BOAT REVIEW Innovision 757 Explorer

January 2023 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by Norman Holtzhausen, Photography and video by Roger Mills.
OUR RATING
4.5 STARS
Performance
Economy
Handling
Value
Build Quality
Specification
MODEL DETAILS
MODEL Innovision 757 Explorer
DESIGNER Innovision Boats/Simon Minoprio
BUILDER Innovision Boats
PRICE AS TESTED $250,000
SPECIFICATIONS
LOA 7.65M
BEAM 2.6M
DRAFT 0.9M
ENGINE 1 x Mercury Verado 300hp V8
FUEL CAPACITY 380L
WATER CAPACITY 50L
Max Horsepower 400hp
Passenger Capacity 6 people
DEADRISE 19 degrees
HIGHLIGHTS
  • Superbly finished
  • Top of the range electronics package 
  • Diesel space heater to keep everyone warm
OBSERVATIONS
  • Unique bow profile with numerous benefits
  • Great handling
  • Stern platform one of the most practical we have seen

Innovision Boats is one of the first New Zealand boat builders to incorporate a plumb bow into its designs, a feature that was well proven in Europe for some time. This gives the Innovision an extremely fine entry, which greatly reduces slamming and pitching in rough water. The other huge benefit of the vertical bow is the increased waterline length, which also contributes to the smooth ride.


Although the bow shape with its fine entry is the most noticeable feature of the new Innovision 757 Explorer, the benefits do not stop there. The higher bow offers increased cabin volume up front, making for safer bar crossings while also providing more interior cabin space. Innovision also refer to their Hydrodynamic Stability Chines as another important design feature, with the reverse-angle providing maximum stability at rest. That same design provides targeted lift to smooth out the ride in rough conditions, while also reducing any tendency to broach in heavy downwind conditions.
As if the design features are not enough, Innovision also adds their very high-spec standard of finish. The boat’s clean, modern lines are uncluttered but stylish and practical. And the review boat was also equipped with a very impressive package of electronics, ready to be delivered to her new owner just before Christmas.

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The test day took almost two weeks to arrange, thanks to the late November storms that ravaged the top half of the North Island. We were dangerously close to the deadline when Simon Minoprio of Innovision finally slipped the 757 Explorer into the water at Westhaven marina. With no time to spare, we nudged the 300hp four-stroke Mercury into life and slipped out of the marina for our appointment with the photographer and his drone.
On the trip out I was able to take stock. The boat is beautifully finished, with no uncoated aluminium visible anywhere. Every surface is either painted, carpeted, or covered in custom EVA foam decking. The open-back hardtop cabin has plenty of head height, with the fully adjustable skipper’s and passenger’s seats mounted on pods that provide not only additional rear-facing seats, but also dry storage compartments. The berth in the forward cabin is huge, providing an extra-wide bed that hides a toilet under the centre section.


The helm station is absolutely dominated by the huge 16-inch Raymarine Axiom Pro multi-function display. Next to the display is another smaller Mercury Vesselview smart screen and tucked into the armrest in the cabin side is a third screen for the Raymarine autopilot. A Fusion MS-RA670 stereo and Raymarine VHF are joined by controls for the Zipwake interceptors (trim tabs) and the Vetus 25kg thrust bow thruster. See sidebar for further details of the electronics package.
The large windscreen is well served by full-width wipers with freshwater rinse on all three sections, and outlets for the New Zealand-made Heatport diesel air heater could be seen below each screen section. Warm air blowing on the windows will keep them clear of condensation on cold days, while also keeping the boat’s occupants warm. A 50-litre freshwater tank serves the wipers and an additional freshwater rinse hose in the cockpit.


The stern of the 757 is a great example of what a fishing boat should be. The high guard rail and full-width platform allows access to the whole stern of the boat, except when the big Mercury is tilted completely up. Sections of rail on either side of the outboard can be unlatched to swing down to form wide boarding ladders, suitable even for divers wearing fins. A livebait tank is tucked into the port side transom step-through, while a large bait board, rod holder and drink holder sits in the middle of the transom. Neatly tucked under that is a wide drawer, perfect for fishing tackle, bait knives and the like.
Of course, the main part of the cockpit is also equally well set up for fishing, with broad, flat gunwales covered in smart foam decking, providing comfortable seating when the fishing is slow. The rod holders can be swivelled to suit the type and size of rods being used, and of course, a rocket launcher on the hardtop holds the rods neatly out the way when not required. In another flash of brilliance, an external saltwater hand washing outlet under the gunnels helps stops fishing muck finishing up inside.


Driving a boat with an autopilot is such a pleasure, especially traversing the slower inner section of Auckland Harbour. The Innovision 757, with the benefit of its longer waterline length, was able to hold to the 12-knot speed restriction easily, and the Zipwake system kept us on an even keel. All we had to do was keep an eye open for other harbour traffic – a quick twist of the autopilot knob enabled us to steer around any obstacles.
Soon we were out of the restricted area and could open up the big Mercury. The motor was still being run in, so we didn’t push it to full throttle, but 30 knots came up on the dials in no time. The smooth running of the hull was very evident, effortlessly cutting through the wake of the photo boat. This was almost disappointing, since we were unable to get any ‘big air’ for the photographer because the very fine-entry hull simply sliced through the wake with barely any hull lift.


The only time we got water over the bow was when we literally ‘fell’ into a hole caused by the tidal stream around north head. This let us try out the wipers, which cover an astonishing amount of that windscreen. Going through various degrees of chop and current, we found the Zipwake system was super easy to use, twisting the knob to adjust roll and scrolling a wheel up or down for pitch.
We spotted a small workup, so had to stop briefly to test out the boat’s fishing credentials. Sure enough, a kahawai was soon hooked up and released, before we continued on our way. That outward-facing hand washer came into its own.
At the designated photo spot, we put the 757 through her paces, quickly becoming impressed by its manoeuvrability. Minoprio demonstrated how to perform a ‘jetboat spin’ (after first warning me to hold on!), spinning her around with ease. In deference to the new motor, we did not punch the throttle too hard to test acceleration, but she certainly seemed to get up and go!

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All too soon we headed back to the marina and the trailer. Docking and trailering proved ridiculously easy, thanks to the bowthruster, and once she was back on the trailer we were able to take a closer look at the underwater lights, Zipwake interceptors and huge transducers that give the Raymarine sonar such a beautiful image.
In the 757 Explorer, Innovision has produced a stunning boat once again. Handling is superb, the ride is smooth and stable, the boat isimpeccably finished and also tricked out with every conceivable accessory.
I wish she were my Christmas present!

Electronics package

The review boat is a stunning example of how good an integrated electronics package can be. The heart of the system is the 16-inch Raymarine Axiom Pro multi-function touch-screen display, while under the bonnet is a CZone digital switching solution. The Mercury outboard motor is monitored by a Vesselview touch-screen display, which not only displays all critical motor functions but also allows the data to be shared with the Raymarine display. Working together, these three core components tie all the onboard systems together.
The Raymarine Axiom provides leading-edge chartplotting and sonar capabilities.
A 1kW transducer and a RV100 four-in-one transducer provide a 360o view of the underwater landscape around the boat. Combined with the touch screen, this allows the skipper to zoom in or swivel the view around to get a better picture of what he sees on the 3D graphics.
Other options installed include the Raymarine Quantum 2 Doppler Radar and
a FLIR thermal camera. The boat’s new home will be in the Marlborough Sounds, which is notorious for cold, foggy mornings. Both the radar and the camera will be useful for safely navigating through that busy waterway, even when visibility is very limited.
The Raymarine Evolution Autopilot system with P70RS control system provides a super-bright display and intuitive controls. Engaging the autopilot takes a single touch, and the heading is changed with a simple twist of the knob. In case of emergency, it is possible to over-ride the autopilot by simply grabbing the steering wheel – the autopilot will take over again once pressure on the wheel is released.
The customised CZone vessel graphic on the main display allows at-a-glance views of every system aboard the vessel, with touch control of all circuits. This is supplemented by additional button panels at the helm, as well as on the cabin sides. These allow critical lights to be turned on or off, the winch to be operated and the wipers (with associated wash) to be activated with a simple touch button. Side button panels operate the saltwater and freshwater pumps, even with wet fingers, as well as the underwater lights on the transom and the livebait tank pump.
The electronics package provides a simple and elegant solution that, with CZone, hides the complexity of the underlying systems and their wiring.
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