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Haines Signature 500BR & 500C Review
9th May 2011

All in all, this is a stylish pair of 5m family boats with a choice of the sporty 500BR, or the pretty but functional 500C.

Issue: September 2005

Haines Signature's new 5m hulls are leading the Australian boat building industry in a new direction in small boat hull design. Its SVDH, or Signature Variable Deadrise Hull, now features a slot running across the bottom that increases performance and lowers fuel costs. 

This slot runs all the way across the hull, extending right out to the chine where it gathers passing air and introduces it to the interface between the hull's aft section and the water's surface. 

The result is a significant reduction in drag, an increase in performance and a drop in fuel consumption. 

There's nothing new about stepped hull bottoms. Their heritage lies in hydroplane hulls used for off shore racing (a real passion for a younger John Haines) and Haines Signature's latest hull innovations are blowing competitors out of the water John's own designs have had them since 1987. 

But the slot is new (circa 2005) and although I've seen it before in hulls built overseas, this is the first Australian design utilising the concept. 

Having two different applications of hulls working side by side made our test interesting. The bowrider (500BR) had a sporty personality, due to power delivered by a 115hp Suzuki four-stroke outboard. The cabin boat (500C) was an economical family fun machine with only a 70hp (again a Suzuki four-stroke). Typical of Haines' hulls, both were remarkable for their lack of fuss and eyeball bulging performance. On the water they were a pair of well mannered 5m boats, although one expects no less from John Senior's designs. He does keep raising the bar! 

Below Decks

John Jnr and Greg, the other two-thirds of the Haines family, have styled the interior layouts of the new models. The bowrider is by far the prettier of the two boats, but both have good looks. And while the 500C is the more homelier boat, it does have a lot more to offer than a pretty face. It's a practical little cabin boat. 

The bunks in the cab are too small for adults to overnight on, but you can't expect more out of a 5m hull.

The bunks do serve kid-size people well and there's ample headroom at the cabin's aft end for adults to sit upright. At the bow end of the cabin, an unusually large opening holds the cabin's hatchway, while also serving as a hatch for the anchor well. It's a neat and simple idea that fits with the overall clean lines of the boat.

There was no bow rail on our test boat, but this is an option. The cabin has a pair of neat portholes that light the room, and the cockpit is well shaped for ease of entry. Helm and passenger seats in both boats are pedestal-mounted buckets, with the bow rider seats being mounted much lower in the boat.

Aft of the seating, the cockpit of both boats are almost identical. A contoured aft lounge in front of an engine well seats another two adults and both boats have colour co-ordinated, padded upholstery. Underneath the aft lounge is a moulded storage bin fixed in place with barrel bolts. The entire seat cushion section can be lift ed out, creating a large cockpit as an alternative to the stylish lounge area. The 500BR substitutes a bow lounge for the cabin in the 500C as you'd expect, but again, the entire boat's lines are pleasant, sporty, clean and uncluttered.

All in all, this is a stylish pair of 5m family boats with a choice of the sporty 500BR, or the pretty but functional 500C.

The Good Oil

You'd expect identical hulls, albeit with different superstructures, to perform quite differently with a 115hp motor and a 70hp. Predictably, the 500BR's top speed of 37.1 knots was nearly 8.5 knots quicker than the 500C with the smaller motor.

Similarly, the 500BR was much faster out of the hole and being a lower boat (without the cabin superstructure), its lower gravity also contributed to sportier handling. Due to the innovative hull, the 70hp-powered 500C was hardly a slouch, with a top speed of 28.7 knots. The SVDH hull has a fair sized 'plank' along its keel and while the new bottom slot contributed mostly towards at speed performance, the plank kept minimum planing speeds low and made for an easy transition to planing speeds, with minimal bow lift. With a 70hp motor, either model comes in under $29,000. We were impressed enough with the 500C's performance when powered by a 70hp to suggest anyone not wanting to ski or tow wake toys might consider saving a few dollars and being content with a 70hp or perhaps a 90hp on the 500BR.

Engine Room

The new Haines 500C was powered by a 70hp Suzuki four-stroke, while the bowrider was fitted with a 115hp Suzuki four-stroke.


In choppy conditions with a 15-knot crosswind and two adults onboard, the two boats recorded the following performance figures:

500C/70hp Suzuki
Prop 15 " pitch
Speed to RPM: 7.5 knots @ 2700 rpm, 8.8 knots @ 3000, 17.6 knots @ 4000, 24.4 knots @ 5000, 28.7 knots @ 5900. 

500BR/115hp Suzuki
Prop 21" pitch
Speed to RPM: 8.0 knots @ 2600 rpm, 12.1 knots @ 3000 rpm, 23.0 knots @ 4000 rpm, 29.9 knots @ 5000 rpm, 37.1 knots @ 600 rpm. 


LOA: 5.05m
BEAM: 2.1m
MAX HP: 70-90hp
FUEL: 100lt
BMT WEIGHT: 120kg 
BMT PRICE: $28,950 (70)
PRICE AS TESTED: $33,964(115)

LOA: 5.05m
BEAM: 2.1m
MAX HP: 70-115hp
FUEL: 100lt
BMT WEIGHT: 1120kg
BMT PRICE: $28,990 (70)
PRICE AS TESTED: $37,300 (115)

+ SVDH Hull Overall finish
- Nothing to report 

Words by Warren Steptoe