BOAT REVIEW Innovision 616 Explorer

June 2022 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by Andrew Howard. Photography and video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL Innovision 616 Explorer
DESIGNER Innovision Boats
BUILDER Innovision Boats
LOA 6.18M
BEAM 2.48M
ENGINE 1 x Yamaha 200hp four-stroke
Passenger Capacity 6 people
DEADRISE variable, 45 bow to 19 at transom degrees
  • Hull performance
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Optionsfor adventure
  • Practical and safe solutions
  • Easy to tow

Painted in a striking metallic Brisbane Blue from Superyacht Coatings, this distinctive looking trailerboat is a bold and beautiful sight. An updated version of the Innovision 616 Explorer, she was delivered to her new owner in mid-April, just a fortnight before this review, having been built to order in the Innovation workshop in Albany, Auckland.

The boat was already in the water when we arrived for an early morning test session. As it was late autumn on the Waitemata Harbour, we found the conditions calm and still at first, but the wind picked up later, as did the wind-against-tide chop north of Waiheke Island. This mix of conditions gave us the perfect opportunity to see what this boat was all about.


Simon Minoprio, Innovision Boats’ founder and MD, joined us for the review session. Spending time on the water with blokes you have only just met is a great way to understand their thoughts and considerations on any subject and I quickly came to appreciate Simon’s energy – and the insight required to take the tried and true concepts underpinning most New Zealand trailer boats and then pivot to make them even better.
The first thing most people notice with the Innovation 616 Explorer is that it looks rather different from most trailer boats we see on the water and in our driveways. Some like it, some don’t.
I’ll confess right now that I love it! It is a bold, aggressive form, softened with colour and packed with clever ideas. The complete lack of bow rails and the plumb bow are salient design features, which – combined with some other interesting hull elements – make this an incredibly practical and safe boat for New Zealand conditions.
This updated version of the award-winning Innovation 616 Explorer has a new hull, with design enhancements to provide an even better ride, softer landings and exceptional stability. These, combined with the long waterline a plumb bow allows, delivers a boating experience that is excellent – at rest, in flat water and in the rough.

In rougher conditions, the bow’s fine entry – 45 degrees in the forward slam zone – and raised bow sheer mean the 616 slices effortlessly through the waves. In flatter conditions, we could test her cornering grip, which is superb, without any sliding or cavitation. At rest, three of us quite large blokes stood on one side of the rear cockpit simultaneously and she hardly listed at all.
All this surprised me somewhat, but the improved performance and handling can be largely attributed to the new design elements in the hull. The fine entry is matched with enormous chines to provide a defined ride that reduces any broaching, and the overall hull dynamics make for a softer ride. With the deadrise at the transom being a more moderate 19 degrees and the fact that the hull is widest at the boat’s resting waterline – and that the sides angle inwards rather than outwards as is more typical – provides a level of stability at rest we rarely see. So when everyone runs over to one side to see a fish being hauled in, the 616 is in no danger of tipping over! It also means that when the kids are jumping off the roof, and yes, the hardtop is designed with that in mind, she will not heel alarmingly or bounce around.

Built with a 10mm keel bar from bow to stern, two full-height longitudinals and two stringers per side, 6mm hull plates, and 4mm aluminium for everything above the waterline, the boat does not flex. During the test, I pushed the boat into and out of waves at all the wrong angles to see how she would react. Not only did the Innovision 616’s strength and rigidity shine through, along with her quiet ride, but the quicker the pace, the happier she was in the conditions.
We undertook this test in the Waitemata Harbour, where sea conditions are seldom more than moderate, but the way she handled gave me the impression that this is a boat able to handle coastal conditions anywhere in New Zealand. She felt sturdy, accurate and very safe, and for bar crossings – operated with the appropriate skills and local knowledge, of course – the 616 would be about as good a set-up as you could ask for to keep yourself, your friends and your family safe. And based on many of my own boating experiences involving crossing notorious harbour bars, I suspect this boat would lap them up better than most.

At idle, the 200hp Yamaha four-stoke is barely audible. These well-proven, reliable engines with electronic throttle and shift controls are an excellent match for this boat. With the motor being so fresh, we didn’t push too hard, but she quickly accelerated to over 37 knots. And with the ZipWake trim system set to Auto, she was happy doing it, too.
The hull slices through the water, rather than trying to lift over waves and shoulder them out of the way. This is an important difference and the main reason fuel efficiency is so good. Even when cruising at 25-plus knots, the fuel burn was only 1 litre per nautical mile. This means the 200-litre fuel tank under the floor aft provides an excellent range. From Auckland Harbour, this boat would happily get to and from Great Barrier Island for a day’s fishing on a single tank of fuel.

Inside the boat, but below the waterline, are a pair of hatches in the buoyancy chambers – great for people who store boats in dry stacks. There are also some large underfloor wet/dry storage lockers, and forward of these is a 70-litre freshwater tank.
The bait station is excellent – wide, drainable and furnished with enough drink holders for a thirsty crew. There are twin bilge pumps, salt and fresh water washdown pumps, and a good-sized live-bait tank. The height of the bait station was perfect for me, but it can be adjusted at the build stage to suit the owner. Below the bait board a large pull-out drawer on stainless steel runners locks open when needed. It is perfect for fishing tackle, knives and phones.
Below the drawer is battery storage – one for starting and the other for the house systems. They are kept above the waterline, as are the master fuses and switches, well protected from weather and spray.
The rail surrounding the transom duckboard is sturdy. It’s another place for the kids to play or for an angler to fish from. It has two boarding ladders, one each side, so clambering over the engine to get to the right side for the ladder isn’t necessary.

The test boat was equipped with a Fusion stereo and speakers, Vesper AIS/VHF, twin Furuno TZT9F screens featuring GPS/Depth Sounder and Radar, and Auto-Helm autopilot, all them integrated with a full C-Zone system for simplicity and ease of use. The Maxwell winch and rode counter are easily visible from the helm station and thanks to the boat’s triple, variable-speed windscreen wiper and washer set up, the skipper has excellent all weather vision.
One key feature we appreciated, given the off-season boating we do, is that each windscreen section has its own interior demister. This might be a first on a New Zealand-built trailer boat of this size – definitely a bonus on those early morning winter/spring runs.
There is U-Dek everywhere, providing safe, comfortable boating for everyone. The swivelling helm seats are adjustable fore and aft, which is another great feature, while the rear-facing seats are comfortable and fold away quickly to create more deck space when needed. The upholstery looks sharp and can be customised to your taste.

There are grab rails and handholds everywhere, so there is always something to hold onto underway. Moving around the boat is safe and it is straightforward to climb up and around to the foredeck when the boat’s at rest. The lack of a bow rail makes this easier. Port and starboard cockpit windows open about 20cm, creating good airflow underway, and the polished aluminium belting that circuits the boat offers hull protection when coming alongside.
With a build time of three months and boats only built to order, customers can work with the Innovision team to customise a base boat to their needs and specifications. This vessel is an excellent option to consider owning: safe enough for a novice to learn in, but also a rewarding option for the most experienced boatie.

The Innovision 616 is built for year-round adventure. She’s easy to tow on her Innovision-built trailer, good for divers, easy to fish up to six adults from and fine to spend a night on board, thanks to nearly two-metre long berths. The 616 encourages you to let the kids (and Dad) jump off the roof into the water, or equally to enjoy a quiet picnic in the bay. It even has a tow point up high for the wakeboarders another lower down for the water-skiers. Seriously, there is not much this boat can’t do. Ask and it will deliver.


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