Haines 32 used boat buyer’s guide: A British river cruiser with a difference

Our resident used boat expert Nick Burnham explains how to find a good Haines 32 on the secondhand market.

Perhaps the biggest clue to the bespoke hand-built nature of the Haines 32 in either Sedan or Offshore guise is found in a small discreet locker low down alongside the helm.

Open it and you’ll find the main battery isolator switches and the electrical distribution panel. And on the inside of the wooden door, a neat oval brass plaque which states the manufacturer, the model, the build number and crucially, the names of the five-person build team that crafted this actual vessel.

Mass production this is not. “There’s no doubt that many of the Haines customers are buying more than just a boat at times, many choose our products because of the bespoke nature of the build that we offer and because of the whole experience of having a new boat hand built,” says General Manager and Director, Justin Haines.

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In fact, that synergy between builder and client runs far deeper than just the build of the end product, it runs to the design ethos too. “I probably should also explain how we arrived at the final design of the 32 Sedan,” continues Justin.

“Back then we asked several existing Haines customers what they would hope to see in this new product and many were forthcoming with lots of suggestions, almost all of which were then integrated into its final design.

“We’ve always had an open minded approach to design, utilising our good relationships with our customers and then integrating their wishes or requirements within the designs. To be honest, lots of them focussed around the practical issues such as access, safety and whether the boat was easy to use.”

The result of that synergy is evident right from the off. When it launched at the Southampton Boat Show in 2014, this neat but conservatively styled 32ft inland cruiser was shot through with the sort of intelligent detailing that comes from downloading many years of user experience.

A chunky step is built into the topsides, allowing easy side boarding if you can’t reach the bathing platform due to being bow in on a short finger pontoon for example.

Read Nick’s full Haines 32 used boat buying guide in the May issue of MBY, out April 1.


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