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Review: Signature 580BR

On first impression, the Haines Signature 580BR’s vivid green over black colour scheme was so loud it had me reaching for the earplugs. Not for shy retiring types, the Green Lantern costume does complement the 580’s sleek lines and helps onlookers keep track of it when it’s scooting along the horizon. It’s contemporary even by sports boat standards and with the soft touch carbon-fibre-look dash and seat inserts, it presents a rather upmarket look.

On first impression, the Haines Signature 580BR’s vivid green over black colour scheme was so loud it had me reaching for the earplugs. Not for shy retiring types, the Green Lantern costume does complement the 580’s sleek lines and helps onlookers keep track of it when it’s scooting along the horizon. It’s contemporary even by sports boat standards and with the soft touch carbon-fibre-look dash and seat inserts, it presents a rather upmarket look.

SIGNATURE BOWRIDER
So what exactly is new about the boat? Well the sports pattern gel-coat for starters. In recent years, Signature has moved away from vinyl hull graphics in favour of single or two-tone gelcoat in snazzy colours to add character.
Entry to the 580BR’s cockpit is via the open bow or the transom’s dual boarding platforms. The portside step is serviced by a compact transom gate and stainless steel drop down ladder and is aided by integrated stainless grab rails.

INTERIOR
The Signature bowrider’s interior mimics the exterior colour pallet. Shiny new gelcoat is complemented by vivid green and carbon-fibre look vinyl accented with chrome highlights.
The stern has been set up with a comfortable full width removable rear lounge that traces the engine-well. It’s cosy enough with one person each side, but able to accommodate more (small) bums if need be. Lifting the seat squab revealed a large moulded bin ideal for soft coolers or dry bags. I was impressed with the quality of the materials and the tight, even stitching but truth be told, we’ve come to expect this level of refinement from the Haines Group.
The plush ribbed carpet that lined the deck felt so good I would have been satisfied with sitting on the floor — a clip out version with moulded non-skid liner is optional. The cockpit sole also houses the optional underfloor ski locker and the standard bolstered side pockets were of ample volume.

HELM AND COCKPIT
The new contoured bucket seats include integrated bolsters which enable you to raise your derriere another six inches to peer over the windscreen. These work a treat and lock you in nicely when under way. The dash boasts partial black gel coat capped with a carbon fibre-look brow reminiscent of a modern sports car.
The helm is a pleasant place to be with good ergonomics and techno treats. Replacing the common marine rocker switch assembly is a new flush mounted membrane switch panel with indicator lights that illuminate when activated. Also welcome is the slick new Suzuki digital throttle with push button start up and selector. Garmin’s low-profile GPS Map 751XS resides in the dash binnacle and adds to the driving experience. The walk-through armour- glass windscreen complements the hull’s silhouette nicely and provides a clear and uncluttered vista when seated.
With a carrying capacity of up to eight, which is more than usual, this bowrider is blessed with plenty of internal freeboard making it a safer option, especially for the kids.

ENGINE
A 950kg hull fitted up with a torquey 175hp outboard is going to have some legs and this rig didn’t disappoint. As tested the new 175hp Suzuki literally blows your hair back as the responsive digital throttle is knocked down. Holeshot is brisk off the mark with minimal bow lift when urged. The transition to WOT and maximum revs is smooth, but still bloody quick. The 580BR achieves a healthy 78kmh at 6100rpm, but unfortunately you’re going to chew a little more juice than usual on any motor if you consistently hoon at these speeds – 96L/hr to be precise on the 175 Suzuki.

HANDLING AND RIDE
The hull holds on in tight and turns like nobody’s business, without wanting to chuck you out. Easing the throttle back a little to around 4500 revs rewards you with a refined and muted snarl and a significant reduction in fuel burn. The ride is quiet and reassuring, ideal for chasing faraway horizons.
But this is not just a fair weather prospect. To test its credentials in the rough, we employed the 580BR as a camera boat to film Signature’s equally impressive Signature 575F in serious slop on the inside section of South Passage bar (Stradbroke Island). It was rough as guts with waves breaking all over the show and at the end of it I came away with no grazes or bruises, as well as a dry camera and a grin from ear to ear.

THE VERDICT
As a dedicated general skiing and family runabout I reckon the 580BR is an absolute winner. It’s equally well suited to cruising and might not be a bad option for fishing from either. Add a few piscatorial trinkets and you have a solid multi-purpose boat, although spilling a bit of bait blood on the upholstery and carpets could produce a foul tongue and thick ear from the wife.
The Signature 580BR is a well-appointed rig with a fit and finish that sets the benchmark in its class. As tested you can get into one of these machines for around 75K, or resist ticking all the option boxes and walk away with one for around 56K or so with a 150hp four-stroke. Not bad at all considering the abundance of standard features included and overall quality of the whole package.

HIGHS
Quality and overall finishes
High performance characteristics
New colour scheme
Plenty packed into the package
Load rating of 8 people

LOWS
Not much, it’s an awesome boat

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