Issue: September 2005
Some mid range cruising boats, while functional, can have a cold almost stark feel about them. But step aboard the Meridian 341 and there’s a feeling of warmth, and homeliness about this boat.
The main saloon is very inviting with its leather lounges and large, cats eye windows that virtually bring the outside view into the cabin. It is almost a 360-degree view from any seat in the house, or if you want a cozy evening, hidden Venetian blinds can be dropped down to close out the rest of the world. For an overall 35-footer, this is one stylish cabin.
The cherrywood work is not overdone and confined to a cupboard in the port aft corner that contains the switch and battery panel and a neat entertainment centre, with a 20-inch flat screen TV, DVD and stereo system. Little additions like the two inlaid star features in wood, set into the cabin roof, add a style to set it off nicely.
It didn’t take long to find the best spot to relax in the cabin, on the end of the starboard lounge tucked up in the corner, extremely comfortable. I could settle into this cabin very easily. Pass a Bundy and Coke, please!
The galley is special. It sits on both sides of the passageway that leads to the forward accommodation. One side is a big preparation area with a splash back, sink, fridge, microwave and a pantry cupboard. Turn around and there is a two-burner cook top with a big drawer for cutlery underneath and a storage cupboard for cups and glasses.
The one thing missing is a rail to hang a tea towel or dishcloth on. It is amazing just how many designers forget this when they design a galley. It wouldn’t take much to put one on the back of a cupboard door.
Up front the owner’s stateroom has a large island double bed with his and hers cedar-lined hanging lockers in warm cherrywood. The head, with full standing room and a separate shower stall, is shared with the guest cabin with twin berths that convert to a double. This cabin extends back into the main cabin with headroom up front and a skylight for natural light.
There is a big surprise waiting when you climb the moulded steps to the flybridge. It is a case of ‘look at all the room up here’. The helm station is impressive with one of the most comfortable seats in a boat of this size I have sat in. There is a companion lounge opposite, a wrap-around lounge at the back of the flybridge and the Targa arch sets it all off.
Getting up to the bow is not a hassle thanks to a 170mm walkway with a 90mm gunwale lip and a handhold along the side of the flybridge. The windlass can be operated remotely from the flybridge as can the spotlight that comes standard.
The Meridian is powered by twin Cummins 250hp diesels and gets along nicely at 2800rpm and 20 knots.
She is not a quick boat, but remember this is supposed to be a comfortable cruising boat and part of the fun of cruising is getting to a destination.
In the 6-knot zones it tracks without any fuss at 1000rpm and flat out at 3000rpm the GPS read 23 knots.
With the trim tabs up the speed came up almost a knot more. Although the boat is quite responsive to the trim tabs, in most cases they are not needed except to trim the boat level in a crosswind.
The test boat didn’t have electronic controls and was fitted with the older style separate throttles and gearshifts. After driving so many boats with electronic controls, they took a little getting used to and I had to remember that idle was all the way back and not in the middle. But when berthing it was a simple matter of pulling the throttles back to idle and using the gearshift levers to control the boat. I had forgotten just how easy it was.
No one would feel threatened maneuvering the boat and if you did get crossed up, the meridian comes with a bow and stern thruster, which makes parking easy. Even in tight situations it will spin on its own axis without using the thrusters.
The Meridian 341 is a stylish boat that’s easy to drive and would make a mature couple feel right at home. A couple stepping up to a bigger cruising boat would have no trouble adapting to it.
Meridian Yachts are built by a subsidiary of the giant Brunswick Group, which among other things owns Mercury and Bayliner. The Meridian 341 flybridge cruiser is priced from $361,890 with twin 6.2lt, 320hp MerCruisers.
As tested with options, including the Cummins diesels, Onan generator, air-conditioning, bimini top, flybridge fridge, central vacuum system and TV and DVD, it retailed at $436,611.
Meridian is a new line of motoryachts that offer what boaters want most: fluid lines, intelligently designed cabin layouts and large, open living spaces. According to Meridian its distinctive Sedans, Aft Cabins and Pilothouse Motoryachts combine the best in cruising features, livability and quality construction for the ultimate on-the water experience. There are models from 34 to 58 feet in the meridian line-up.
As a subsidiary of the Brunswick Boat Group, maker of many of the world’s fi nest motoryachts ‘ such as Hatteras, Sea Ray and Sealine ‘ Meridian is led by marine industry experts who know exactly what it takes to create a superior boat. Their collective knowledge has resulted in a new line of yachts that defy expectation. Brunswick’s vast experience and resources in the marine industry will ensure that everything from Meridian’s design and construction to its sales staff and service will be world-class. In short, a new standard for motoryachting is being introduced.
The test boat was fitted with optional T250 Cummins diesels and a 7kW diesel generator. Standard engines are twin 6.2lt 320hp MerCruisers.
The boat gets along very comfortably at 2800rpm and 20 knots. The bow and rear thrusters make docking easy.
Speed to RPM: 6 knots @ 1000 rpm, 20 knots @ 2800 rpm, 23 knots @ 3000 rpm.
BEAM: 12′ 6″
+ Comfortable cruiser for two
Bow & stern thrusters
– No rail in galley
Words by Kevan Wolfe