There is no doubt about it, since the management buyout at Mustang Marine, the Gold Coast factory is steaming ahead.
The acquisition of the New Zealand-based Oliver brand has given Mustang access to new technology that has been incorporated very quickly with the introduction late last year of a new flybridge range.
The introduction of the M37 and M43, soon to be followed by the M41 and M55 later in the year, was a clever move.
Now present Mustang owners, and other owners, have the option of stepping up from a sports cruiser to a boat with the extra room and cruising capabilities of a flybridge at a competitive price.
Mustang describes the M43 as a hybrid of luxury and function. The cabin and accommodation boasts a contemporary interior cabin design with satin finish Nyotakh timber and European-style leather lounges.
Belly of the beast
The galley with a vinyl timber-look floor is aft with access to the cockpit through a sliding window, which opens it up nicely. The timber-look vinyls available on the market today are so much more durable than real timber floors and much easier to look after. The bench tops are Corian, there’s a microwave, a two-burner stove, and a dishwasher comes standard. The cooks will love the deep draws for pots and pans as well. Opposite are a full panel fridge-freezer and a small bar.
There is plenty of room for a family or guests to relax in the cabin with a U-shaped dinette on one side and an L-shaped lounge on the other. A pull out section forms a double bed.
The cabin is very light and airy with a full windscreen and big side windows that open it up and make it easy to look out and enjoy the scenery. The windows are tinted, with slightly more tint on the side windows than the windscreen.
Room at the inn
The accommodation features an owner’s cabin up front equipped with two, lined, hanging lockers with mirrors.
The second cabin has two single bunks with a pull out section that also forms a double bed. The bathroom is also well presented with a glass shower door and a glass washbowl.
Mustang markets the M43 with a fishing package, but the cockpit is halfway there already. The cockpit includes toe kicks for fishing in the bottom of the transom as well as the side coamings. There’s a couple of tackle boxes hidden in the steps up to the sidedecks, a full-length rod locker, bait tanks, large lazarette storage area and an integrated swim platform.
If you want to get serious, there’s an aluminium reinforcement plate for a game chair built into the cockpit floor.
Like all flybridge boats, most of the time cruising will be spent up top. The access is easy up a curved stainless steel ladder. The layout is fairly standard with the helm station set back as a concession to the fishing fraternity.
The dash has a simple layout for gauges and electronics with two Reelax chairs and enough room for a companion to move easily behind the driver to get to the outboard seat.
Mustang have also thought of the driver when docking the boat and have inserted clears in the corners of the canopy over the cockpit so the corners of the boat can be seen, a great idea.
The flybridge comes with the optional hardtop that can be enclosed with Strataglass clears if the weather gets unpleasant. The sea-keeping capabilities of the Oliver hulls are well known. The deep-vee bow with a centre keel and reverse chines finishes in a variable deadrise transom. And one thing I did notice there was no spray dragged in over the back of the transom when underway.
Standard engines are Cummins QSC 490s, the test boat was fitted with optional QSC 540s, which added another 15-grand to the base price. Mustang has fitted underwater exhausts and they have got it right. The boat is very quiet underway, there’s no vibration and the backpressure is under the limits Cummins will accept for the installation.
The vessel’s power comes on smoothly and at 1500rpm there’s the distinctive sound of the turbochargers cutting in.
The twin 540s felt just right for the boat and it didn’t need any more horsepower. She’s at home cruising at around 23 to 24 knots and the motion was very comfortable. Even in a turn at this speed I found that I could stand on the flybridge without hanging onto the overhead handhold and not feel that I could touch the water.
The trim tabs are transom mounted but they were not needed in a normal cruise. They would come in handy though in a swell outside in the open sea or with a crosswind. Given free rein the boat recorded 31 knots on the GPS. And remembering that this was a brand new boat and the first out of the mould, there was still a little tweaking to do.
If the orders Mustang Marine have already received from dealers in the United States, New Zealand and around Australia are any indication, this local builder has read the market well.
The base model Mustang M43 retails at $640,000. The test boat with a stack of options would cost $740,000.
WORDS : KEVAN WOLFE