Harry Foullas spent seven years rebuilding a 1977 Haines Formula 233. He gave up several times, but now he’s finished, he’ll never sell her. The Captain knows this because we offered the neighbour’s house for it.
THE CAPTAIN: WOW, WHAT A REBUILD. WHY A HAINES FORMULA 233, HARRY?
HARRY: It’s always been a dream of mine. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the 233s. I always wanted something I could gamefish in for days on end, regardless of the weather. I’m not getting any younger either, so it had to get me there in comfort.
WHERE DID YOU PICK HER UP FROM?
I found her on Phillip Island (Victoria). At the time it was a recreational boat and before that it was a dive boat. I sold my Haines Hunter 600R for $32,000 and bought the Formula for $40,000. I set about stripping it down and selling parts to fund the rebuild. I sold the engines, bow rails – anything that could be unbolted!
TELL US ABOUT THE NAME, TRIPLE H?
It means ‘Harry’s Haines Hunter’. I made it up about 25 years ago on my first Haines Hunter and it just stuck.
YOU MENTIONED THE HAINES HUNTER 600R, WHAT OTHER BOATS HAVE YOU OWNED?
I started in tinnies, then worked up to glass boats and eventually got into Haines Hunters. The first was a Haines Hunter V17R, then a Haines Hunter V17L followed by the 600R. The 600 was an awesome boat, probably the best performer of them all. Then the Formula came up and I made the big leap!
YOU SURE DID, HARRY. TELL US ABOUT THE REBUILD PROCESS?
Well, to be honest, I gave up a few times. It really got me down. There’s a lot of boat below that deck. It lay idle for a few years, then I brought it down to JV Marine in Laverton (where I’m employed as Store Manager) and worked on it during the week ‘til midnight. It was a seven-year rebuild!
WHAT MODIFICATIONS HAVE YOU MADE TO THE HULL?
Mark Irvine redesigned the engine well and dash, which is based on a six-metre Edencraft. I liked the simple and practical layout. I’ve also got a one-piece cabin door with concealed hinges for security.
WHAT’S GOING ON BELOW THE DECKS?
The hull is built with individual box sections, each foam filled to improve rigidity and reduce noise. It also improves the safety aspect. There’s no storage compartments below deck, just a solid section with a 600 litre fuel tank. Our goal was to keep the weight below the waterline rather than the sides, to create a natural ballast system.
THE RIDE SURE IS AMAZING. THOSE LANDINGS WERE AS SMOOTH AS SILK! TELL US ABOUT THE DONKS…
I sell the Suzuki four strokes at JV Marine; they have a great reputation. They weigh about the same as an old two stroke and they set up nicely on the hull, giving smooth and consistent power in any conditions. You don’t want to be on and off the throttles in these boats (which can lead to porpoising). They’re great on the juice, too. We use about 160 – 200 litres of fuel on a day gamefishing. Jim Katsantonis fitted the engines and props. He’s a twin-rig guru!
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER GOODIES FITTED?
The Easytow trailer was regalvanised and refitted with rated tyres and wheels, and a 70 mm coupling. It’s got a rating of 4.5 tonne, but it comes in under 4 tonne on the trailer. Electronics are good, but due for an upgrade. It’s a Furuno 585 with a through-hull transducer.
WHO HELPED YOU ALONG THE WAY?
I’ve got to mention the family, starting with my wife, Antoinette. My son Steve has been on the journey from the beginning. He was 13 when we started, and he had his licence by the time we finished! He did all the electrical work and ongoing maintenance. He’s done a couple of 233s since mine – he’s getting quite a reputation! Mark Irvine was a master at coming up with design solutions. Father and son team, Alan and Steve Darche, painted and flow coated the boat. Simon Abela from Williamstown Panels did a beautiful job of cutting the paint back for a mirror finish. It took him about two weeks! Kane McQuarie did a beautiful job on the stainless work, too.
WOULD YOU EVER SELL HER?
No way. I’ve touched every inch of this hull. I’m connected to it! Even if someone offered me $250,000, I’d have to say no.
WHAT ABOUT HALF-A-MILLION DOLLARS, HARRY?
Nope. The money means nothing to me. I could sell the engines and trailer one day, but I could never replace that hull. My blood and sweat are in that hull. Maybe a tear or two as well. It was probably just some fibreglass that caused it…
YEAH, SURE HARRY. WHAT’S THE BEST TIP FOR SOMEONE THINKING ABOUT A PROJECT LIKE THIS?
Treat it like a series of individual projects, then it’ll become achievable. Forget about time limits as well. And throw the budget out the door.
Well done, Harry. The Captain salutes you!
SPECIFICATIONS: TRIPLE H HAINES FORMULA V233
Type: Deep-vee monohull
Length (overall): 7.01m
Towing weight: Approx. 4000kg
Dry hull weight: 1900kg
Fuel: 600 litres
Rec. min HP: 2 x 175 or 1 x 300
Rec. max HP: 2 x 250
Make/model: 2 x Suzuki DF175TX
Type: 4-stroke, 4-cylinder, Multi Point Sequential Fuel Injection
Gearbox ratio: 2.5:1
Propeller: 16 x 21in
9/11 Fitzgerald Rd, Laverton North, Victoria 3026