As I jumped onto the new Meridian 541 Sedan through the side-boarding step in the cockpit, something captured my attention: the two bar stools. Immediately, I realized the potential of this boat as an entertainment vehicle and reconsidered altering my sea-trial mission. I was tempted to call in my six closest friends and a bottle of Ketel One and do my entire review from one of those stools while Brunswick’s Capt. Rusty Higgins manned the helm. But duty dictated I explore the rest of the boat, and I’m glad I did.
The Meridian 541 is the new flagship of the builder’s line of sedans, with four in the fleet ranging from the 341 on up. It is the first Meridian built in Brunswick’s Sykes Creek facility in Merritt Island, Florida, normally reserved for construction of the largest Sea Rays. Meridian became part of the Sea Ray group in 2009, and the entire lineup has benefited from the infusion of Sea Ray quality. The 541 is the only three-stateroom model in the lineup, but it is not only space that sets the 541 apart — it’s how that space is used (see the complete photo gallery here) .
Those bar stools in the cockpit sit in front of a countertop and an electronically actuated window that opens into the galley on the main deck. That’s right, the galley. “We decided to bring the galley back and make it centrally located so it serves the salon, the dinette and the cockpit equally well,” said Matt Guilford, the brand manager for Meridian Yachts. He elaborated that, in the design stage, they all realized that, at every party, people at some point gravitate toward the kitchen. It made sense to put the galley in a prime spot.
The electronically actuated window, along with the signature twin-tier windows on the main deck, help Meridian meet one mission point: blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. The entire inside area of the main deck is bathed in warm, natural light. Guilford was quick to point out another attribute: The windows allow for a view of the horizon, whether you are standing or sitting, which is an important feature for those prone to seasickness.
The dinette, opposite the galley, provides another example of how Meridian thought through its spatial relationships. The designers initially set it up as a U-shape to allow for more seating but realized a standard booth provides far more legroom, so they switched it. The table drops down to create an extra berth.