The Mission of the Meridian 391 Sedan
Meridian put a lot of thought into its 391 Sedan. It has managed to create a comfortable handling boat, that easily accommodates two couples or a small family for either weekends or mini-vacations away from the home port. Because she is so easy to handle, she also makes a good transitional yacht for those moving up from day boats or bowriders.
The best place to begin this report is with the ships systems. As this was a blistering hot Florida test day, the first order of business was to get the optional two zone air-conditioning fired up. That meant a check out of the generator first. It's accessed from a hatch under the cockpit deck and installation leaves plenty of room for storage around the generator itself. Meridian offers two choices for generators based on the main power choice. If gas power is chosen, then a 10 kW Koehler gas genset is available. With the diesel power of our test boat, we also have the optional 9 kW Onan generator with sound shield.
Let There Be Power
With the generator checked out it's time to move in to the salon and turn it on via the ship’s main power panel. The panel is located in a cabinet to the port side of the sliding glass entry door. 12V systems are to one side, 120V to the other. In the center of the panel are two gauges giving capacity readouts for the water tank and holding tank, and of course the controls for the generator. The generator started, and power transferred, the air conditioning was activated and a cooling effect was immediate.
Main Engine Checkout
With the generator purring away it was time to move to the main engines. This ignition key position does not start the engines, it just activates power to the helm and engine room start/stop buttons. The engines themselves are located under the well-soundproofed deck in the main salon and they can be accessed by either a main salon hatch (useful when maintenance is required), or by lifting the stairs to the flybridge exposing another set of stairs to the engine room (convenient for daily engine checks). The hatch in the salon is just under the movable pedestal table, so it’s a bit easier to use the cockpit entrance.
Just to the right of the stairs are the main battery switches. The twin Cummins diesels are easily reached via crawl space both between the engines and to the outboard sides. On the aft bulkhead are engine start/stop buttons and I always like to look at the engines running to check for any fluid leaks under pressure, so to me, this is a much appreciated feature, and it is the reason I activated the ignitions before entering the engine compartment. I also found the compartment to be well lit leaving no areas in the dark. With the mains warming up, running normally, and showing no signs of any leakage it's time to move to the helm.
Meridian went with a helm layout that is as attractive as it is functional. Twin optional Raymarine navigational displays are to either side of the digital depth gauge. Large analog gauges for each engine are to the outboard sides of the panel. The panel lifts to expose all the connections for easy service.
Below and to the right are the SmartCraft display and autopilot. To the right of the wheel are the engine start/stop buttons and the digital throttle and shift controls, and I’ve really come to appreciate the long sticks on these controls that allow for making operating while standing a comfortable affair. Behind are the thruster controls and ancillary switches.
The Meridian 391 Sedan has a LOA of 40’11” (12.5 m), a beam of 13’11” (4.2 m), and a draft of 2’9”(0.84 m). With an empty weight of 25,000 lbs. (11,340 kg), full fuel, and three people onboard, we had a test weight of 28,705 lbs. (13,020 kg).
With a pair of optional 380-hp Cummins QSB 6.7L engines driving our test boat we reached a top speed at 3158 rpm of 30 mph even. At that speed we were burning a total of 37.9 gph giving us a range of 249 miles.
Best cruise is a bit surprising. Backing the throttle down to 2500 rpm and 19.6 mph only increased the range by 1 mile, and it stayed the same at 2750 rpm and 23.9 mph. For the short runs it does pay to drop the speed, as the fuel burn will be less, but for distance cruising, go ahead and cruise at full speed. Click on the Test Results tab at the top of this page for full results. We reached planing speed at 6.7 seconds, and accelerated through 20 mph in 8.6 seconds.
When advancing the throttle, the 391’s bow comes up 11-degrees. Once on plane she settled into a 5-degree bow high cruise attitude. When tuning she leans 10 degrees into the turn which I found to be quite comfortable. Even with her straight shafts and rudders, she doesn’t quite have the tight turning radius of her smaller sister but good response time to the helm is still there. She handles waves well as can be seen cutting through the wakes of the camera boat. Any spray gets thrown well out to the sides for a relatively dry ride.
Anyone transitioning into this cruiser from a smaller boat will have no trouble acclimating to the 391’s handling characteristics around the dock. I simply used the engine controls to direct the momentum of the 391, with the thrusters proving precise directional control. There are clear sightlines to the starboard side, and the stern is visible through the hatch to the stairs.
Additional Operational Features
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan (2014-) is 30.0 mph (48.3 kph), burning 37.90 gallons per hour (gph) or 143.45 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan (2014-) is 19.6 mph (31.5 kph), and the boat gets 0.79 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.34 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 250 miles (402.34 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 380-hp Cummins QSB 6.7L.
Standard and Optional Features
|Dripless Shaft Seals||Standard|
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|Oil Change System||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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