The new Mustang 43 is unquestionably a game changer for the brand and has elevated it into a whole new level of sophistication and build quality.
Mustang is a name that has been part of the Australian boating business for decades and whilst it has experienced its share of highs and lows under a variety of owners, it is currently, under new owner, Bill Barry Cotter & Maritimo, being injected with a whole new lease of life.
When Barry-Cotter bought what was left of an ailing Mustang Boat company he virtually scrapped all the moulds and got out a clean sheet of paper and started again. First to go were the flybridge models and a decision was made right from the start that from hence forth all Mustangs would be sedan sport cruisers.
The first to make an appearance in 2011 was the Mustang 32, followed by the Mustang 50, which was based on a Maritimo
With the third model, builders Maritimo didn’t just put another badge on an existing Maritimo hull, they asked the right questions first of dealers and Mustang owners. The result is a boat that Luke Durman, sales and marketing manager for Maritimo, says ticks all the boxes, be it performance and handling or layout and finish. After spending a morning cruising around the Broadwater I would have to agree with him. Mustang has a real winner with the 43, that I am certain will find great appeal both in the Australasian market as well as the US.
“We had a big gap between the M32 and the M50 and after our research felt that something around 40-43ft would be ideal”, said Luke.
Triple Power Options
The hull is all new, with a lot of similarities to the Mustang 32, being a very fuel efficient hull with a narrow beam on the chines and yet with the sides stepped out, there’s no real compromise of space internally or in the cockpit. Interestingly while the Mustang 43 is now available in three power train options, sterndrive, shaft drive or pod drive, it was originally designed as a sterndrive boat only.
Luke added, “The development projects we went through with the 43 were unprecedented in the company’s history and a lot of changes were made from the initial drawings, layout and final presentation to what you see now”.
“Part of that”, says Luke, “ was the ability to offer a hull that could accommodate the different drive options, which was something that our product development teams felt very strongly about”.
Because of this, the release date of the hull was delayed by many months as the R&D on the hull had to be stopped, while Barry-Cotter re-calculated the weight distribution and other parameters, and virtually had to redesign the hull. Interestingly however, of the four 43s sold so far, all but one has shafts and as yet no customer has opted for the pod option. My test boat was hull #2 and came with twin Cummins QSB5.9s through conventional shaft drives and ZF gearboxes
I was able give the Mustang 43 a good run around the shallow waters of The Broadwater and managed to get the GPS reading around 32.5 knots. When the boat was first launched, with 50% fuel and 100% water on the first sea trial, at WOT the speed was 33.6 knots.
I was impressed with the light and easy steering which makes the Mustang 43 such an effortless boat to drive. Toss it into hard tight turns at speed and the hull banks just as it should, without any adverse feeling through the helm.
From idle to full throttle, the 43 retains a low, flat attitude and if you work the tabs as you accelerate, the maximum 3400 rpm is reached very quickly. I didn’t get the opportunity to try the hull in a rough sea but the fine entry and wide chines make me think it would very comfortable in a sea. Best cruise in the calm waters was around 25 knots @ 2700 rpm or 63% of engine load. This returned fuel figures of around 100L/h (total for two engines). At 3400 rpm @ 32.7 knots fuel consumption was almost double that.
If you do opt for the pod drive or sterndrive options, the Mustang 43 will come with the exclusive Maritimo built-in stern buoyancy tanks. These are designed to keep the boat’s at-rest attitude the same as it is with shaft drives. This is standard in every pod drive boat that is built by Maritimo.
While the layout of the 43 has been tailored to cater for the Australian and New Zealand buyer, especially with the aft galley and huge cockpit, two of the first four boats were sold to the US, so it would seem the design may have more universal appeal than first thought.
The layout is both practical and functional, with the boat having the ability to be used as a fishing/diving boat, for family cruising or simply entertaining.
Interior-wise the 43 sets new standards for other boats in the Mustang range and also for those models yet to be released. “We really pushed the presentation and finish to another level and it’s something we will definitely maintain in all our models”, said Luke.
The attention to detail becomes even more obvious when you look at the ceiling panels, which are all run over compound curved surfaces and yet all the seams are perfectly straight, right from the cabin areas to the saloon. I also liked the fact that all the vinyl panels in the saloon and cabins are double stitched, much as you would find in a luxury car.
Being a production boat builder, Maritimo doesn’t offer a lot of options when it comes to layout, but there are a number of different soft furnishings and timbers you can choose from.
The main saloon area has three distinctive zones; galley, helm and dinette that harmoniously blend together with an overall layout that is functional and thanks to the David Stewart treatment, quite classy. High profile side windows, a full-width glass rear bulkhead with sliding doors and an overhead hatch allow natural light to pour in. Curtains and air conditioning help to maintain the required ambience.
I have always been a fan of aft galleys, especially those that blend easily into the cockpit. The Mustang 43 does it well with a simple but practical design. The L-shaped white Corian top counter features a deep stainless sink and four-burner ceramic hob, with a microwave and storage cupboards and drawers under. Opposite, to port is a full-size fridge/freezer with matching high gloss teak front panelling and a handy pantry alongside.
Forward of the galley is the entertainment area with a flat screen TV, all neatly hidden out of sight when not required.
A flip-top teak dining table means it doesn’t intrude into the busy traffic areas of the saloon until it is needed. Add a couple of loose chairs and you have dining space for 5-6 people. The L-shaped settee back panels can be removed for easy access to equipment areas such as the air conditioning unit.
The helm facia has been designed to accommodate two 12” display screens and still has plenty of space for all other necessary navigational and control displays and switches. A nice touch is the David Stewart custom designed Mustang helm wheel and the adjustable footrest bar. A sliding side window is an option and the double helm seat has drawer storage built into the base.
All accommodation is forward, with two cabins and one large bathroom. The forward cabin has a central island berth, with steps either side for ease of access and drawer storage under, as well as deep hanging lockers either side. Again, there is a nice mix of colour tonings between the soft furnishings and the timber panelling that gives the master cabin a very elegant and classy look.
The second cabin is such that it could be used as the master, as it also has a large double berth, but with the addition of a settee. Being under the saloon sole limits the headroom over the bed, but there is enough when sitting. Above the settee is a pullman bunk, so effectively the M43 offers dedicated accommodation for six.
Both cabins share the one head/shower compartment with walk in shower stall with seat and glass doors. The Corian bench top has a sunken bowl with storage in cupboards below and behind the vanity mirror.
The M43’s cockpit is very generous in size and has been designed for multiple uses, be it simply entertaining guests, partaking of evening cocktails or dropping a line over the side. Forward on the starboard side is an alfresco dining area with adjustable teak table, conveniently placed outside the counterweighted window from the galley. There is the option of another fridge/freezer to port or the space can be left for storage. There’s a central transom island with a plate freezer and electric barbecue, plus fresh water and storage beneath. Access to the full-width boarding platform is either side with moulded GRP doors for safety. An optional bimini provides extra cockpit shade should you require it.
There are twin hatches in the teak sole, with electric actuator rams for engine access and a 2m-long storage area, large enough for a small canoe or a deflated RIB. Obviously, the space layout changes between the rear engined pod or sterndrive and the forward mounted engines of the shaft drive. However, either way there is still copious storage available.
At under $A700,000 for the base boat, the Mustang 43 stacks up well against its competition. Price was always a consideration and so a lot of attention was paid in the R&D stages to make sure that when it got into production, the build process for the 43 was as efficient as possible.
“We were very conscious as to what the European and American boats of this style and size were selling for and we knew we had to be competitively priced if we wanted to play in this market”, said Luke.
For the moment, Mustang will be offering only three models, but don’t be surprised if others follow within the next few seasons. Four sales in the first month, especially into this still very hard market, speaks for itself and all indications are that the 43 is going to remain a good seller for the Mustang brand for some time to come.
- Boat Design Name: Mustang 43
- Year Launched: 2012
- Designer: Bill Barry Cotter
- Interior Designer: David Stewart
- Builder: Maritimo
- LOA: 13.45m
- LOH: 13.36m
- Beam: 4.09m
- Draft: 1.00m
- Displacement (dry): 12000 kg
- Max Speed: 33.6 knots
- Cruise Speed: 25.5 knots
- Construction: Solid GRP/balsa core
- Fuel Cap: 1500 litres
- Water Cap: 400 litres
- Engines Make: Cummins 480 QSB5.9
- Gearboxes: ZF 85A: 2.50:1
- Drive Train: Conventional Shaft
- Propellers: Teinbridge 27” x 32”
- Generator: Onan 11.5kVA
- Air Conditioning: Cruisair
- Bow Thruster: Quick
- Anchor Winch: Muir
- Steering: Maritimo
- Engine Controls: Mercury Marine
- Hatches: Bomar
- Windows: Alfab
- Heads: VacuFlush
- Woodwork: Gloss Teak
- Stainless Steel Fab: In House
- Saloon Doors: AlFab
- Trim Tabs: Lenco
- Upholstery: FabTex
- GPS/Plotter/Sounder: Simrad NSE
- VHF: Simrad RS10
- Software System: Simrad
- Switch Panels: BEP
- Base Price of Boat: $A688,000
- Price As Tested: $A710,000