The Edencraft crew have brought the classic 565 originally developed by John Haines Sr back to life. Naturally, The Captain has scored the first ride in Aussie waters and has brought his checklist to Eden (where else?) on the NSW South Coast. Our salty inspection crew for this special occasion includes Joel Ryan, who skippers a 6m Edencraft Offshore and spends plenty of sea time in a Cootacraft GunShot, plus the father of Edencraft, Ron Doyle. This should be interesting.
“Classic” is a fairly loose term for a boat. It could mean old, rotten or slow, perhaps a justification to the missus for a poorly chosen pus bucket — or maybe all of the above. But “classic” could also mean this boat has earned its stripes as a salt-slaying canyon runner after decades of honourable service. The 565 lives here. The 565 was originally John Haines Sr’s baby. He took his cues from the Bertram range on the Haines’ books at the time, but the 565 had its own original herbs and spices.
For starters, John added a plank (a flat section at the keel). The plank was designed to give the boat lift when fitted with heavy motors, and also to help with low planing speeds. It also gave the hull more speed at the top end. The downside is that the flat sections hit harder. More flat sections equals more lift equals more bang — that’s generally how the story goes.
Haines also designed narrow shoulders and a deep cockpit. It was the perfect driver’s boat — and the 565 earned a good reputation with spearos and trailerboat owners going hard in the blue stuff. Edencraft picked up the 565 hulls as part of a job lot in the mid ’80s (read how that came about a bit later). The shape stayed the same, but the reputation was enhanced with commercial grade fit-ups for ab divers and spearos that included wave breakers. The 565 was a mainstay for Edencraft — and its subsequent owners — over the years, but there hasn’t been a new model out of the mould for more than five years.
UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT
Under the new management of the Maher family, Edencraft’s R&D team got busy down at their factory in Moolap, near Geelong. The first change they made was to remove the plank. Now it’s 22 degrees at the bum. The plank made sense with heavier motors, but today’s outboards have been on a treadmill at the fat farm. Now the hull boasts an even smoother ride with a much softer entry. There are also no pods in sight.
This came as somewhat of a relief to The Captain. The last 565 we tested featured a 300 Yammie on a pod. It was pretty horrible, adding credence to the theory that heavy motors kill the ride on 565 hulls. That boat also did nothing to enhance our appreciation of pods — although we get they have a purpose to add lift for big motors or carrying heavy loads, and in Nespresso coffee machines, of course.
We ask Joel Ryan how she compares to his larger 6m Offshore.“It’s not unstable, but definitely more tender at rest than the 6m,” he says. The Captain figured as much, the 565 being about 20cm narrower in the beam than the 6m Offshore. “So, how about the ride?” “It’s much more of a driver’s boat than the 6m,” Joel says. “You need to be right on it. It’s more sensitive to the trim with a very sharp entry. This makes for a really soft ride — once you get the trim right, it’s beautiful.”
Everyone was a bit suss on the 150HP Mercury, but Joel reckoned it’d cope with a crew of two and some snapper gear. But add more crew, and diving or gamefishing gear, and you might be looking for more horses. The Edencraft crew claim the 565 has the highest horse power rating and fuel capacity in it’s class. Owner Grant Maher plans on trialling a 225 Mercury Pro XS, which at 229kg is only 23kg heavier than the 150 motor.
It’s a dry ride, thanks to a large flare — or “sponson”, as Ron Doyle refers to it — wrapped around the capping on the boat. The flare doesn’t just turn down the water, it gives the boat a stylish, modern look. The dash has been beefed up to fit a 16” Simrad screen, and there’s a very smart moulded and removable swinging dive door.
It has no water leaks — hats off to Australian boat building yet again. “It’s probably the best dive door I’ve every used,” Joel reckons. “The depth is perfect, too — not so low that it lets water in and not so high that it’s redundant.”
Joel also rates the fishing cockpit as a standout. “The freeboard is higher than a 6m offshore and standing in the back corner you feel very safe. There are side pockets with cup holders that I wish I had in my boat.” Something else Joel wishes he had in his boat are the adjustable seats Edencraft imports from overseas. “They give you a lot more room when you’re trying to get close to the steering wheel or between the two seats,” he says. The 170mm wide gunwale tops bring the 565 into the 21st century, a massive improvement on the old Haines narrow top decks that could slice testicles if you weren’t paying attention.
Another area that’s improved is the construction. Back in the Haines Hunter days, the boats were screwed and slapped together with timber you wouldn’t use to build a dog kennel. Now, the stringer system is a solid onepiece glass matrix system wrapped around a 220L fuel tank, with a moulded glass floor and non-skid pattern on top.
The transom is made from Thermo-Lite. The new 565 is timber-free, constructed with quality resins and cloths, and foam-filled, with extra foam under the gunwales — as are all Edencraft boats. It no longer bangs and shudders like a dunny door in a hurricane and Edencraft backs up its workmanship with a 10-year hull warranty.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
The Captain loves a bit of nostalgia, so we tracked down an original 565 hull built by Edencraft in the 1980s at one of our favourite retreats, Eden Beachfront Holiday Park.
Sans windscreen, this beauty also boasts a faded chalky red gelcoat on the top deck and partly assembled transom, and is owned by park manager Jason Ferguson. We learn the boat was built by Ron Doyle’s crew, then donated to the Twofold Bay Yacht Club. Ron recalls the lay-up was equivalent to a Formula build, so it had good bones.
Jason’s plan is to build a 25-inch transom, drop in a new floor and fit a wave breaker. Everything else is solid. We lined up the old Edencraft 565 with the new model while Ron went to work with the tape measure.
WHO WILL IT SUIT?
The Captain reckons the 565 is the ideal pocket game fishing boat — and an ideal bay boat for getting to the snapper spot in a hurry. It’ll fish three burly blokes comfortably but any more than that might send you into something bigger like a 6m Offshore model. But here’s the trade-off — the 565 model is 350kg lighter in the hull. We did notice the hull getting bossed around in some 1.5m—2m slop rounding the headland in Twofold Bay, but a bit of trim helped the cause.
In terms of classification, Joel has a couple of issues, but says the 565 is value for the money. “If I had to place the 565, I’d say it’s right in the middle of a Cootacraft GunShot and my boat. It could be set up really well for game fishing, but the live bait tanks need a bit more depth to keep slimies going all day — and some slimy tubes — and it’d be really nice to a see it with a 200HP.
But with the starting package priced at $85,000 to $90,000, it’s an unreal weapon of a boat.”
The 565 is a certified future-classic rig that you don’t have to mortgage your house for. It’ll impress your mates, the ladies, neighbours and your kids equally. It’s a dream rig for all kinds of fishie business, but can step up to the plate for more serious duties. Plus, you can tow it with a ride-on mower. The Captain is only partly joking about that.
Edencraft Boats 22–30 Buckley Grove, Moolap, Victoria.
(03) 5248 5662