Written by: Modern Boating
After some hard times and some new blood, this resilient Aussie company trots out a new breed of flybridge boats.
The dry riding hull and cockpit awnings are pluses but there is a small downside of a single helm seat – although some drivers prefer this.
It’s full steam ahead at Mustang Marine on the Gold Coast. The new owners are firmly in place and there is a new management structure headed by Chris Heaton. Heaton was the former owner of Oliver Marine in New Zealand, which was acquired by Mustang in 2006.
Mustang has used Oliver hulls as the base for their flybridge range, which includes the new M37. The M37 is the first in the new Sports Flybridge stable and represents a new generation of Mustang Sports Flybridges. Mustang appear to be on a winner with the new concept – the test boat was already hull number four.
The proven Oliver 390 hull remains, but the interior and flybridge have been redesigned to give the boat a very modern, sleek look. Some of the cabin space has been sacrificed for the cockpit, which is bigger than most boats the same size. It becomes a very workable fishing platform with toe kicks on three sides, a deck wash, bait tanks, pop-up mooring cleats in the gunwales, enclosed rope lockers either side and a lockable rod storage locker. Clip in the optional carpet and the cockpit becomes a social area under the extended awning.
The aft galley is also handy to the cockpit on one side and the dinette on the other and the big panoramic windows open the whole area up. The galley floor is a synthetic timber-look vinyl, which is used in many Gold Coast apartments. It looks good, is hard-wearing and is easier to look after than traditional teak and holly.
The accommodation area is compact with an owner’s double berth up front and a second cabin with bunks. However, the bathroom is bigger than usual with a separate shower stall. It needs to be remembered that this is only a 37-footer, although the boat gives the impression it’s bigger.
It is not a boat for long distance cruising and would be better suited to a pair with a couple of kids or friends, for a weekend away. Most of the time would be spent in the cockpit or up on the flybridge.
The ladder up to the flybridge is curved with teak steps and is easy to climb. The helm station is set aft with one driver’s seat. There isn’t room for a second one, but there is a lounge in front of the helm and another on the side. The fridge is mounted in the side of the console.
This boat had the optional hardtop with Strataglass clears, which cost about another $18,000, but are well worth the investment.
The driver has a good view of the corners of the boat for docking and Mustang has included clear inserts in the cockpit awning for a better view. It’s a good idea. Mustang are about the only manufacturers who include them in their awnings and it’s surprising other manufacturers don’t. The safety hatch over the companionway is also clear and takes a little getting used to when it’s closed.
The boat was fitted with the standard twin Cummins QSB 330 electronic engines, which push out 660hp each. With the engines come electronic controls and the Smartcraft engine monitoring readouts. The boat came with the Raymarine electronic option that includes GPS/ sounder and autopilot. There is another option, which includes radar and another two Furuno electronic options – take your pick. A bowthruster was included but with the electronic controls it’s not really needed.
The day of the test was pretty ordinary. Although the rain had stopped on the Gold Coast, the wind was still gusting in from the south at around 30 knots and there was a nasty, confused chop on the Broadwater, especially near Sovereign Island where the backwash from the seawall meets the tidal flow and throws up some very unsociable conditions.
The boat handled it well – surprisingly well. We were carrying a full load of fuel and water, which tended to drop the stern a little and required the use of the QL trim tabs to push the bow down in the chop. And the wind didn’t help either. The boat was very responsive to the trim and was soon running flat and tracking straight with hands off the wheel. Even at full song around 27 knots the boat was dry in the conditions and drove very easily. A little propeller tweaking would probably get a few more knots out of it, though.
Best cruising speed was around 21 knots and 2350rpm where the QSBs were using 50lts an hour per side. Despite the Mustang M37 being a very good fishing boat — and there is an option fishing package for the boat — Mustang are now moving away from that image with their flybridges and targeting the luxury cruising market.
The solid hull colour is also optional and you can have it in any colour — as long as it’s navy or silver.
A 56-foot flybridge version with IPS will be released later this year.
The boat was fitted with standard Cummins QSB 330, 660hp engines. Optional upgrades include Cummins QSB 355 and Volvo Penta D6.
RPM – Knots
1000 : 6
2350 : 21
2500 : 23.5
2750 : 27.1
LOA : 12.63m
Beam : 4.1m
Draft : 1.1m
Weight : 11 tonne (dry)
Fuel : 1100L
Water capacity: 420 ltr
Sleeps: up to 8
Price : Base $475,000