Meridian 411
Length overall  46'
Beam 14'2"
Draft  3'9"
Bridge Clearnace  15'
Displacement  25,000 lb
Fuel Capacity  400 gals
Water Capacity 150 gals
Holding Tank  55 gals
Standard power  Twin MerCruiser 8.1 Horizon gas inboards
Base Price  $320,165

The galley-up layout (above) features deep stainless-steel sinks, flush electric burners, a Nova-Kool refrigerator/ freezer, and loads of storage space. (below) The saloon features dual Flexsteel recliners across from a curved lounge upholstered in Mirage leather.

The new Meridian 411 Sedan is one of seven new Meridian Yachts, which replace large Bayliners and Maxums in the Brunswick Corporate fleet. I met with Bob Muscolino at the Yacht Center in Baltimore to get a closer look. He'd seen the boat in earlier stages at the factory in Seattle, but this was his first look at the newly delivered finished product as well as mine.

The boat's full of ingenious touches, and thoughtfully laid out for a cruising couple with guests. It's got loads of interior room. It's actually 46 feet overall with a generous 14-foot beam. "Little things don't hit you all at once, but if you've been on a lot of different boats like I have, you tend to look at little details,' Muscolino noted, 'like the storage of the dinette table in the backrest between the back of the dinette and the settee in the saloon. These are the little things that make a big difference.'

The galley alone could fill this column. It's the galley-up design so popular these days,situated on the same level as the U-shaped dinette, with a wide-open Karadon counter, deep double stainless-steel sinks, double flush electric burners, a convection/microwave oven encased in a cabinet with more counter space on top, and below that, a mini side-by-side Nova-Kool refrigerator freezer, plus loads of storage space under the counter including a pull-out carafe-style coffee maker.

The saloon features dual Flexsteel recliners across from a curved lounge upholstered in Mirage leather. The seating focuses around an expandable solid-cherry wood table. The entertainment center houses a 24-inch Sony TV and VCR along with a Clarion stereo system that includes a six-disc CD changer and surround sound as standard features. The center is situated in the aft starboard corner so it can be viewed easily from both the saloon and the galley.

The forward master stateroom features a generous queen-size island berth with innerspring mattress and plenty of storage underneath for bedding and other bulky items. The guest stateroom features a standard island berth, and each stateroom has a private head, both with showers. There are also cedar-lined hanging closets for plenty of storage space.

The generously-sized cockpit has a wide transom door to the equally-wide swim platform. Fender storage is built into the steps, and off the transom there's a retractable shore power cord in its own recessed niche. Wide side decks with toe railings and anti-skid surfaces molded into the deck provide easy access to the foredeck, where there's a sun pad for relaxation.

Broad fiberglass steps lead up from the cockpit to the spacious bridge. The steps lift up to provide access to the engine compartment, where there's stand-up headroom. The bridge features wrap-around L-shaped lounge seating, a standard entertainment center with sink and plenty of storage.

We cranked up the optional twin 370 hp Cummins diesels, which were nice and quiet, and pulled away from the floating dock. The standard engines are twin MerCruiser 8.1 S Horizon gas inboards, delivering 370 horsepower each. Meridian boats all have the 'Dock on Command' system that coordinates both bow and stern thrusters with a control knob on the dash that's actually shaped like a boat hull. That makes it about as foolproof as you can get. Move the bow on the knob to the left, the bow goes to the left; move the stern on the knob to the right, the stern goes to the right. Push the whole boat over and both bow and stern thrusters work together to move the boat sideways. After we got back to the dock, I saw another Meridian model on the hard and noted how the stern thruster motor unit is mounted on the transom, centered directly underneath the swim platform.

We took a spin around Baltimore's Inner Harbor, past the National Aquarium, across the bow of the old square-rigged Civil War-era ship, the Constellation, with her standing rigging all dressed out in colors, and under the shadow of the big grassy knoll that is Federal Hill. The Meridian 411 behaved quite smoothly in this relatively tight space, running well under six knots amid the light mid-week, post-season traffic of water taxis and small handful of other cruisers and sailboats.

Out beyond the six-knot limit, past the historic ramparts of Fort McHenry, we opened up and the throttle and modified V-hull accelerated quickly and smoothly, reaching a top speed of about 31 mph. The handling was quite comfortable from up there on the flybridge and the Teleflex hydraulic steering provided sure, steady handling. The view from the command station on the flybridge is pretty good forward and along the sides, although the view of the stern is somewhat obstructed by the bridge deck that extends aft to provide shelter for the cockpit.