Boat Review Date: January 2010
Author: Mike Brown
At a time when other Australian builders’ sales were faltering Mustang actually increased sales. The model that led the way for them was the Flybridge 43, and its very successful hull underpins Mustang’s latest model, the 430 Sports Coupe.
The sports coupe layout, as interpreted by Mustang, is effectively something like a hardtop sports cruiser with a greatly improved saloon. A key ingredient that makes it so is the clever connection between saloon and cockpit: when the double glass doors are slid to one side, and the pillarless window on the other side is electrically lowered, there is very little dividing the two spaces.
As a bonus the window is at the after end of the galley, allowing dishes to be passed through onto the top of the cockpit fridge-freezer; so much more convenient than having the galley in the boat’s bowels where sports cruisers tend to put it. The versatile window also allows the saloon’s flat screen TV to swivel out for the benefit of people who would rather watch it from the cockpit.
The cockpit is big enough to allow a lot more than just sitting in it, although it is also well geared up for the sedentary life style. A settee – it could probably take six people - takes up most of the transom width, and a table can be dropped in front of it for al fresco meals. To avoid the need for going indoors for drinks and accessories, the fridge has the assistance of a separate icemaker. In a thoughtful moment the designer used part of the under-settee space to install sockets for the fenders – an excellent location for these awkward items.
And the galley has the assistance of an electric barbecue. This is within the transom and is worked from the vast swim platform. The platform itself is power operated and capable of lowering up to 1m to scoop up the tender.
The settee and almost the entire cockpit deck (timber sheathed like all the other decks) is power lifted to give superb access to the engine room, although for routine checks there is also access through a day hatch from the platform. It is a roomy compartment, with enough space left over for serious cruising owners to install a water maker.
There is a welcome trend back to giving decent foredeck access from the cockpit, and the 430 is a part of it. Stairs lead up to the side decks, which are wide enough for the job, and coachroof grab rails as well as side rails make the journey easy and safe. Once there, sun lovers have not only a sun pad but also drink holders and a separate stereo system. More practically, there is a wash down system in a choice of fresh and salt water, a power windlass, and a remote spotlight.
Even the saloon has its share of the outdoors, with a powered clear roof hatch that has a blind for sun control. Also up in the roof is a pair of grab rails. For the sake, probably, of décor these are rare beasts, but they are very welcome on a practical boat.
Housing the sole driving station, the saloon could easily have been a cluttered space but seems to have been deliberately laid out to avoid that. A leather settee takes up most of the port side, with a table in front of it that unfolds for serious meals, and the two seats at the wheel and the galley account for the starboard. The galley was designed by a gourmet and is replete with dish washer, ice maker and an amazing athwartships cupboard that rolls out at the touch of a button.
Below decks the 430 offers the choice of two cabins with one or two bathrooms or three cabins with two bathrooms. The review boat went for two and one, with the advantage that the single bathroom is very large. The second cabin is bigger than most too, allowing the lower of the double-decker beds to convert into a double. All this accommodation is ahead of the saloon, so there is full headroom throughout and the saloon deck is on one level.
Mustang was among the first Australian builders to offer the Volvo IPS propulsion system as an option; on the 430 Sports Coupe it is standard, linked to a pair of D6 Volvos rated at 435hp each. The system offers joystick control at manoeuvring speeds for complete mastery of rotation, forwards, backwards and sideways movements.
The system, which drives through contra-rotating propellers mounted, facing forwards on legs, also has efficiency advantages. The makers claim better than a 30 percent improvement over conventional drive, and our results did nothing to disprove that. For a combined 870hp pushing a boat with a light displacement of 15T, 32.5 knots flat out is excellent, as is the 70L per hour consumption at 18 knots.
Driving is pleasant as well as simple, giving a feeling of infinite control. The trim tabs, for instance, give a huge range of up and down for the bow with no apparent increase in drag.
In a bonus for the coupe layout the cruising grounds for the 430 are a little more extensive than for a flybridge: the 3m air draught means it can pass under the Causeway, so lunch in East Perth is a possibility.
Price from $850,371 (ex factory)
Price as reviewed $993,135 (all inclusive)
Length overall 14.98m
Hull length 13.40m
Fuel capacity 1900L
Fresh water 670L
Motors 2 x Volvo D6 IPS 600 @ 435hp ea