459 Cockpit Motoryacht
— By Capt. Bill Pike
— December 2003
|Part 2: Smart interior planning complemented the easy handling.|
Going back through Deception Pass after the sea trial was as much fun as going through the first time. And returning the boat to her boathouse once we’d gotten back to LaConner simply underscored the theme. Maneuvering with the engines only, I spun the 459 in front of the boathouse and eased her astern by simply clutching in and out of gear a few times. Visibility aft was fine, thanks to the open area beneath the underside of the hardtop. And while our test boat was equipped with an optional D.O.C. (Docking On Command) system, which integrates controls for both bow and stern thrusters into a single, boat-shaped device on the dashboard, I found that I needed to use the system only to pin the 459 against the finger pier inside the boathouse while Filip dealt with our mooring lines. I never needed it otherwise.
Smart interior planning complemented the easy handling. Highlights were numerous, although I had a few favorites. The first was the layout of the large, full-beam master. Separating the port-side head into three separate parts—a shower-stall compartment forward, an MSD compartment aft, and an open sink in between—is a savvy, usability-enhancing idea. And situating the queen-size island berth opposite, just steps from the big sliding door that accesses the porch-like ambience of the cockpit, is a master stroke.
Construction was the second highlight. To disperse shock loads and generally reduce running stresses, stringers are engineered to continue from the transom well into the bow area, a good distance beyond where most builders leave off. Also, load-bearing bulkheads are bonded to both the hull and deck to absorb stress and cut down on noise and vibration. And furthermore, all holes cut in bulkheads for conduits, hoses, and wires are thoroughly sealed with color-coordinated silicone to nix noise. The technique works: With our lazarette-ensconced genset running dockside, sound levels were so low in the saloon, master, and VIP, they failed to hit the minimum measurement of 50 dB-A on the decibel meter.
Of course, even good boats can have problems and, sure enough, I finished up the test of Meridian’s 459 Cockpit Motoryacht by hitting a bit of a snag: the optional lower helm station. While visibility was excellent all the way around from this spot, thanks to bilevel side windows and the whopping slider at the rear of the saloon, all practicality ended there. More to the point, I simply could not crowd my knees into the cramped space abaft the steering wheel, and the seat itself put my 5'11" frame so high above the saloon sole, with my legs dangling, I felt like a stranded mountaineer.
The fix? Go with the standard, expanded U-shape dining area Meridian offers instead. It’ll virtually guarantee good, without having to wade through a whole pile of deep, philosophical significance.
Meridian Yachts Phone: (866) 992-2487. www.meridian-yachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the November 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.