best sedan bridges other than sea ray

Discussion in 'Sport Yachts/Yachts' started by tugger, Nov 22, 2019.

  1. Robf

    Robf Member

    305
    Apr 17, 2013
    Winfield, WV
    2006 44 Sedan Bridge (Pending)
    Twin Cummins QSC 500s
    Been looking at both Sea Rays and Meridians myself. Would be curious as to how the Meridian handled the Sea Lift. Is this a platform lift? What are you putting on it, if anything, in the way of a tender? I have a Walker Bay RIB Center Console that I want to use as a tender, so I need a boat large enough that can handle a 500 pound tender.
     
  2. Robf

    Robf Member

    305
    Apr 17, 2013
    Winfield, WV
    2006 44 Sedan Bridge (Pending)
    Twin Cummins QSC 500s
    Also 391s out there with Cummins Diesels, I have seen several. The 8.2s in the Meridian 391 will push it over 30 mph with light load.
     
  3. sbw1

    sbw1 Well-Known Member

    Oct 10, 2006
    West Michigan
    This is listed in my signature
    This is listed in my signature
    IMG_4230.JPG IMG_5022.JPG
     
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  4. flyboycj84

    flyboycj84 Member

    86
    Feb 20, 2014
    Merritt Island FL
    2008 Meridian 391
    QSB 5.9

    Yes, we have QSB 5.9s in ours upgraded to 380hp. They’re great motors for this boat. In May of this year we had a Sealift platform put on. It is by far one of the best mods I’ve ever done to a boat. We absolutely love it for our teak beach, as well as the ability to lift our 85lb Golden-Labs our of the water. Oh and the ability to carry a tender is great too, lol.

    We carry a 10ft mini speed boat that weighs in at around 500lbs. I’m currently building a 10 ft AB RIB that will come in around 400. We can also carry a Spark that is around 400. The beauty of the Sealift is the pop up chocks......that are self adjusting to any shaped bottom.

    The Sealift mechanism can lift 2500lbs......HOWEVER.....they put a 1200lb limit on the installed lift due to transom limitations.

    I did repitched my props to accomodate the weight of the lift and tender.....now the engines don’t even notice the extra weight out back. A561A3FE-4904-4948-A5EC-D442A21916E8.jpeg
     
  5. tugger

    tugger New Member

    27
    Nov 11, 2019
    boatless
    boatless
    Thanks again, beautiful boat. What does QSB stand for? I assume its something small block? Your posts are so helpful, thank you again. I won't keep bugging you but a few final questions. How do you upgrade the power (like a banks upgrade on a rv?) as you mentioned(and is it expensive) and does that increase the efficiency and gas usage? And how was the gas usage before you did that upgrade? I have a big golden retriever so very interested in the lift, if you don't mind me asking about how much does that upgrade cost? Thanks again.
     
  6. Robf

    Robf Member

    305
    Apr 17, 2013
    Winfield, WV
    2006 44 Sedan Bridge (Pending)
    Twin Cummins QSC 500s
    Fly
    Thanks so much for that information, very helpful. I have been trying to decide between the 391 Meridian and the 44 Sea Ray Sedan Bridge. Love the Sealift platform! I assume no issue with the additional weight and the exhaust ports flooding due to the boat sitting lower? Did you have to add any weight to the bow such as an all chain rode in order to balance the boat?
    Thanks again,
    Rob
     
  7. flyboycj84

    flyboycj84 Member

    86
    Feb 20, 2014
    Merritt Island FL
    2008 Meridian 391
    QSB 5.9
    Rob,

    You may also consider a Meridian 411 or 441.....they are closer in size to a 44DB. I already had 150’ chain ride which helped, but I haven’t added an extra. The exhaust ports are high enough there is no issue. The outlet ports for the drain manifold(AC, sinks, bilge, etc), however, do get partially submerged when I have the boat fully loaded. Everything still drains fine though. There is also a bypass drain port if the mains were to get clogged or not drain. The 391’s like tabs....so if anything I may have to use a little more than before.....but I don’t have to run full down on plane.
     
    Robf likes this.
  8. flyboycj84

    flyboycj84 Member

    86
    Feb 20, 2014
    Merritt Island FL
    2008 Meridian 391
    QSB 5.9
    It’s no problem at all. I like talking boats. Especially mine, lol! Cummins has QSB, QSM, QSC.....so I know it’s not small block.....not sure what it is other than “B series”. The 380hp upgrade is from 330hp and is just a computer mod that any Cummins dealer can do. I thinks it’s $500. It was done before I bought the boat. I get .8nmpg on a clean bottom, .7nmpg if a little dirty. That mileage is at any speed between 15kts and 27kts(wot).....so you can run this boat however you like and get the same mileage on plane. You’ll spend easily $25-35k for a platform depending on who you go with.
     
  9. Torgny

    Torgny New Member

    25
    Jul 5, 2017
    Sweden
    370 Sundancer 1995
    Cummins 6BTA 5.9l 370 hp Diesel
    Princess and Fairline 40ft and bigger is very nice boats. Well built nice interior but expensive.
    I hope my english is deccent
    Torgny.
     
  10. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    Keep in mind that the Meridians in the years you specified were made in one of the Sea Ray factories. The idea was to deliver Sea Ray quality at a lower selling price. Many of us questioned the notion of building boats in the same factory and distributing th em thru the same marketing channel so they that competed head to head in the market.........but that is history and we see how it turned out.

    To achieve that goal, however, the designers and engineers removed a lot of weight. Reduced weight equated to lighter structure. The result was well thought out and designed sedan style boats that performed well with light loads, however, as size went up, so did the need for diesel torque and power.

    I've run the 341, 391 and 541's. These are as well executed as you would expect any Sea Ray designed/built boat to be in terms of fit and finish and space utilization. The weight savings came at the cost of lighter construction techniques and components like prefabricated cabinetry and molded cabinet liners, acrylic as opposed to wood or glass cabinet doors and a lighter layup. Space utilization is excellent, but they will rattle and squeek in rough water since the hull deck joint, cabinetry, etc. will flex. These are not blue water boats since the structure lightening leads to more flex. For example; one of the lightening methods on the 341 was to reduce the hull and deck layup schedule so that a thwart-ship brace was added that extended across the engine hatch, a perfectly sound way to strengthen the hull deck assembly.

    However, sometimes the unexpected happens. The last 341 I ran was powered by 8.1 gas engines. My boat is kept at one of the leading Sea Ray servicing dealers. We see some Sea Ray, Whaler, and Meridian boats that other dealers haven't been able to satisfactorily repair. This particular 341 dropped a valve that required an engine replacement. The selling dealer sawed the cross brace out, replaced the engine, then glued the brace back in using silicone caulking. As it turned out, the engine was low on oil and locked up the first time the owner used it. Sea Ray had the boat delivered to our marina for repair where the bad engine was replaced for the second time and the cross brace was removed and properly glassed back in place. The point here is not that an engine failed or that less than correct repair methods were used, but rather that if you decide on a 341, some repairs can be expensive just to access parts of the 341.

    As far as the gas 341 goes, empty, is a decent performing boat. But I suspect when they are loaded with the typical "stuff" we all carry, plus several passengers, the performance will become sluggish. One thing for sure is that the Meridian gas powered boat will burn about 2X the fuel that a diesel version will at cruise speeds.

    Turning up the power or upgrading the output of a diesel engine is done by adjusting the injector size and/or timing, increasing pump pressures or changing or reprogramming the engine control computers on newer common rail engines like the QSB or QSC engines to increase the fuel injected. All of the above do only one thing.....increasing the amount of fuel the engine burns. Fuel contains energy and power is generated by converting fuel to energy as BTU's of fuel is burned in the engine. Therefore, increasing the output of a diesel engine never increases efficiency because you get the increase in power by increasing the amount of fuel burned.

    For boating in rivers and inland waterways, coastal or near coast operation it would be hard to beat a Meridian at the price point you indicated, but you will be a lot happier with the 391 diesel version than the 341 gas version.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  11. tugger

    tugger New Member

    27
    Nov 11, 2019
    boatless
    boatless
    Thank u fwebster and others. What do you mean "these are not blue water boats"? I don't know what that term means. I would not go smaller than the 391 in a meridian so does this term after u explain it apply to the 391 and larger? Thanks, I wish we were talking cars, I know a lot more about them!!! LOL
     
  12. flyboycj84

    flyboycj84 Member

    86
    Feb 20, 2014
    Merritt Island FL
    2008 Meridian 391
    QSB 5.9
    He’s trying to say that you can’t take a Meridian in the ocean. Which is bs.
     
  13. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    There is no precise definition except to say that blue water boats have enough tankage and enough displacement to be blue water capable. Blue water is a place in the ocean where you are too far from land for a helicopter to come pluck you out of the water is your boat proves to not be able to withstand 45 kt. winds and breaking seas. Another factor is whether or not the skipper is blue water capable.

    Meridians are not blue water boats..........I'd run one to the Bahamas on a good day. But not in 35+kt winds and heavy breaking seas, but I've got 30 years experience in boats over 40 ft.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  14. Robf

    Robf Member

    305
    Apr 17, 2013
    Winfield, WV
    2006 44 Sedan Bridge (Pending)
    Twin Cummins QSC 500s
    Webster
    Thank you for that detailed and informative response. That helped me in various areas of my decision regarding diesels as well as Sea Ray versus Meridian.
    Rob
     
  15. Robf

    Robf Member

    305
    Apr 17, 2013
    Winfield, WV
    2006 44 Sedan Bridge (Pending)
    Twin Cummins QSC 500s
    Webster
    A follow up to that thought, be interested in your opinion given your obvious experience and knowledge. Looking at decision between a Meridian 391 Gas or Diesel, a Meridian 341 Gas, or Sea Ray 44 Sedan Bridge with Cummins Diesels. Your opinion on the quality and seaworthiness of the boats and which one you would get if price was not a factor.
    rob
     
  16. Fly'n Family

    Fly'n Family Active Member

    767
    Sep 19, 2013
    TX / CO
    2008 Meridian 341
    2004 Boston Whaler Sport 130 w/40 hp Merc
    6.2's
    Sometimes one hesitates to call BS, but I'm going to have to on some of the replies in this thread - and this coming from a guy that owned Sea Rays for 20+ years straight.

    You can look at my pic, and see what I presently run - and will be sticking with for quite some time. Meridians are awesome. I run an 08' 341 with gassers. If I was in salt, I'd be in one with diesels, and probably a 391 if I was running back and forth to the islands - but I'm landlocked and this is a fantastic boat.

    The one single drawback on my 08' 341 gasser is fuel burn, though for me on a lake it's a non-factor for all the other benefits. I average about .65 gpm, which isn't great. A diesel changes that considerably. Once past that, a Meridian is hands down a fantastic boat. Fit and finish? Owned plenty of SR's, the fit and finish would be hard to distinguish between the two. Space? Hands down Meridian has this won, by a long shot. Their use of space and functionality is heads and shoulders above other Sedan Bridges, regardless of the size. Sorry, but I looked at a 420SB, and my little 341 has a much better, and more functional layout. Flybridge layout and space? Forget it....this is what sold us on the Meridian as it blows away anyone else on a foot by foot basis by a wide margin.

    Anything that floats is awesome...but we went from 39LOA, to 43LOA…..to now our "little" Meridian with 36LOA - and it makes all our previous boats look silly in space and function. A 391 with diesels is one bad mofo…...and if you want bigger, skip the 411 and go for the 441 if the pocket book allows. Oh, and as a stock item on all Meridians, they have DOC - dock on command. I use the sticks in most conditions, but when the wind is howling - which it is often where I'm at - it matters not as the DOC system joins the use of both bow and stern thrusters - stock. While everyone else is sitting in their slip griping about the stiff wind - I'm out, and not sweating it in the slightest. Easily another 20+ days/year of worry free boating than the rest of the folks because of this stock feature.....Love this vessel.....wish I had gone to a Sedan Bridge (regardless of brand) a helluva long time ago.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2019
  17. bbwhitejr

    bbwhitejr Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Apr 14, 2013
    Lake Lanier GA
    2007 44DB
    Cummins QSC 8.3s
    Remember one thing...this thread is nothing more than opinions....my dock neighbor has a ‘04 Meridian 341 with 6.2L gassers. While it is an great boat, there is no comparison between it and the 44DB. Sorry, just totally different boats from a fit/finish and performance standpoint. Best thing is for you to spend time on both as “your opinion” is the one that matters....

    Bennett
     
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  18. fwebster

    fwebster Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor PLATINUM Sponsor

    Oct 6, 2006
    Middle Tennessee ; Panama City Beach, FL
    1996 450DA
    3116 Caterpillars
    /


    To answer your question, understand that I take a long tern view of owning any big ticket investment. Of the 4 boats you listed, I would pick the 44DB Sea Ray with QSC Cummins not because of any known quality or seaworthiness history on Meridians, but because the 44DB Sea Rays are and have always been a high demand boat so the quality of your investment will be better than with a brand that was designed to be a low cost competitor for comparable Sea Ray models. I remember when you bought the 390MY and note that you have now sold it. Given that fairly short span of time, would you rather have had the money invested in a high demand Sea Ray or a boat designed to be a cheaper boat than a SR?

    I am not going to debate the positives of the Meridian line because they are decent boats for the market they were intended to serve. I never said you "Can't take them in salt water" and the accusations that I did are B.S. What I did say was this: "Brunswick engineers and designers lightened the Meridian structure and used less than robust interior construction that leaves owners with with a boat that can slam and bang in heavy seas which causes creaks, squeaks and rattles in the interior as components move about on their mountings. Meridians were meant to be a lower cost sedan bridge than SR models and they were.

    Meridians were meant to be decent coastal cruisers. What they are not are boats intended for for use in rough offshore conditions.
     
  19. flyboycj84

    flyboycj84 Member

    86
    Feb 20, 2014
    Merritt Island FL
    2008 Meridian 391
    QSB 5.9
    Lots of stones being thrown at Meridian.....which is cool.....i mean, it IS a SeaRay forum after all....I get it.

    Hey, how’s SeaRay doing with their $100 million plus in warranty claims on their L-Class??? You know.....glass house and all.
     
  20. Carpediem44DB

    Carpediem44DB Well-Known Member PLATINUM Sponsor

    702
    Aug 18, 2015
    Sanfransico Bay area
    2006 44 DB Sedan Bridge Raymarine gs165 w Quantum HD Radar
    Achilles 350 Dink
    Nick Jackson Davit
    Cummins QSC 8.3 500 HD
    I hesitate to chime in but I don't see any Meridian Bashing going on, just really sound opinions from highly qualified members. I don't think you'll will find anyone with knowledge and experience of Searay and Meridian boats that will say the Meridian is equal to the Searay. Just look at the market prices for instance. It doesn't mean Meridian isn't a fine boat for its intended use and price point. In many ways Meridian, like Carver, designed more utility into their boats for their intended market. Having owned the 44DB and Cruised with and spent time on several Meridians and Carvers, I'm glad I spent the extra hundred grand on the same year model Searay and haven't looked back.
    Carpe Diem
     
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