BOAT REVIEW Innovision 808 Venture Estero

February 2024 Trailer Boat Reviews
Words by John Eichelsheim. Photography & video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL Innovision 808 Venture
DESIGNER Innovision Boats
BUILDER Innovision Boats
PRICE AS TESTED $from 295,000
LOA 8.2M
ENGINE 2 x Yamaha F200 L4, Helm Master EX, Active Trim
Weight on Trailer 3451 kg
Max Horsepower 400hp
Passenger Capacity 6 people
  • Excellent hull and engine performance
  • Solid engineering, unique styling
  • Colour scheme is extremely eye-catching
  • Walkaround configuration ideal for sport fishing
  • High sides inspire confidence at sea

Estero is an Innovision 808 with a twist. Built for a sport fishing enthusiast, the Venture model has a centre cabin with full walkaround side-decks, rather than the conventional hardtop of the standard 808. It’s a layout optimised for fishing and diving.

This striking vessel decked out in blue-black metallic paint is housed at Westhaven’s Pier 21 drystack, ready to take its owner and friends out onto the Waitemata Harbour, or further afield into the Hauraki Gulf at a moment’s notice. Stored fully-fuelled, there’s always enough 95-octane in her belly to take her pretty much anywhere her crew desires.

As has become more usual for the crew at Innovision Boats, Estero has been extensively customised. The boat’s owner had specific needs and desires, which, says company MD Simon Minoprio, Innovision Boats was happy to fulfil.


“Above all, the owner wanted a vessel to take him and his mates fishing – primarily a day boat, but with two decent berths should he want to overnight, and comfortable seating. The choice of seats was his.”

Estero’s owner spared no expense in speccing this boat, installing a comprehensive Raymarine electronics package, including GPS, radar and autopilot; a FLIR camera; numerous floodlights and lightbars; a Shakespeare GPRS receiver; Fusion Bluetooth sound system; C-Zone digital switching; Zipwake trim tabs; washer-wipers; screen demister; extensive LED lighting –  and much more.

Two Yamaha F200 L4 2,850cc outboards are bolted to the transom between the swim platforms, each of which is enclosed by a sturdy cage with a gate that drops down to become a boarding ladder.

Estero has all the latest Yamaha tech, including Active Trim and Helm Master EX, which greatly enhances manoeuvrability at low speeds, taking the angst out of docking, and offering a raft of useful features, both for fishing and when navigating from place to place. Walkaround side decks are covered with U-Dek, as are the foredeck, cockpit sole and coamings.

The cockpit is optimised for fishing with six Exploding Fish adjustable stainless steel rod holders set into the coamings, five rod holders on the bait station, a sensibly raked eight-position rocker launcher on the hardtop roof, two built-in tuna tubes in the transom corners, a live well under the step-through on the port side, and cages around the boarding platforms either side of the engine.

There’s a removable storage bin under the step-through on the starboard side. As has become usual for Innovision, knee-activated outboard hand washers on both sides of the cockpit are standard. The deck washdown is on the port side.

The cockpit sole is covered in non-slip U-Dek, which also features on the coamings, gunwales, foredeck and side decks. LED floodlights and floor-level blue strip lighting can extend fishing hours into darkness and drop covers provide additional shelter for overnighting and protection when the boat is stored. A 12-inch Raymarine Axiom Pro MFD mounted on a custom bracket in the wheelhouse aft keeps anglers in the cockpit informed.

Estero is not currently fitted with an electric trolling motor, but Yamaha’s Helm Master EX system delivers many of the fishing-friendly functions a bow-mounted electric motor would provide. Helm Master EX works best with two outboards, as fitted to this boat.

As expected on an Innovision boat, the bait station is large, practically laid out and well-endowed with useful storage, including a large tackle drawer. The cutting board is raised slightly above the bait board’s lip, for easier fish filleting.

Start batteries, isolation switches and associated electrics are suitably protected from the elements, too, and there’s good access to Estero’s pumps and wet services.

Her house batteries are housed forward in an underfloor locker inside the wheelhouse with a second locker offering dry storage. A large underfloor wet locker is great for dive gear, fish bins or storing the catch and there’s additional storage for long items under the side decks, accessed from the cockpit through a pair of hatches – a useful feature. The side decks also feature drains so that any water coming over the bow doesn’t slosh into the cockpit.

A C-Zone digital switching system, activated via any of the vessel’s MFDs, or a separate panel in the wheelhouse aft, provides access to the vessel’s pre-programmed operational modes, including a range of multi-coloured mood lighting options.

The centre cabin and the forward cabin are tastefully furnished with custom upholstery, lined ceilings and walls, and comfortable seating. Because the 808 Venture is a walkaround model, the wheelhouse is by necessity a bit narrower than Innovision’s conventional hardtop models, but that’s not really noticeable in a boat of this size.

The open centre-cabin layout with its swivelling pedestal helm seats works well and the interior certainly doesn’t feel cramped, however the oversize Reelax helm seats the owner has specified do make accessing the forward cabin a bit of a squeeze at times. Aft facing seat-loungers are provided by squabs on the Icey-Tek chilly bins and fixed backrests. The bins slide in under the helm seat bases.

Forward, the cabin’s v-berths sleep two in some comfort with the infill installed, and there’s a toilet between the berths. A zip-close canvas door provides a bit of privacy and a small hatch in the foredeck affords light and ventilation. Like the hardtop, the forward cabin sacrifices a bit of interior space to the walkaround decks, but this doesn’t impact on the berths, which are a good size.

With 400hp on tap it came as no surprise that Estero has spirited performance. We saw a touch over 42 knots at 5,850rpm with a full load of fuel and water and three adults onboard, but Simon reckons a propeller pitch change is on the cards because there is currently a bit of prop slippage at high revolutions. As reviewed, Estero cruises very comfortably at 4,000rpm and 30 knots.

Inside the vinyl-lined centre-cabin with its recessed LED lighting, the impressive Reelax seats are super-comfortable, especially for the helmsman, who benefits from a footrest as well.

The helm console is vast, as it needs to be to accommodate the huge 19-inch Raymarine Axiom II XL multi-function display, but still leaving space for the Zipwake trim controls, Exalto wiper switches, Yamaha MFD panel, Fusion Bluetooth stereo panel and Raymarine VHF radio. Throttle controls and the Hem Master EX joystick fall easily to hand.

Estero’s comprehensive C-Zone modes are accessible either through the Axiom II MFD or a dedicated C-Zone panel further aft. There’s good storage for odds and ends, charging ports and plenty of drink holders, ample handholds, as well as carpet on the dashboard to reduce glare on the windscreen.

As anticipated, Estero performs and handles extremely well. She is a quiet runner, with minimal noise from the hull and only moderate noise levels from the engines despite an open cabin configuration.

There’s good vision from the helm in every direction and in typical Innovision fashion the 808 Venture planes with a level attitude and exhibits very little bow lift during acceleration. Its long waterline length not only adds volume, it also provides the ride and handling benefits of a larger vessel. Measured along the waterline Innovision boats are almost always longer than other boats of nominally the same length.

Negotiating boat and ferry wakes at any speed, and virtually any angle, failed to upset Estero’s equilibrium, with every crossing smooth and drama-free. Her owner had enjoyed the 808 Venture for more than three months at the time of our review, putting lots of hours on the engines already. He reported that she performs admirably in a range of sea conditions – one of his prerequisites when he ordered the vessel.

With all its bells and whistles, Estero is a very impressive vessel indeed. In personalising this boat, the owner ticked all the boxes. Innovision worked closely with him during the build and subsequent fitout to ensure he got what he wanted.

As the engine hours testify, Estero is already fulfilling its mission, getting its owner and his fishing buddies out on the waters of the Gulf, from Channel Island to Great Barrier and anywhere in between, whenever he has the time and inclination.

A star indeed.