Handling such a thing
Performance isn’t the main point behind the 441. If you want to go really fast, look elsewhere. The manufacturer’s stated top speed for the 441 is 32 knots, with a cruising speed of 27 knots. Although I couldn’t take speed readings, even full throttle felt less than 30 knots. This was on the standard T380 Cummins engines, though higher power options of the T425 and T480 are available.
The ride seemed quite bumpy as well, and no doubt that’s due to the fullness of the bow. The trim tabs do add to the planing characteristics of the boat, but not by much. The turn radius of the boat is also a bit slow.
Having said that, there is an extra stiffness to the steering which I quite liked, particularly if you are in relaxation mode (which you certainly will be when out on this yacht). Let go of the steering wheel, no matter what the speed, and it tracks almost as if it were on auto-pilot. Add in the standard cushy, reclining leather helm seat, and the captain’s job suddenly becomes more attractive.
On our version, the engine readouts, compass, electrical controls and throttle were all comfortably placed. The throttle control included a syncing mechanism for running the engines at the same speed, as well as auto-settings for trawling or for revving the engine without engaging the drive train.
Meridian has also included as standard a patented throttle control feature called Total Command Integrated Vessel Control. Most new yachts in the 40 foot category and up have a docking control mechanism that lets yachties dock their vessels using a joystick, negating the need for lots of tricky manoeuvering in tight spots. Total Command is not an IPS system; rather, it coordinates the bow and stern thrusters with main engines into a single joystick control. The effect is like that of the IPS system. It may not provide the same degree of efficiency that the forward facing props do of the Volvo IPS, but it is included as standard, which is food for thought for the cost-conscious buyer. On our return run, the captain managed to squeeze next to the dock finger with just over a fender’s width distance to the next boat, and with one helper on dock only.
The excellent view from the captain’s chair also makes anchoring a straightforward affair. The forward searchlight is placed right at the bow near the anchor chain, and though we didn’t try anchoring during fading light, I expect that this would make the job of setting an anchor that much easier. The captain confirmed that anchoring is easily a one-man job.
Our run through Hong Kong’s scenic Sai Kung coastline showcased all that’s best with the 441. Plenty of comfort on board, matched against plenty of visibility on a well-planned flybridge, made the trip excellent. The flybridge in particular was a winnner for me. As we packed up our things to disembark, I quickly compared the flybridge of the 50+ footer just next to us – it wasn’t half of what we had on a shorter boat. If that sounds like the way you want to spend time on the water, consider the 441.
In South China: www.kingsway-marine.com
Technical specifications – Meridian 441
Length overall – 14.4 m
Length waterline – 12.3 m
Max. beam – 4.3 m
Draught – 0.9 m
Cabin headroom – 2 m
Displacement (unladen) – 14,197 kg
Fuel capacity – 1,634 l
Water capacity – 568 l
Max. speed – 32 kts
Cruising speed – 27 kts
Cabins – 1 master, 1 guest
Engines – 2 x T380 Cummins (380hp) electric diesels