With 3200 staff based in Plymouth, Princess Yachts is the largest builder of recreational vessels in the UK. It’s also one of the biggest in Europe, building up to 300 boats a year with an average length of 60 feet.
- Ample fishing room
- Good stability at rest
- Good toe room and thigh support
- Rides like a much larger boat
- Dry and smooth
Innovison’s smallest model, the 515 Active, is a surprising package: a small boat that feels much bigger inside, with big boat ride and handling characteristics to match.
Innovision Boats’ owner, Simon Minoprio, is passionate about his designs and like the rest of the Innovision range of semi-custom aluminium trailer boats, the 515 Active stands out from the crowd. With a distinctive plumb bow, its waterline length is longer than some 6m vessels, which in part explains why it behaves like a bigger boat on the water.
The 515 Active’s hull is also at its widest at the chines, rather than at the gunwales, which improves stability at rest, optimises floor space inside the boat and ensures excellent toe-room – important attributes in a walkaround centre-console boat designed primarily for inshore sport fishing.
Viewed from above, the 515’s hull is roughly wedge-shaped at the waterline. Its widest beam is at the transom where the hull has a 17-degree deadrise, curving inwards towards the bow with the deadrise angle becoming progressively steeper. The model’s rising sheer means the gunwales offer mid-thigh support around the raised casting deck, as well as in the cockpit further aft.
Relatively wide chines come into play when the boat is at rest and contribute to a dry ride underway. A single strake either side of the hull provides some lift, reduces chine slap and helps prevent broaching, explains Minoprio. Innovision boats have a reputation for excellent handling in rough conditions and the 515 is no exception.
The hull is designed to work rather like a pontoon boat’s does, says Minoprio: “It offers more stability than the average plate boat and a better ride, too.”
The pontoon boat analogy extends to the sealed box-section gunwales that run right around the boat like a life-ring. These offer an unprecedented level of buoyancy for a conventional monohull, not only under the floor, but deployed high up to prevent roll-over should the boat be swamped.
The vessel’s through-coaming rod holders (four) are sealed to maintain the life ring’s integrity, as is the row of four rod holders across the bow just aft of the Maxwell capstan. The anchor is stored on the bowsprit fairlead and access to the anchor locker is via a hatch under the foredeck.
This 515 is the first of this model with a centre-console layout and as such is something of a prototype. Minoprio has already made a few small changes to the next boat, a promotional vessel for a fishing tackle developer, importer and wholesaler Ocean Angler. Ocean Angler’s boat will be virtually identical to this one except for a couple of minor improvements.
The most notable is repositioning the centre console a few centimetres further forward. This will provide a little more space in the cockpit behind the seat, while slightly reducing the size of the raised casting deck. Shifting the weight of the console towards the bow will also allow a little more useable engine trim range.
Other modifications to the next 515 Active include better access to the storage area underneath the console, which is a little tight, and angling the consoles’s sides so they are roughly parallel with the gunwales, making passage past it easier.
The review boat’s layout is simple and uncluttered with a very workable transom station including a bait table with rod holders, a useful tackle drawer underneath and the batteries, isolation switches and integrated ACR auto-charge relay protected inside the transom locker.
Washdown and bait pumps, fuel filter and the pull-out bilge pump in the sump are protected by a removeable cover under the transom locker at floor level. Any water on deck drains to the sump and the washdown hose plugs in on the starboard side.
The live bait tank is on the port side at floor level underneath the step-through to a wide swim platform and boarding ladder; there’s another step-through on the starboard side. Drop-in transom doors are optional.
The cockpit sole is plain, easy-clean chequerplate aluminium. Inside the boat, aluminium surfaces are Nyalic coated, but the boat’s sides are painted in white using an Awlgrip two-pot formula, which looks great. Useful side pockets will take dive bottles and the coamings and gunwales, as well as the step-throughs and transom, are covered in hard-wearing textured non-slip material. At night, floor level LED lighting illuminates the cockpit.
The 515 boasts a wide console with a tall, wrap-around tinted acrylic windscreen that provides good protection for two people. There’s seating against the front of the console and behind it the padded helm seat hinges to reveal a carpet-lined utility tray. There’s space for a 90-litre Icey-Tek chilly bin underneath – pulling it part-way out creates an additional, aft-facing seat. Subsequent boats will have a lightly smaller 75-litre chilly bin and a deeper storage tray.
The console fascia is covered in carbon-look vinyl. There’s enough surface area to flush-mount large-screen displays, but Minoprio has opted for a pair of modest seven-inch Raymarine Axiom units that also display engine data. The Raymarine fish-finder module connects to a transom-mounted RealVision 4:1 transducer.
On this boat Minoprio has dispensed with Yamaha engine gauges and/or Yamaha digital display, for a cleaner-looking dashboard. As well as the wheel and throttle and shift controls, the console also accommodates a VHF radio, switch panel, Fusion stereo (speakers mounted at the bottom of the console), plus twin bilge pump and anchor switches. Steering and controls are Ultraflex Mach 0, and in an unusual touch the starter key is fitted sideways so it tucks in neatly under the steering wheel.
The helm position is pretty good, offering a centre-console’s excellent all-round vision and good wind protection. The seat provides decent support when standing up to drive and is high enough to ensure good vision through the windscreen when sitting down. Passenger handholds are well enough positioned.
Innovision Boats has fitted this boat with a Yamaha F90LB outboard. This 90hp four-stroke is a relatively large capacity engine that shares its block with its 115hp and 130hp siblings. The boat is specified for outboards of between 90 and 130hp.
The Yamaha is swinging a large diameter, 16-inch pitch propeller. With this set-up and three adults aboard, we saw a maximum speed of 29 knots at 5,600rpm. Playing around with propeller options would probably squeeze a bit more speed from the Yamaha, but as equipped, propeller slip is minimal, acceleration is good, and economy is excellent.
We did note there wasn’t a lot of trim to play with before the propeller sucked a bit of air, which was also evident in sharp turns. The engine needed to be trimmed in tight to avoid this. Minoprio is considering dropping the engine by a hole to give bit more trim adjustment.
Fortunately, with its long waterline and plumb bow profile, the Innovision 515 is at its best running level, which is the Active’s natural attitude. Once the speed builds, the boat flattens out and it seems to ride better the faster it goes.
And the ride really is good, belying the vessel’s modest dimensions and moderate 17° deadrise at the transom – it’s much deeper at the bow. The ride into a head sea is especially good, but there is very little chine slap on any angle of attack and no tendency to squirm or broach in a following sea. Minoprio puts this down to the chines, which offer what he calls “hydrodynamic targeted lift” for a safe, stable ride in all conditions, as well as stability at rest.
Built with 5mm bottom plates, a solid keel bar, stringers, frames, four full-length longitudinal girders and a full-length keel doubler, the boat is stiff and solidly put together. Topsides, superstructure and decks are 4mm aluminium plate and the sealed box-section life ring around the gunwale adds another element of strength, as well as buoyancy.
In fishing mode, the boat works equally well, with room for two to cast from the bow without getting in each other’s way, while two more fish from the cockpit at the same time. Stacking three people along one side induces only a slight list and movement from bow to stern is reasonably unobstructed by the console. It will be even better when the console sides are angled inwards.
This is a boat you could drift-fish from with the whole crew lined up along one side from bow to stern, making it ideal for soft bait and jig fishing.
Innovision Boats supplies its own custom trailers, in this case an unbraked single-axle aluminium model with alloy wheels and skids. Minoprio favours skids over rollers, claiming his boats are better supported. High molecular weight plastic is used for the skids and submersible LED lights are fitted./>