BOAT REVIEW Innovision 707 Explorer

January 2021 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by John Eichelsheim, photography and video by Roger Mills.
OUR RATING
4.5 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Innovision 707 Explorer
DESIGNER Bakewell-White Yacht Design
BUILDER Innovision Boats
CONSTRUCTION 6mm hull, transom; 4mm sides, decks, and superstructure
PRICE AS TESTED $250,000
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 7.15M
BEAM 2.55M
ENGINE 1 x Honda BF250 V6 VTEC four-stroke O/B
FUEL CAPACITY 325L
WATER CAPACITY 60L
Weight on Trailer 2580 kg
Max Horsepower 300hp
Passenger Capacity 4 people
DEADRISE 19 degrees
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Strongly built
  • Well finished, clever features
  • Exceptional ride quality for length
OBSERVATIONS
  • Distinctive styling
  • High volume hull
  • Big boat handling

Innovision’s range of bespoke aluminium boats is most certainly ‘different from the rest’ as the company proudly states on its website.


Company founder Simon Minoprio’s philosophy was always to produce something special in aluminium: strong, well-built trailer boats with modern styling and clean lines.
Working with Bakewell-White Yacht Design, Minoprio came up with a range of boats between 5.15m and 9.09m LOA in four different configurations, all featuring plumb bows, long waterline lengths and lots of usable interior volume.
Special attention has been paid to the chines, which provide hydrodynamic lift and stability on the plane and stability at rest. The raised sheer line is a distinctive feature of the whole Innovision range, providing extra buoyancy to offset the plumb bow’s fine entry.

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I was really impressed with the smaller centre-console Innovision 515 Active I reviewed a while back (Boating NZ, July 2019), so it comes as no surprise that the much larger and more lavishly-equipped Innovision 707 Explorer (hardtop) is more of the same, only on a grander scale.
The 707 sits near the middle of the 10-boat Explorer range, which tops out at just over 9m (909). Innovision builds boats to order, so each one has a degree of customisation. This boat belongs to a Nelson owner who intends to fish D’Urville Island and explore the Top of the South.
The radical raised sheer is an unmissable style element of the 707 Explorer’s design, which with the plumb bow gives the boat an imposing, almost dreadnought-like presence when viewed head on. The flat, U-Dek covered foredeck is also high, so the forward cabin feels spacious, and I love the low CNC-cut bow-rails/grab-rails. In profile, the boat’s lines easily distinguish it from other aluminium trailer boats on the market – to me the 707 Explorer looks purposeful and ready for anything.


It’s not only looks that set this boat apart. Innovision offers a 10-year warranty on its hulls. I think Simon was only half joking when he told me he was toying with the idea of offering a 20-year warranty, but it’s an indication of the faith he has in the boats’ build quality.
That quality starts with the aluminium sheet: all marine grade 5083. For the 707 Explorer, 6mm plate for the bottom, transom and pod, frames and stringers and 4mm plate elsewhere. In addition, there’s a 10mm keel bar, four full-height longitudinal girders per side, plus an external doubler on the keel providing a wear strip for the front third of the hull. The frames and stringers are at close centres to provide great hull support and eliminate any flexing or booming.
Innovision also manufactures the high-quality Innovision aluminium trailer. It’s a braked tandem-axle design with alloy wheels and skids rather than rollers: the main weight of the boat is supported along its keel. Slightly over width (2.55m), the rig weighs in at around 2.6 tonnes on the road.


One of the benefits of a long waterline is the space it affords inside the boat. This is very noticeable with the 707, which feels more like an 8m boat. There’s a spacious cockpit floored in grey U-Dek, which is also used on the coamings, and a practical seating layout of two aft-facing seats and a pair of upholstered swivelling bucket seats in the front. This arrangement leaves the cockpit clear for fishing.
There’s good storage in the seat bases and the ‘floating’ side pockets, which instead of being welded are bonded to the boat’s sides with a flexible black sealer. Additional storage includes various shelves, cubbies and pockets inside the hardtop and cabin. For wet and bulky items, two large underfloor lockers with lift-out PVC liners are fitted, big enough for dive bottles, gear bags and other bulky items.
The transom features Innovision’s excellent bait station with a heavy-duty high-density PVC filleting/bait board (with engraved fish-measuring ruler), five built-in rod holders (coved and painted), a couple of handy side shelves, drink holders and a large tackle drawer. Underneath, the batteries, switch gear, charger and 12Voutlet are protected by a hatch while an aluminium door gives access to the fuel filter, hoses and bilge – all very neat and tidy. A 325-litre underfloor fuel tank is positioned forward of the transom lockers.


Transom walk-throughs both sides open onto rear swim steps, connected in front of the outboard pod by a narrow U-Dek-covered walkway. Aluminium cages keep people inside the boat and also provide boarding ladders on both sides. Unusually, the cages are fabricated from rectangular box-section rather than tube, providing the swim ladders with wider, more user-friendly treads. The custom latch system is simple but foolproof.
With lots of clear deck space, plenty of freeboard, high gunwales for safety and easy access to the swim-step cages, the cockpit is a very fishing oriented. Three through-coaming rod holders per side take care of trolling duties and there’s storage for eight rod and reel combos in the rocket launcher. There’s also a tow point on the roof for wakeboarders and the like, and with addition of a couple of poles in the corners, the road cover becomes an awning.
Hella LED lighting is used throughout the vessel and includes floodlights to illuminate the cockpit at night. High pressure salt- and freshwater wash-downs take care of cleaning duties onboard and the pumps also feed under-gunwale hand washing jets directing water overboard, fresh on one side of the boat and salty on the other. Turn the valve, lean over the side and let a forceful stream of water wash any fishy residue from your hands.


The open-backed hardtop offers good protection, its roof extending far enough back to ensure the seats are out of direct sun or rain. Sliding side windows and a couple of small Cule hatches in the roof provide ventilation while three windscreen wipers with washers and window demisters keep the three-pane windscreen clear. These are controlled by a fancy Exalto multifunction panel.
The hardtop interior is painted white and the ceiling is lined in grey to match the U-Dek floors. Handrails are well-positioned, including lengthways along the ceiling, so there’s always something to grab onto.


Up forward there’s a good-sized cabin with a wide bulkhead opening, generous v-berths (with infill), an electric toilet to starboard under the squab and good seated headroom thanks to the high bow. A large hatch (also by Cule) opens to the foredeck and admits light into the cabin; the hatch in the bulkhead provides access to the anchor locker, though chain pile-ups are unlikely because the vessel’s plumb bow means there’s plenty of fall.
Everything outside and inside this boat is superbly finished – all the welds have been coved and the optional paint finish is stunning. The metallic blue exterior is particularly striking. According to Simon, no fairing was required, just some high-fill primer here and there before the top-coats were applied.

From the helm
Innovision tailors its helm consoles to suit the electronics customers select. In this case the owner has opted for a pair of 9-inch Raymarine HybridTouch multi-function displays, so there’s plenty of console real estate to spare, but the 707 can accommodate single or twin MFDs of almost any size. If someone wants really big screens, Innovision simply makes the console larger by reducing the width of the cabin entry.


In addition to the MFDs the console hosts a couple of switch panels, the Maxwell capstan control, Raymarine autopilot, Raymarine VHF radio, Zipwake automatic trim tab controls, bilge pump reset switch and Honda ignition key.
The Fusion stereo head unit lives over the bulkhead opening next to the Exalto panel. It’s all very tidy and uncluttered. I like the carpet on the shelf (with a return to stop objects sliding off) under the windscreen to reduce glare.
This boat’s tailored to its owner who is evidently somewhat slimmer than I am. The seat base is a little too close to the wheel for me when standing up to drive, even with the bolster up, but each boat is different says Simon. Sitting and driving is fine, the simple two-tier pipe footrests providing comfortable support and the bucket seat feeling comfortable and secure.


Power for this vessel is a 250hp Honda BF250D four-stroke outboard, in white, to match the boat’s colour palette. It’s a smart-looking rig. This is a 3.6-litre V6 EFI engine with VTEC and Direct Air Induction. This was the boat’s first outing since Honda’s tech people tried out a couple of different propellers, but they seemed to have got it sorted. We saw a top speed just a fraction under 40 knots on the GPS with the engine revving right in the middle of its recommended range at full throttle. Cruising speed is anywhere between 25 and 35 knots.


The 707 Explorer feels very lively and responsive with this engine. Like the outboard, the boat is quiet, with very little noise from the hull. The long waterline makes it behave like a bigger boat, so it enjoys big boat benefits in ride and seakeeping ability. A smooth, comfortable ride is the overriding impression I took away from my morning with the Explorer, but it is also very stable underway and a dry runner as well.
Innovision claims its hull design delivers a soft ride by virtue of an extremely fine entry plumb bow combined with extra waterline length, which between them reduce slamming and pitching motion in choppy conditions.
Running downwind in heavy seas, the chines greatly reduce any tendency for the boat to broach. We couldn’t test this first-hand, but Innovision boats have a reputation for being safe in a following sea. The plumb bow design and extra volume/buoyancy inherent in a high bow (raised sheerline) has benefits for bar crossings as well, making it harder to bury the nose.


Innovision also claims stability at rest benefits for its hull design, and this I can attest to: it barely listed when we transferred people from one boat to another, even with three of us along one side.
The Innovision 707 Explorer is an impressive trailer boat: unconventional, innovative and highly capable. Its unique hull design achieves the ride characteristics of a much bigger boat without the weight and size penalties – important considerations for a trailer boat. Built strong with care and attention to detail, Innovision boats are not the cheapest aluminium boat on the New Zealand market, but they are up there with the best. A 10-year warranty is icing on the cake.

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