Club Marine tests the 580BRX

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Published: 04 January 2019

Mr Versatile: Haines Signature 580BRX

Chris Beattie takes the 580BRX for a test run on Victoria's Port Phillip Bay. 

This review was originally published in issue #33.6 (December-January 2019) of Club Marine.


As a family day boat, the mid-size BRX is one slick craft.

With a pedigree as rich and deep as that enjoyed by the Haines Signature brand, you’d expect that an updated version of one of its more popular models would impress. And I have to say, the Queensland-based company’s revamped 580BRX doesn’t disappoint.

The base model 580BR has been around for almost a decade and has proven to be one of the company’s most popular models, so the HS folks were determined to retain its broad appeal while updating selected aspects of the boat.

As a family day boat, the mid-size BRX is one slick craft, offering a cockpit full of options for the family that likes to ski, fish, cruise and generally make the most of their boating lifestyle. While it has plenty of cupholders and only one pair of rodholders, it’s still a boat that you can catch fish from, although you’re probably not going to want to chase marlin out on the Shelf. It certainly has offshore capability with its time-proven Variable Deadrise hull, but is primarily suited to social and towsports activities.

It’s also a great-looking boat, with sleek, sporty lines that make it stand out in a carpark or on the water.

ARENA SEATING

There is a lot to talk about packed within the 580BRX’s hull length, including a new optional U-shaped lounge layout that Haines Signature refers to as its ‘Arena’ style seating. It allows the first mate to recline in comfort with an aft view, while the lounge carries through to the transom before following the starboard coaming back up to just behind the skipper’s perch. A nice touch is the inclusion of an Igloo marine esky, which sits beneath the rear lounge. Buyers can also opt for a conventional bolster-style front passenger seat if they’d prefer.

The bow cockpit has enough space for a couple of adults, or a tribe of kids, to stretch out and enjoy the ride. There’s plenty of upholstery for added comfort, drinkholders and speakers on both sides and, more importantly, a good-sized anchorwell with bow roller and cleat. Many imported craft in this category don’t have proper facilities for anchoring, which is an important consideration for our Down Under boating.

All upholstery is plush and well-finished in typical Haines Signature style, and enhancing the social aspect of the 580BRX is an optional removable cocktail table.

FLASH DASH

A new moulded dash accommodates extra room for larger electronics, with a Simrad GO9XSE plotter/sounder unit fitted to our review model,with an upholstered brow to shield it from sunlight. The dash also boasts quality Carling stainless steel buttons for all major functions and there’s a Suzuki multifunction gauge to the right and a JL stereo control unit to the left, with Bluetooth connectivity. The stereo system is an option and boasts seven speakers and a subwoofer.

A quality tilt-adjustable sports wheel is hooked up to SeaStar hydraulic steering for almost effortless direction changes, while the engine is controlled by Suzuki’s Precision Control fly-by-wire system.

There’s plenty of stowage around the boat, including pockets under the bow cockpit seats, a central ski locker, carpet-lined bins under the cockpit lounge and bins under either aft cockpit corner. Quality deck hardware includes pop-up front and side cleats and a transom skipole.

Optional oversize, sturdy boarding platforms on the rear make it easy for entry and egress from the water. Our test craft was delivered on a quality Dunbier dual-axle trailer.

The BRX is rated from 140 to 200hp, with our test craft powered by a big Suzuki DF200APX four-cylinder four-stroke, an uncannily quiet motor that boasts Suzuki’s Lean Burn technology for smooth, economical running. During our time on the water, the big four impressed with its torque and power delivery.

On an uncharacteristically flat day on Port Phillip Bay, the BRX was in its element, moving easily to plane, with a nice flat running angle.

POWER AND ECONOMY

Its sweet spot, in terms of smoothness and fuel rate, was around 4000rpm, where it was motoring along nicely at 28 knots (52km/h) and churning through fuel at an economical 25lt/h.

With the throttle wide open, we were chewing through nearly 70lt/h at a swift 42.6 knots (79km/h) at 6200rpm. The big-capacity Suzi was responsive throughout the rev range, and with a good reserve of torque for towsport activities.

A 150lt fuel tank gives the BRX good range for a typical day of fun and games. With barely a ripple to trouble it, all I can say about the ride was that it felt smooth, stable and predictable. Having driven many Signatures over the years though, I’d be confident to say that its carbon/Kevlar foam-filled hull would deliver a soft and safe ride in less than ideal conditions.

Haines Signature’s latest example of its 5.8m bowrider showcases the appeal and versatility of the bowrider concept perfectly. It allows a crew of up to eight to enjoy the majority of the trailerboat lifestyle, from towsports, to cruising, socialising and the occasional fishing outing, in comfort and safety. There’s also a high degree of practicality in the 580BRX, and the finish and attention to detail are right up there at the head of the class.

Base price is a very reasonable $70K (incl GST), while our optioned-up model came with a price of $90,776, which included a gelcoat cosmetic upgrade, recessed cockpit lighting, the big 200hp Suzuki and JL audio package. It comes with a 10-year hull warranty and five years for the engine and is well worth a closer look if you’re after a boat that will appeal to a wide audience.

HAINES SIGNATURE 580BRX

Length: 5.8m

Beam: 2.32m

Towing weight: 1800kg (approx)

Fuel capacity: 150lt

Passengers: Eight

Power as tested:

Suzuki DF200APX four-stroke

Price from: $72,022

Price as tested: $90,776

Download a pdf version of this review here: Off the trailer – Mr Versatile 580BRX

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