In summation, while it's a bit of a cliche this was one of the biggest small boats the team has had the pleasure to test.
Issue: March 2003
Mustang's 2200 Club Sport is the smallest model in a line of three boats, 22', 24' and 26 footers, which share a common layout. By utilising a sterndrive power unit, tucked away underneath a high set upper deck, the three boats are able to extend their living area all the way to the transom. Even onto a boarding platform across the transom above the sterndrive leg.
It's a brilliant concept that uses all of the boat's length and gives the Mustang Club Sport boats an exceptional amount of living area compared to other boats of similar size.
But the three are so similar in appearance that you have to look closely to determine, which one of them you're looking at from any distance. If possible, prospective buyers would be well advised to opt for the largest boat in the trio if the budget allows. But bigger isn't necessarily better and many factors influence the buying decisions besides money.
Things like storage space, transportation and manageability can, and do for some, have enough significance to sway a choice one way or another.
Whether a family, or small group of friends, could actually be comfortable onboard the 22 foot boat overnight, or for a night or two for that matter, is a question the Modern Boating team pondered at some length after testing the original 2200 Club Sport. After due thought we concluded they could, as long as individuals were happy to accept the inevitably confined amount of space available onboard considering at only 22' it's a fairly small boat for such endeavours.
That the 2200 Club Sport achieved this at all was, and still is, remarkable in itself. Our opinion was reinforced during this test of the updated and somewhat rearranged version. For photographic purposes we 'borrowed' a friend (thanks Tina) and her small daughter (Reece) as models for the day and Mustang's Production Manager Jamie Nelson stood in as our notional male. Add in Modern Boating's happy snapper, come boat tester, Steptoe and that adds up to three adults plus a child who managed to complete the photo shoot in some pretty threatening weather without falling over each other.
Readers might note that some of our accompanying pics show the 2200 Club Sport with her full set of weather curtains clipped in place beneath the canopy. That was because there was an approaching squall. It was an interesting adjunct to a boat test to actually have to weather the kind of conditions a boating family out for a day can expect to encounter sometimes. We've gone on at some length about it, because the Mustang literally shrugged it off.
It was what you might call a real test and all of it only reinforced the opinion we'd previously formed about the success of this boat's layout and how well it works in a 'living' situation. For those who may have missed our initial test on this boat it's worth quickly running over how it works. We've already mentioned the sterndrive power unit and that an upper deck is carried above that. The engine box effectively disappears into the aft lounge/dinette. What this means is that not only is there a spacious lounge area, which includes extra living area beside a open helm station upstairs, but that a double bunk can be fitted underneath the helm area aft of the galley and bathroom and forward of the engine bay.
In this smallest of the Club Sport range, the bunk under what nautical types would rightly call the bridge deck is to be completely honest, a little cramped. We doubt that kids would find it so and suspect that our theoretical couple with two kids wishing to spend weekends aboard would opt to sleep on the convertible bow dinette themselves and send the kids with sleeping bags and pillows to play cubbies on the double bunk.
The major change to this updated model 2200 Club Sport is that Mustang swapped the galley and the bathroom around. Now the galley is to port as you enter the cabin and the head/shower to starboard behind the helm. Compared to the previous model the gain in cabin space this achieves is considerable.
Headroom over the dinette is low as you slide forward, which is the price you have to pay for the low-slung good looks. A 'Dockside Pack' offered by Mustang includes a pressurised freshwater sink in the galley, a 49lt bar fridge and an 18lt microwave powered by a 240v inverter.
Our test boat had been fitted out to a fairly basic specification and didn't include a shower in the head, or the hot water system many Club Sport buyers option in. Operating from the motor via a heat exchanger these supply hot water (while the motor is running,) to the limits of the boat's 150lt water tank.
A handheld shower set into a compartment in the transom door and a sink unit beside the lounge are standard fitment. An electric toilet is an option in place of the portable unit in our test boat. 27mHz and VHF radios are also optional. Standard equipment items include an AM/FM/CD player stereo system with speakers both in the cabin and upstairs living area and digital depth readout among the instrumentation on the wood-grain dashboard.
Electric hydraulic trim tabs, a folding boarding ladder and a Muir VR500 electric anchor winch are also supplied as standard fitments.
In view of this boat's amenity as a mini cruiser come weekender, perhaps the most indicative standard fitment is the canopy, which extends right over the upper deck living area. This and the fully enclosing side curtains come standard we definitely appreciated them during our test.
Another option Jamie told us about 40 per cent of 2200 Club Sport buyers take up is a trailer. When loaded with fuel and water, this boat and a trailer amounts to the best part of 3 tonnes all up weight, which means at least a light truck or large 4WD is needed as a tow vehicle.
Apparently quite a few people do just that, a fair proportion of them headed for points north up around the Whitsundays way. The delights to be had from spending a few days in the Whitsundays in your 2200 Club Sport sums this boat up.
In summation, while it's a bit of a cliche this was one of the biggest small boats the team has had the pleasure to test. Its layout creates enough room below decks to make her habitable and her stylish good looks border on stunning. This is one boat I would proudly park on my front lawn. Price as tested approximately $69,990.00.
Our test boat was fitted with a 4.3lt V6 MPI MerCruiser driving through an Alpha I leg. Fitted with a 20" pitch aluminium propeller this 220hp (at the propeller) motor matched the hull nicely. It planed easily and cruised along effortlessly around 3500rpm and 25 knots. Top speed approached 40 knots with the load we had aboard under the conditions you can see for yourself in the photos.
Unfortunately, we were unable to record the accurate figures we like to include in boat tests, because of that. Mustang told us that 2200 Club Sports powered by the 4.3lt MPI V6 usually top out at over 40 knots during sea trials, depending on load, propeller choice and of course, as we found out, weather conditions.
Talking with Mustang's David Hancock and Jamie Nelson afterward, they said that quite a few 2200 Club Sport clients opt for a V8 5lt MPI MerCruiser motor. This motor provides 260hp at the prop and adds what Jamie termed, 'a little spice' to the boat's performance. According to Jamie, one client spent some time experimenting with propellers and didn't quite manage a 50 mph top speed.
'We gave the 50mph a real hard nudge, which isn't bad considering the extra weight of all the options he'd fitted,' he said.
Story by Warren Steptoe