By Tom Thompson
Meridian 368 Motoryacht: Sea Trial
Meridian 368 Motoryacht: Comfort without compromise.
Sufficient living room is important aboard a boat. Being able to move around comfortably makes for enjoyable cruising. Luckily for cruisers, Meridian Yachts’ designers kept this concept at the top of their list for the new 368 Motoryacht, which is new for 2005.
After taking the 368 for a sea trial, it was evident that their goal was reached. With its stylish lines and attractive interior appointments, the 368 is one very comfortable home away from home.
A completely new aft-cabin model for the company, the Meridian 368 fills a niche between the 341 and 381 offerings, both of which are sedan bridge configurations. The 37-foot, 8-inch length overall seems to be just the right amount of space both above and below deck.
Two people can handle the boat easily when docking. Those same two people will have more than enough room to stretch out and enjoy themselves either under way or at a mooring. When guests visit, there’s plenty of space for entertaining as well as overnight accommodations for at least two other adults.
The 368 has two above-deck entertaining areas: on the flybridge and the aft deck.
The flybridge has a bench seat for three aft and two seats along the port side, plus a swivel bucket seat for the captain. A standard wet bar with a spot for an optional ice-maker is molded into the starboard side.
The aft deck, a few steps down, is an open space that can be furnished to your liking (for example, with a table and chairs). A hardtop over this area is standard, as is a Bimini top for the flybridge. You also have the option of enclosing these areas with side curtains, as well as covering the deck with snap-in carpeting.
All controls are within easy reach at the helm. There’s space for a large-screen electronics display to the left of the instruments and steering wheel, along with a spot for a smaller display to the right. Meridian has two optional electronics packages available for the 368, along with an autopilot. All components are from Raymarine.
A wide staircase with plenty of handrails takes you from the aft deck to the swim platform. One feature you’ll appreciate here is a covered channel through which you can route shore power cables, eliminating the hazard of tripping.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you enter the cabin on the 368 Motoryacht is how much natural light fills the space. There are two levels of windows along each side, plus a large expanse of glass along the windshield.
Whether you’re sitting or standing, you’ll have an excellent view of the outside world on three sides. The light plays nicely on the attractive fabric, upholstery and gloss cherry wood in the cabin. For privacy, accordion curtains pull down from behind the window valences.
The main saloon has sofa seating along both sides. In the standard configuration, two sections of the starboard side sofa are Flexsteel incliner lounge chairs. As an option, you can trade these for a Flexsteel hide-a-bed.
There’s also an adjustable-height coffee table in front of the settee that can be positioned where you like. Meridian offers the option of substituting an L-shaped dinette on the port side in place of the sofa.
Wood cabinets in the aft port corner of the saloon hold an entertainment center as well as the boat’s main electrical panels. A 20-inch flat-screen television, a DVD player and an AM/FM/CD audio system are standard equipment. The stereo has a remote control and additional speakers on the flybridge, as well.
The galley opens to the main saloon and one step down from it. The appliances include a double-burner electric stove, a microwave oven, a deep-basin stainless steel sink and an under-counter side-by-side refrigerator/freezer.
The cherry wood cabinetry is accented with an attractive solid surface countertop and teak and holly flooring. As options, you can order a conventional oven or substitute a propane stove for the electric.
The master stateroom is aft, down three steps from the main saloon deck. Its queen-size berth with an innerspring mattress is easily accessible from three sides.
The en suite head has a glass-enclosed stall shower. There’s a floor-to-ceiling hanging locker in the forward starboard corner. A large picture window on the aft bulkhead, plus side portlights fill the space with natural light.
The forward stateroom also has its own head with a stall shower. It’s easy to climb in and out of the queen berth here, as well. Meridian offers an optional configuration for the forward stateroom featuring bunk beds and a table instead of the island queen berth.
The 368′s optional climate-control system consists of four air conditioners with reverse cycle heat. There’s a 7,000 Btu unit for each of the staterooms and a pair of 10,000 Btu units to cover the saloon and galley areas.
If you enclose the flybridge, you can also have ductwork installed to route cool air to that area. For cooler-weather boaters, optional cabin heaters are available for the boat.
If you’re a year-round boater, the 368 Motoryacht can be fitted with a full-function lower helm station, but be aware that this will subtract space from the forward seating area along the starboard side.
Storage space on the 368 is worth noting, as well. It’s obvious that it rated high on the Meridian design team’s to-do list. Simply put: It’s everywhere. Every nook, cranny and corner usable space has been made available for storage. There are compartments, drawers and cabinet doors at nearly every turn.
As far as power, the Meridian 368 has three twin-engine options.
Two are gasoline — Mercury Horizon 8.1-liter freshwater-cooled inboards, either with or without the high-output option, rated at 420 hp and 370 hp, respectively. The diesel option is a pair of Cummins 330′s.
Our test boat was equipped with a pair of Horizon 420′s that propelled it quite nicely. From a standing start, there was a slight amount of bow rise, correctable with the trim tabs, but it didn’t matter, as the upper helm position is high and forward enough that visibility was not restricted. Acceleration was strong throughout the power curve and steering was very responsive given the size of the boat. In short, the 368 handled nimbly in turns and tracked solidly.
For the 2005 model year, Meridian is offering D.O.C. (Docking On Command) as a standard feature on all its cruisers and motoryachts. This nifty control function makes you look like a pro at the dock. It consists of both bow and stern thrusters that let you move the boat sideways. This means no more embarrassing moments or expensive crunching sounds while docking.
Meridian 368 Motoryacht Specifications
|Fuel capacity||250 gallons|
|Water capacity||90 gallons|
|Holding tank capacity||50 gallons|
|Base price with twin 8.1-liter engines||$295,000|
|Price as tested||$346,720|
D.O.C. (Docking On Command); television/DVD player/stereo in saloon; VacuFlush heads; Bimini top; spotlight; windlass; two incliners in saloon; transom shower; queen innerspring mattress in master stateroom; 10-year hull and deck warranty; Karadon solid surface countertops.
Four-zone air conditioning; gasoline or diesel generator; central vacuum system; linen package; foredeck sunpad; stateroom televisions; flybridge and aft deck enclosures; electronics package; lower helm station.
Hull bottom is four layers thick and sides are constructed of three layers of hand-laid woven roving. Deck and superstructure utilize cored construction.
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