A full-beam salon with bi-level windows makes the Meridian 408 Motoryacht ideal for living and entertaining on the water...
One of the first things I noticed as I stepped down into the main salon of the Meridian 408 Motoryacht was the comfortable, spacious layout. I sat down on one of the Flexsteel incliners to port, kicked off my deck shoes and raised the footrest. This aft cabin cruiser has two levels of windows, and the lower set is positioned at a height that enabled me to enjoy a view of the water while seated. In addition, the lower walls of the salon are pushed out to the sides of the hull, which is why this salon felt roomier than most.
The increase in floor space is dramatic, creating comfortable traffic patterns between the large, Mirage leather-covered furniture. Even when the expansive cherry top of the oversized high/low table is extended for entertaining and dining, the Meridian’s salon is positively huge. It’s true that the upper level of windows are set in to create an overhang on each side of the salon, but even that design element is advantageous. Each overhang doubles as a ceiling of sorts for interior lighting, and also creates space on the exterior for functional sidedecks.
The windows are all safety glass, lightly tinted and frameless; and they’re bonded with the hullsides to create a waterproof, uninterrupted view.
From where I was seated on the incliner to port, I could see the built-in entertainment center aft and to starboard; it includes a Sony flat-screen TV with VCR and a surround-sound Clarion stereo system with a five-disc CD-changer. Behind one of the cabinet doors, I found the AC/DC distribution panel, readily accessible yet beautifully camouflaged. The solid cherry furniture and bulkheads had just enough gloss to bring out the warmth of the wood grain throughout the salon.
Warm wood tones carry down the steps forward and into the galley. This nice touch speaks of home-style décor. The galley includes custom Karadon solid-surface counters for food preparation and presentation. A teak-and-holly sole underfoot is a pleasant and functional contrast to the soft pile carpet that covers most of the interior sole surfaces. A coffeemaker, threeburner Ceran stove top, microwave/convection oven and a large refrigerator with freezer on the centerline are all standard features of the galley. Storage is more than adequate for weekending.
Meridian’s designers opted to eliminate the lower dining area you sometimes find on aft cabin motoryachts and in so doing, created a large forward head compartment with a separate shower stall. It serves as a day head, but it also has a private entrance to the guest stateroom forward.The stateroom includes two hanging lockers; one with shelves for an optional TV/VCR that should prove popular. If you want to keep your guests happy, order the optional innerspring mattress for the berth.
Because the master stateroom aft is full width, the designers chose to separate its head and shower compartments. They are located to port, with a central wash basin between them. Storage drawers and lockers are numerous and the innerspring mattress is standard, as it should be. This room is so large, there’s space left over for two big cedar-lined hanging lockers and a vanity with seat that includes a conversion for your PC with the requisite telephone jack and power outlet. An opening exit hatch in the transom doubles as a picture window.
Access to the engine room is through a large carpeted panel in the salon sole, so there won’t be any problem with headroom when you’re ready to check fluids. I found the big sea strainers forward of the engines and a smaller strainer close by the genset positioned for easy service. Routine maintenance for the optional Onan genset on our test boat was made easier with a removable side panel in the sound shield. Racor fuel filters are mounted just inboard of the wing fuel tanks, and are within quick reach.
All of the hatches on the foredeck are stainless steel and come with screens.The curved acrylic sliding door leading up to the aft deck also has a screen. As reliable as generators and air conditioners are these days, I still like the option, if not the backup, of natural ventilation below.
At the helm, the centerline console is set well forward to maximize room for guest seating. It was easy for me to see under the standard hardtop, but it took practice to know where the corners of the swim platform were when backing in. That’s common on most aft cabin motoryachts. I felt very comfortable and confident driving the 408. Teleflex hydraulic steering provided faultless control in the turns and the straight runs, while Bennett stainless steel electric/hydraulic trim tabs gave me precise control of hull attitude. The hull shape felt full and stable when I made sharp turns at cruising speeds or ran at angles to the waves approaching beam-to. As for fuel consumption, sea trials conducted by the company show that the 408 can burn 24.6 gph at a cruising speed of 2520 rpm (21.9 mph) for a range of 264 miles with a 10-percent reserve.
Comparisons with Carver’s line of widebody cruisers are inevitable, but each builder takes a different approach to décor, standard equipment and engine choices. If the idea of a 40-foot aft cabin motoryacht with the interior of a much larger cruiser appeals to you, don’t miss the opportunity to see what the Meridian 408 has to offer
This review/article originally appeared in Motorboat & Yachting Magazine, September 2003 and is written by Capt. John Woolridge. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.mby.com/subscriptions/motorboat-yachting-subscriptions
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