With an optional thruster package, the brand-new Meridian 411 Sedan adds precision docking to a host of family cruising and entertaining amenities.

I carefully idled the new Meridian 411 Sedan into the fairway between Manhattan’s Pier 59 and Pier 60, which was lined with large boats. At the end of the fairway, six other sparkling Meridian yachts were tied stern-to a floating dock, rising and falling several feet with the wakes generated by the traffic on the Hudson River behind me. The Meridian 411 spun around smartly in its own length, but the wakes pushed the boat sideways as I backed in, leaving the dock a distant four feet from my starboard side.

I touched two switches at the helm to activate the optional Docking On Command system ($14,980), and then briefly pushed the right side of a boat-shaped switch at the dash. Bow and stern thrusters quickly pushed water to port, and the 411 moved gently to starboard about four feet. Had I rotated the boat-shaped switch clockwise or counterclockwise, the thrusters would be driven in opposing directions to make the boat spin right or left. Thanks to this system, docking was easy, even in this challenging location.

This was Manhattan’s Chelsea Piers. It has unparalleled access to New York Harbor, but it’s also located on a roughand- tumble stretch of water that’s influenced by river current, strong tidal flows and a nasty chop when the wind is out of the south. It’s also susceptible to a minefield of wakes left by the high-speed passenger ferries that run between the New Jersey shoreline and lower Manhattan. Of course, this means it’s a great place to test a boat.

Earlier in the day, I had headed south on the short stretch of Hudson River that leads into New York Harbor. I ran speed tests up and down the river, then cruised out past the Statue of Liberty to evaluate the boat’s handling. The hull’s sharp-V entry proved efficient at cutting through the chop and wakes, while significant chines directed spray well away from the boat. The combination of wider chines aft and a relatively flat transom deadrise angle of seven degrees helped promote planing and significant roll reduction. This boat gets up on and down off plane very predictably, and it turns just as powerfully with no untoward lean when banking.

Meridian 411 Performance Motorboating

My test of the 411 took place during the press launch of Meridian Yachts, a new boat company under the umbrella of the Brunswick Boat Group, which also owns Sea Ray, Hatteras, Sealine, Bayliner and Maxum, among others. The 411 was one of seven boats on display that day, but unlike the other six models, the 411 was the first totally new design from the company, which had absorbed several existing motoryacht and flybridge models from Bayliner and Maxum, and then reengineered them for an even more upscale audience. Meridian now offers a line of eight yachts ranging from 34 to 58 feet. These boats are produced with the latest computer- aided design and manufacturing technologies, and they are built by hand with top quality materials. Construction meets the same tough marine industry endurance criteria that’s adhered to by the other Brunswick Boat Group companies.

I saw proof of that when I raised the molded stairs on the port side of the aft cockpit and stepped down for a look in the engine room. A stout, reinforced stringer system runs full length to the bow strakes. In addition, the load-bearing bulkheads are heavily bonded to the hull and deck for extra strength—that’s just one facet of the Meridian’s unitized construction, which bonds hull, deck and bridge into a single unit. Backed with a 10-year warranty, the structure is built to last.

The cockpit itself is large enough to hold four folding chairs and has plenty of storage. Molded steps lead up to the sidedecks, which are wide enough for you to walk on while facing forward with the aid of welded stainless steel safety rails that are solidly through-bolted on. Twin lockers flanking the bow pulpit add storage and anchor rode access. Twin handrails and two drink holders just forward of the windshield define space for an optional sunpad.

Meridian’s designers optimized usable space on the flybridge by pushing the helm console and double-wide helm seat forward and to starboard. With bench seats to port and abaft the helm seat, it’s a nice layout with room left over for sunning behind the aft bench.

The 411 boasts thoughtful amenities in the cabin, too, which has a two-stateroom, two-head layout. Mirage leather—a synthetic that is stain-resistant and well-suited to the marine lifestyle—covers settees and its soft, neutral color blends well with the boat’s natural cherrywood interior and custom Karadon solid-surface counters in the galley and dinette (they are located “up” in the main cabin). Tempered, safety- glass windows throughout the main salon offer sweeping views. Air conditioning ducts are concealed overhead and cool from the top down, while a fresh-air ventilation system keeps the cabin air clean.

In the salon, twin Flexsteel incliners to port and an L-shaped settee to starboard both face a built-in entertainment center.

The master stateroom with its twin cedar-lined hanging lockers, queen-sized island berth and private head compartment is forward. The guest stateroom is to starboard and has standing headroom, except over the queen-sized berth.

For those who are comparison-shopping, there is the Carver 410 Sports Sedan ($382,500 with a pair of 370-hp Volvo Penta diesels). It has roughly the same length (46') and beam (14') as the Meridian, but unlike the 411, the Carver features a 13-degree deadrise at the transom, a higher bridge clearance (19'2") and a beamier main salon.

If you’re in the market for a sedan in the mid-40-foot range, the Meridian 411 is certainly worth considering. Carefully designed, precisely engineered and solidly built, it’s the kind of platform the whole family will enjoy cruising and operating.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW OTHER MERIDIAN YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in Motorboating Magazine, April 2003 and is written by Captain 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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