELM
At the helm the wheel and instruments are mounted in a stylish panel with a soft upholstered top. This panel is hinged at the bottom and when unclipped at the top, swings opens to access the rear for maintenance. The wiring looms are hidden from occupants in the cabin due to the bulkhead being solid behind this panel.

A black liner is fixed to the top of the dash and alleviates any glare from the white gelcoat. A rebate in the top, above the entry to the cabin, is a handy place to throw the odds and ends like mobiles, sun block and the like.

Entry down into the cabin is via a rebate in the deck that curves around the helm bulkhead. For a boat under five and a half metres, the cabin room is exceptional, with head clearance of about 10cm above a 180cm person seated on the vee-berth. A partition in the leg well is removable to open up that area further if the optional portable toilet in the fore end of that space is not installed.

Should you go for the head, it can be secreted under a hinged nylon hatch which is strong enough to stand on with the torso out through the roof hatch to work the ground tackle manually.

Another lift-off hatch farther forward offers more stowage, albeit small in volume and there is extra stowage space under the side cushions.

To keep the gunwales uncluttered for easy fishing, the stern light post base has been repositioned to a spot in front of the windscreen. Its base protrudes into the cabin and with a sharp hard plastic finish it will create a few scalp injuries unless modified.

PERFORMANCE HIGH
If we were happy with the space in the cockpit and cabin of this small boat, we were ecstatic with its performance offshore from the Gold Coast. A small swell was running into the Seaway, but plenty of waves in the form of small chop from multiple directions showed us why The Haines Group have hung onto this hull bottom.

It offered a quiet ride with minimal wave-slap noise emanating into the cockpit and gave a very soft landing off waves and large-boat wash. With manual cable steering fitted, there were no glaring torque issues at the helm other than the usual tightness associated with full-trim-in when accelerating for a quick holeshot or hard and fast turns. Once trimmed this was a dream boat to drive and dry to boot.

If there was ever a line-up of under 5.5m cabin boats that offer the maximum amount of cockpit fishing space, roomy cabin for the kids and still produce a soft and quiet ride, this 543F will surely be up among the best of them.

 

WE LIKED

  • Soft ride
  • Good fishing cockpit
  • Roomy cabin
  • A 'big' little boat for budget watchers after value for money

NOT SO MUCH

  • Sharp obstacle in cabin roof needs modifying

 

HAINES SIGNATURE 543F
 
HOW MUCH?
Price as tested: $50,700
Options fitted: Baitboard, bowrail, suede upholstery, full carpet, compass, upgraded fuel tank, boarding ladder, folding rear lounge, and bimini top and clears
Priced from: $43,300
 
GENERAL
Material: Fibreglass
Length overall: 5.53m w/ bowsprit
Moulded length: 5.33m
Beam: 2.13m
Deadrise: 21 to 33°
Weight: 1690kg
 
CAPACITIES
Fuel: 130lt
People day: 7 to 525kg
People berthed: 2
Rec. max. HP: 130 (manual steering); 140 (hydraulic steering)
Max. engine weight: 240kg
 
ENGINE
Make/model: Suzuki DF115
Type: DOHC 16-valve four-stroke petrol outboard
Weight: 194kg
Rated HP: 115
Displacement: 1950cc
Gearbox ratio: 2.59:1
Propeller: 19-inch
 
SUPPLIED BY
Laguna Boating Centre,
36 Rene Street,
Noosaville, Qld, 4566
Phone: (07) 5442 4872
Fax: (07) 5474 3924
Email: info@lagunaboating.com.au
Web: www.lagunaboating.com.au

 

Words By Rick Huckstepp

http://www.redbook.com.au/boat-reviews/2008/centre-cabin---walkaround/haines-signature/haines-signature-543f-12916?csn_tnet=true

Haines Signature 543F - Fishing World Review BACK

16 Oct 2009

Fishing World August 2009

Reviewed: Haines Signiture 543F

Wayne Kampe reports on a new Haines Signature cuddy cab that has been designed to perform as a fisherman’s fishing boat.

Haines Signature of Wacol, Brisbane, has been turning out excellent fishing boats for decades. With ongoing R&D that sees a small modification here, another subtle change there, the company’s range just seems to offer more features to make boating a pleasure with each passing year. 

The compact but big for its size 543 F (F for Fishing) is a great example of what the Haines team offer: it’s a fisherman’s fishing boat in every sense of the word and one of 11 craft in the “F” range which extend from the 460F to the mighty 675F.   

At 5.53m in length, the 543F is a size that many anglers find just right when towing and storage issues are considered. Yet, this well built rig will fish off shore with the greatest of ease thanks to ample freeboard, protection for occupants afforded by the quite large cuddy cabin and windscreen, plus a ride that ensures comfort under way in virtually all sensible sea conditions. 

Cockpit size, too, is large enough for four or five anglers to work in harmony and those same anglers are going to find very little lacking in the way of useful features to make fishing a real pleasure. 

Design & layout
Up front the winch compatible anchor locker is big enough to cater for sufficient warp for deep offshore drops and sports a lock down hatch. A strong bow rail is featured, plus a bowsprit long enough to keep the super smooth gel coat unmarked by the pick. Anchor access, incidentally, is via the large forward deck hatch from within the cabin although I’d say many offshore fishos will take the power winch option.  

Cabin entry is straightforward; there’s a large doorway in front of the passenger’s seat and once inside the cabin there’s ample head and leg room,  plenty of light thanks to large windows, and high degrees of comfort courtesy of full length well padded back rest shelves and deep, supportive cushioning on the twin bunks. If necessary, the cushions can be removed for a wash thanks to zippers on their undersides. 

A Porta Potti (fitted to the reviewed craft) was a very sensible option for a boat that also offers terrific family boating potential as well. 

Haines Signature doesn’t do things by halves and the craft’s (optional) three-piece armoured glass windscreen – in combination with the optional rod holder equipped bimini – affords plenty of weather protection for both skipper and first mate while seated on the strongly made pedestal bucket seats. The passenger will also enjoy the convenience of dual storage shelves, grab handle and bunk end footrest, while the driver is treated to a drink holder plus a really good command style driving position courtesy of excellent support and visibility levels atop the slide adjustable seat. 

Instruments are tastefully laid out on a hinged binnacle – with carbon inserts – which can be quickly unfastened and moved outwards if there’s a need to look at the wiring loom or fuse panels of the craft. 

The compact and easily monitored two section dash on the test rig sported a speedo, Suzuki multi-function tachometer,  fuel gauge, Richie compass and Suzuki trim gauge uppermost, and a  Humminbird 787C sounder set into the lower section with ignition switch to starboard.   

The craft’s sports style wheel plus an array of switches for various functions, as well as a marine radio, were set lower again but still within easy reach and all able to be quickly accessed by the skipper. I found it a very neat and user friendly set up.
                 
Fishing room aplenty
For a craft of this size the Signature 543F offers a lot of useful fishing area aft of the forward seating. Four, maybe five, anglers would easily work here even in tough offshore conditions. Footing is assured thanks to full clip-in carpet, which offers the option of removal for washing after a big day on the water. 

While there’s further seating across the transom for up to three, this well padded bench style seat hinges down to make more fishing room when required.

 

The Signature’s cockpit features good depth and a very functional layout; the dash binnacle hinges forward for easy access to wiring and electrics behind. 

As I mentioned earlier, it’s the subtle touches that make this craft so good. Features abound in the grab rail equipped cockpit. Depth is around the thigh, which makes for secure and confident work offshore. Along with paired rod holders to complement the six on the bimini, additional features include two metre long rod rack equipped side pockets, paired tackle drawers aft, and a plumbed live bait well set into the transom to starboard. 

Also featured was a very well designed bait prep station with paired rod holders, drink holders, a dedicated bait container for  ready to use bait, plus a hinged polyethylene cutting board.  Both 
cutting board and bait container were equipped with lock down straps. 

The 543F is rated for engines from 100 to 140hp. Given the great performance from the 115 Suzuki four-stroke on the transom I’d say the craft would scream along with a 140 on it. 

The Signature 543F planed at eight knots at 3000rpm; brilliant, really, given that we were travelling into a fair amount of chop for the review’s test runs and had three persons plus a near full 130 litre fuel tank under the floor. At 4000rpm the GPS was showing a speed of 22 knots, 5000rpm recorded 27knots with WOT of 6000 rpm seeing 35.3 knots. 

The ride was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Haines Signatures. Chop between half and three quarters of a metre was ironed out while the occasional large wash from passing craft was easily handled without any water or spray coming aboard. Stability was exceptional.

Fit and finish was typically good. The lustrous  hull gel coat was outstanding, with the contrasting central style line quite eye catching. Inside I noted that all stitching lined up, while padding was superb with tasteful contrasting colour sections to brighten larger areas. 

In a nutshell, this is a fisherman’s fishing boat. It’s all there, features ready for use. 

Rated for up to seven, the 543 F would also make a great family for mum, dad and the kids given the quality of ride, handling 
and features. 


Length: 5.53m 

Beam: 2.13m

Weight: 600kg (hull only)

Deadrise: 21-33 degrees  

Fuel: 130 litres

Power: 100-140hp

Towing: Family six; med.4WD  

Price: From $43,300; as reviewed $50,700.

More information: www.haines-marine.com.au

 

Words By Wayne Kempe

http://www.fishingworld.com.au/news/-f--for-fishing

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