Innovision 808 Explorer review

By: Norman Holtzhausen

Innovision 808 Explorer review Innovision 808 Explorer review
Innovision 808 Explorer review Innovision 808 Explorer review
Innovision 808 Explorer review Innovision 808 Explorer review
Innovision 808 Explorer review Innovision 808 Explorer review
Innovision 808 Explorer review Innovision 808 Explorer review

The plumb bow of the Innovision 808 Explorer gives it a radical look, but science shows the hydrodynamic advantages in terms of seakeeping and a smoother ride. We tested the boat in 20kt wind and a rising sea.

The axe or plumb bow concept has been around ever since ships were propelled by steam, but, with a few exceptions, this design has not been seen on smaller recreational craft. Emerging designs in Europe have demonstrated the practical benefits of this concept, now Simon Minoprio of Innovision boats has introduced this styling to New Zealand.

The science around this concept is pretty strong, with the super fine entry providing the ability to cut through waves rather than lifting over them. This has been shown to produce a 40 per cent reduction in vertical movement of the bow, translating into a dramatically smoother ride. The bow penetrates rather than pitches, so a higher freeboard is required in the bow area and the Explorer consequently has a raised sheerline. The sharp bow also reduces broaching in a following sea since it does not self-steer down waves but holds its line well.


By sheer coincidence, we tested the Innovision 808 Explorer immediately after an identical sized boat (8.25m length, 2.7m beam) with a conventional flared bow design. The conditions on the day were ideal for testing, with 20kt winds and a rising sea, although that made it more challenging to get good photos.

We pushed the Explorer hard and achieved a top speed of 33kt. The boat felt completely safe at this pace, even when we went directly into the big swell which had developed. In comparison we were not able to get to this speed on the other vessel and when we neared 30kt it became noticeably uncomfortable.

There was a definite reduction in bow lifting when going through waves compared to that other boat, as well as less pitch and a considerably smoother ride. When we turned around to a following sea from our stern quarter, we also noticed a lack of broaching motion, with the boat holding its line better than any vessel I’ve ever tested.

Another eye-opener was the ability to turn the Innovision into hard turns at high speed despite the conditions. We had to hold on tight but it held its line perfectly and smoothly. On the other hand, on a calm sea the boat lifts well onto the plane and the axe bow does not come into play, resulting in a similar ride to conventional hulls.

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The hull features reverse chines, which provide great lateral stability while under way. There were five big blokes on board and we could move around at will regardless of the speed we were travelling. At the end of the review we got everyone to stand on the same side of the boat and the entire hull leaned over so little as to be almost imperceptible. Someone standing on the boarding platform on the same side would not even get their feet wet.


This vessel was finished off by the owner as an unfussy fishing boat and the cockpit interior was not to the usual high standards of Innovision. Nevertheless, the overall construction quality was excellent and the exterior and boarding platform were finished off beautifully. The custom paint job was also eye-catching, with maroon cabin sides and bright graphics. Minoprio does not normally fit windscreen wipers to his boats, but the windows had been treated with Rainex which effectively dealt with the intermittent rain.


The forward cabin is fully lined with plush grey squabs and carpet. The infill turns this into a generous double berth, with a possibility for installing a plumbed toilet under the forward squab. Although not intended as an overnighter it would be comfortable enough for the occasional sleep out.


Given the intended use as the ultimate fishing machine, only two seats have been fitted, both on rigid pods with reversible seatbacks. These enable the seats to be used either facing forward or back. Minoprio says other seating configurations are available to suit the purchaser’s preference.

The dash is dominated by a big Simrad NSS12 touchscreen multifunction display, doing double duty as chartplotter and fishfinder.

A single Yamaha Command Link digital gauge provides all the data on the outboard, although with NMEA2000 connectivity this can also be overlaid onto the Simrad screen.

Steering is, of course, a hydraulic unit with a stainless steel steering wheel. This has a Brodie knob fitted, also known as a spinner knob, enabling the wheel to be spun around quickly with one hand. This works fantastically well and anyone who has ever used one of these while close manoeuvring will wonder why they are not standard on all boats.

The throttle control is the Yamaha Command Link digital shift unit and combined with the Yahama Shift Dampener system on the prop, ensure there is clunk-free shifting in and out of gear. Given the lack of passenger seats it was pleasing to see handholds all over the edges of the cabin top and sides, ensuring everyone can hold on securely.


The main feature of the boat is the massive open cockpit, perfect for half a dozen or more anglers all actively fishing. A simple chequerplate deck was chosen for ease of maintenance, and two long parcel shelves run down either side gunwale. An incredible six rod holders are installed on each gunwale, with four more on the boatboard and seven on the rocket launcher, providing a total capacity of 23 fishing rods.

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Gary Northcott, the owner of this boat, added his own touch to the build with a self-cleaning baitboard. A high-pressure saltwater pump sprays water along the leading edge of the wide boatboard, rinsing away blood and muck at the touch of a switch. The water volume is also adjustable, and when filleting the catch a small trickle can be used to clean up as you go.

The boarding platform is extra-wide, and extends out almost midway down either side of the outboard cowling. This provides a massive area to stand on when fishing, while a T-style boarding ladder is perfect for divers or swimmers climbing back on board the boat. A livebait tank is fitted into the port transom and there is no step-through.


The big V6 Yamaha has plenty of power and, although the four-blade stainless prop fitted was known to have slight damage to one of the blades, we reached just over 34kt. There should be room for a few more knots when the damaged prop is replaced.

Fuel consumption was reasonable for this size boat and the underfloor 300L fuel tank provides a useful 140 nautical mile range at cruising speeds of between 18 and 24kt. As is usual for planing hulls, the consumption curve is almost flat within this range, so the consumption per nautical mile at 24kt is almost exactly the same as what it is at 18kt.


Innovision make its own aluminium trailers to ensure adequate support for the fine-entry bow profile. Rather than rollers, the custom trailer uses skid pads to hold the boat precisely and smoothly. The trailer was also specifically designed to enable surf beach launching. The 808 Explorer has a trailerable weight of 2850kg, hence the tandem-axle trailer is electrically braked.


  • Probably the smoothest-riding trailerboat on the market
  • Fantastic cockpit space
  • The Brodie knob on the steering wheel


  • The lack of a transom step-through
  • The cockpit was finished by the owner and is a bit rough

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