- The heads is the most impressive aspect of the boat’s accommodation, and for many this will be a key point.
- Its keen price tag makes it a realistic competitor in a sector of the market where American boats have a big stake.
- Cockpit space is the focal point of the boat’s accommodation, which is not that surprising considering this boat was built for a sunny climate.
Greg Copp reports on a popular family cruiser with sports cruiser credentials …
If you are not familiar with this brand, you could be forgiven for thinking that with a name like Mustang it hails from across the pond. Actually, it hails from across the globe – Australia to be precise – but like all its siblings is distinctly American in appearance. It is easy to mistake a Mustang 2800 C for a Sea Ray 270 Sundancer, and like the Sundancer the Mustang is a no-frills solid boat, built at a price that will entice many to make that first step into boating.
The Mustang 2800 C is the most popular Mustang to reach the UK. Its keen price tag makes it a realistic competitor in a sector of the market where American boats have a big stake. The larger Mustangs are faced with a market dominated by the European yards, whose boats are closely focused on European tastes, so we tend to see few big Mustangs in the northern hemisphere.
The 2800 C, by all accounts, is a good family cruiser whose deep-vee hull provides a softer ride than many of the 2.7-tonne sports cruisers on the market. The construction is solid and certainly on a par with the likes of Sea Ray, if not slightly better. These boats do have a small following in the UK, and though I have never driven one, I was reliably informed by an enthusiastic Mustang skipper that his boat’s credentials in rough weather certainly exceed his family’s abilities to take it out. He had previously owned a Maxum, which he said was not on a par with his 2800 C in terms of build quality and ride.
One thing he did point out was that trim tabs are a must in a strong beam sea with this craft. His boat had the most powerful petrol engine option, a 320hp 5.7L GXi Volvo on an SX sterndrive, which could hit 40 knots with a clean bottom. He reckoned he got around 2.5mpg at ‘family cruising speeds’ in the mid-20s, but when out on his own he found it easy to crank up the thirst. However, most were fitted with 270hp 5.7L Gi Volvo petrol engines, simply because of the lower cost, and most people were happy with the 34 knots that these engines pushed the boat to. At a like-for-like cruising speed, the lower-powered 270hp petrol engine will produce similar fuel consumption to the 320hp engine.
However, as the 2800 C became more established in the UK, the diesel-powered 260hp 3.7L Volvo D4 on a duo-prop DPH sterndrive became an option. Going diesel naturally has a premium, and used Mustangs with a D4 like the one featured here hold their value well. It was a perfect match for the boat with a similar torque output – albeit lower down the power spectrum – to a big-block 7.4/8.2L petrol engine. The result was a quick and economical boat that got close to 40 knots. Although the D4 has a slightly longer footprint than a 5.7L petrol engine, there is still plenty of space in the engine bay with a D4 fitted – more than enough to get in and do pre-passage checks and servicing. In terms of economy, a 260hp Volvo D4 driving a 2.7-tonne boat uses little fuel in boating terms, so you can expect around 4mpg at speeds of between 25 and 28 knots.
Cockpit space is the focal point of the boat’s accommodation, which is not that surprising considering this boat was built for a sunny climate. It makes it ideal for water sports, especially as the bathing platform is bigger than what you usually find on a 28ft sport cruiser. The wet-bar arrangement on the boat featured here only has a sink for comfort, as the locker beneath houses circuit breakers and battery isolation switches. If you want additional cool box storage to the fridge in the main cabin, you will have to invest in a portable one.
The accommodation below is the usual U-shaped convertible dinette, compact galley, heads and mid cabin. The downside of having plenty of cockpit space is that this area pays for it. The dinette area is fairly small, and although four can squeeze around it, inevitably it gets little use. Couples will gravitate towards sleeping in the mid cabin, which, to be fair, is up to the task unless you are over 6ft 6in tall. There is a recess in the deck next to the galley providing full standing headroom – a simple solution to a problem that plagues many boats of this size, and avoids having to crane your neck when boiling the kettle or knocking out bacon butties. The heads is the most impressive aspect of the boat’s accommodation, and for many this will be a key point.
Points to Consider
This boat has the highly desirable 260hp Volvo D6 on a DPH sterndrive – a reliable and fuel-efficient engine – which provides very exciting performance. Naturally there is a premium for this, so expect to pay up to £10,000 less for a boat with a 270hp Volvo 5.7L petrol engine. There are quite a few Mustangs with 320hp Volvo 5.7L petrol engines; however, the petrol boats are thin on the ground in the UK (especially the 320hp version), although they do represent good value for money. A petrol boat, while being more expensive to run than its diesel counterpart, has a price saving that buys a lot of fuel.
Ten years is a long time for a cockpit cover that has to suffer changeable UK weather conditions, so take a close look in this area.
Boats with the desirable blue-hull option, like many such craft, can be prone to hull fade if not regularly waxed. Factor in the cost of a cut and polish if things are looking a bit chalky below the rubbing strake.
Hull type: Deep-vee
Transom deadrise angle: 20 degrees
Length overall: 28ft 0in (8.8m)
Beam: 8ft 8in (2.59m)
Draught: 3ft 0in (0.9m)
Displacement: 2750kg (dry)
Fuel capacity: 70 gallons (310 litres)
Water capacity: 33 gallons (150 litres)
Cruising range: With 260hp Volvo D6 diesel engine – expect 230 miles with a 20% reserve at 25 knots
Current value: £30,000 plus