Restored 1983 Haines hunter V19R

1983 Haines Hunter V19R project boat

Thirty-eight year old Jason Gauci from Werribee (Vic) has been fishing since he was a little kid too short to look a snapper in the eye. And like many blokes these days who grew up fishing, he can’t find enough time for it, no matter how long he spends offshore. Yep, he’s addicted.

He’s also a dedicated Haines Hunter boats fan who, after signing rather large cheques for two years, ended up investing about $75,000 restoring this Haines V19R runabout. On the upside, he’s now the obviously proud owner of a legendary Aussie fibreglass fishing boat in the classic style — which just happens to be the offshore fishing boat he’s always wanted.

When the runabout arrived at Jason’s place two years ago it had back-to-back seats and a Honda 90 pushing it along. “It wasn’t in bad nick,” he says. “All it really needed was a little TLC, but as you can see it got a lot more than that.”

Jason paid $12,000 for this work in progress, and most of the major restoration work was carried out by McQuarrie Fibreglass in Williamstown (Vic). What you see here is the restoration in pictures. And a damn fine boat she turned out to be.

Jason Gauci has always been a Haines Hunter fan and so there was never going to be a question about “which brand” to restore. The boat was a little neglected when the project kicked off, but that’s all; there was no cancer or structural problems. All the restoration work was carried out by marine enterprises within Melbourne’s western suburbs. The Gaucis are chuffed about that. Jason says the fibreglass part of the restoration consumed about 800 man-hours.

"Total restoration” was the brief with this one, and of course that included a new paint job. In the meantime, sidepockets were removed and then fully glassed-in, the windscreen was replaced by a solid looking wave breaker; the transom was recapped and reglassed (the floor was also reglassed); and the dash was rebuilt, besides a whole lot more.

Original motive power was a Honda 90 but that was switched in favour of a late-model 175hp Suzuki four-stroke with a 21in prop. “It’s more power than we really need,” says Jason. “But out of the hole it’s amazing and fuel consumption’s terrific.”

A new Stress Free anchor winch was another addition. Others  include: 32mm stainless rocket launchers, bowrail and snapper racks; Lowrance HDS7 GPS/sounder; suspension seats, footrests; rubber floor-matting; a stainless steel canopy; Hella lights; front and side clears; and a GME VHF radio and CD player, neatly installed in a glovebox  where they’re protected from water and spray.

It’s amazing how some blokes can look at a neglected boat and know that underneath is a new boat waiting to emerge. “All the bells and whistles” doesn’t half describe this one.

Fuelled and ready to head offshore. We haven’t seen a snazzier V19R for some time. Businesses that had a hand in the restoration included JV Marine, All Aboard Trimming, Get Wet Marine, Port Phillip Boating Centre and McQuarrie Stainless Steel.

1983 Haines Hunter V19R project boat specs

Length 5.9m

Engine 175hp four-stroke Suzuki outboard motor

Owner Jason Gauci

Favourite fishing spot Portland, Victoria

Target species Whiting

1983 Haines Hunter V19R project boat cost

Purchase price (pre-rebuild) $12,000

New outboard $20,500

Restoration $16,000

Electronics $10,000

Stainless work $7500

Mackay trailer $5000

Trim $3000

Rubber matting $1000

TOTAL COST Approx. $75,000

6 project boat restoration tips

From Jason.

1. Restore the boat you’ve always wanted. Then the rebuild will be satisfying, even when (not if!) you overspend.

2. Build for a purpose and don’t waste money on frivolous accessories. Focus on making sure the boat has everything to do the job properly.

3. Don’t skimp on the important stuff.

4. If a pro is doing a lot of the work, ensure he’s qualified. It also helps if he’s familiar with the model.

5. Check out other restorations to see what other boat owners have achieved.

6. Consult the wife too (happy wife, happy life).