Rhodes Meridian

 Design Number 719
24 LOA fiberglass stock sloop "Meridian"
for Seafarer Yachts (Huntington Long Island N.Y.),  1961.
24'9" loa, 17'6" lwl, 7'0" beam, 3'3" draft.

The Meridian was Rhodes' pocket cruiser with his distinctive imprint.  The Meridian's profile is virtually identical to his large racer-cruisers -- the same beautiful sheer, the same bold bow, the same full keel and attached rudder.  The doghouse is a bit larger, to get headroom.  The Meridian has a proper self bailing cockpit and a proper bridge deck, both needed for safety.  She could have either an inboard engine, or an outboard tucked almost invisably under the aft deck in the lazarret.

The interior contained all the essentials for cozy cruising.  There is a full galley, a partly enclosed head, and a main cabin.  To get four bunks into such a short boat was no easy feat.  Rhodes solved this problem by having the feet of the main cabin seats/berth extend aft, under the galley and bridge deck.  Also, the head was under the forward vee berth, and therefore did not require interior length.

The original design was built for Seafarer Yachts by  G. de Vries Lentch Jr., a well established yard with an excellent reputation in Holland. De Vries had done a lot of steel construction, and, as other builders, was making a transition into fiberglass construction. 

Over the years, the builders made various modifications to the windows, hull, and keel.  In the mid 1960's, the Vinyard Model was enlarged a bit -- length up 10" to 25'7', beam up 3" to 7'3", draft up 4" to 3'7" -- and given a bit more headroom.    A Bermuda model was advertised in 1965, with a larger cockpit and a smaller cabin.   Another update in the late 1960's gave her a fin keel and detached rudder on a skeg.  Other model names include Chesapeake, Mackinac, Stratford.

Links to other web resources on Meridian

Meridian Photos
Initial brochure/Specifications:

The Meridian is the little sister of the well known "Swiftsure."  Both plastic sailing yachts have been designed by Philip L. Rhodes of New York.  The "Meridian" meets all requirements which can be expected of a cruising yacht with sleeping accommodation for 4 persons.

The cabin has full headroom (6 ft) and is provided with galley space on both sides of the steps.   In the middle of the galley, behind the steps, an icebox is installed.  The water pump over the sink is connected to a water tank, which has a total capacity of 19 Imp. gallons.

Beneath the steps and the berths there is sufficient space available for storing food, cutlery, blankets, etc.

In the fore cabin between the two berths a toilet is installed below the waterline.  The berths are fitted with washable foam rubber mattresses.

Teak cabin sole.  The roomy cockpit is very attractive and offers sufficient space for 4 to 6 persons.  The lockers beneath the cockpit seats can be used for storing sails, mooring warps, etc.

A separate outboard well enables an outboard motor of up to 10 hp to be used.  A cover enables the well to be locked up. (An inboard engine was offered as a possible option.)

It is not necessary to remove this cover during sailing as the outboard engine can be controlled from the cockpit.  There is also space for the fuel tank in the well.

The technical data of the "Meridian" are as follows:

The boats were built with lead ballast bolted to the hull, a bronze rudder stock and sole, self bailing cockpit, and a hollow spruce mast and boom.

Owner's Enthusiastic Comments

I owned a Meridian with a single-digit hull number; it was built by De Vries Lentsch in 1961. The ballast keel on my boat was of cast-iron (rather than lead as your page suggests), supposedly from recycled Panzer tank armor (!). I can second one owner's remarks on her sailing qualities: I found she'd hold any course, in just about any wind, without a hand on the tiller. She was a great little boat.  captbls"at"gmail.com

I own a Meridian 26 named Saartje.   I bought her about 2 years ago. The cockpit coamings  were totally rotten, but still in shape. So I made a pattern out of them and made new ones using 4 layers of water resistant mahogany planks glued into shape using epoxy. The boat is in Amsterdam in the canals for the winter at the moment.  Besir Amcaoglu <B.Amcaoglu"at"finansbank-nl.com>

Another Meridian in Holland: 
From: Harmen Meijer <harmen-meijer"at"hetnet.nl> 
Meridian  No. 67  Yard no. 6227  Year 1962 
Builder Amsterdam Shipyard Inc.  G. de Vries Lentsch jr. 
The boat is totaly original with wooden mast and boom. 
A Johnson 15 HP outboard 2 stroke motor.

The following information is adapted from information about a Meridian that was sold a few years ago.

Classic lines and effortless sailing define this Philip Rhodes design. A complete yacht by any measure. She's outfitted with quality hardware and bronze thru-hulls and fittings. Overhangs at both ends give her a traditional look that never fails to turn heads. Overbuilt and strong. 

Masthead Sloop 
Designer: Philip Rhodes 
Builder: Seafarer (1966) 
Model: Meridian Vineyard 
LOA: 25'7" 
Beam: 7'3" 
Draft: 3'7"       Note: If these figures are correct, the revised Meridian was a bit wider and deeper. 
Displacement: 5,000 
Ballast: 2750 
Tankage: Fuel: 6 gal., Water: 12 gal 

CONSTRUCTION: Fiberglass hull and deck.  Tiller steering, full keel, keel mounted rudder. Four large and four small bronze fixed ports; teak coamings and other trim; bronze hardware. 

RIGGING and WINCHES: Aluminum mast and boom, SS wire standing rigging, dacron running rigging, genoa halyard winch, Wilcox-Critterdon sheet winches, genoa sheet track, end boom sheeting, mainsheet traveler, boom down haul, mainsail out haul, topping lift. 

ELECTRONICS and NAVIGATION: Compass (1998), LORAN, Depth sounder/Fishfinder, Horizon VHF radio. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: V berth forward, enclosed head next aft on starboard, hanging locker opposite, port and starboard settees, removable table, two-burner alcohol stove and SS sink on port side of companionway, ice box on starboard side, two cockpit seat lockers and lazarette. 

ENGINE: Mercury 8 hp (1996 model, first used 1998) outboard with fuel tank (1998). Engine placed in lazarette. 

ELECTRICAL: 12 volt battery system for navigation and interior lights; shore power with outlets. 12 volt deep cycle marine battery. Uni-Sol flexi solar panel recharging system. 

MECHANICAL: Manual bilge pump system (1998). Manual water supply (new pump 1998). 

SAILS and CANVAS: Main (2), #1 genoa, working jib, drifter type nylon sail. 

MISCELLANEOUS: Fenders, docklines, two anchors, chain, rode, cabin fan,  8 foot dinghy with oars. 

NOTES: Standing (6'2") headroom. Full cushions throughout including cockpit. Electric lighting in all areas. Gimbaled oil lamp in main salon. Anchor mounted on foredeck  Rode fed thru howser into rope locker below decks. Spare anchor and rode. Electrical switch panel. Icebox has access from cockpit and main cabin. Teak cabin walls, doors and trim.  Teak and formica folding table in main cabin. Teak lined galley storage area. Teak bottle rack. Gas BarBQ w/SS removable mount Deluxe porta toilet with holding tank Three storage shelves in head. Privacy doors. New 6 gal fuel tank w/pressure monitor and indicator. Two lockers in main salon (1-port,
1-starboard). Two lockers in V berth (1-port, 1-starboard). Variable speed fan in V berth. New sheets -main & jib. 2 winch handles. Roller furling boom. Mainsail adjustments at mast: Luff rope, topping lift, downhaul, uphaul and outhaul. Awning. Burgee halyard. Anti-cormorant system on spreaders. All coast guard safety  equipment. 4 life vests. Flare kit. Whistle, distress flag, etc. Fire extinguishers (2). Teak framed screens for companionway. V
berth screens. 

More memories of a Meridian and the Evolution of Meridian

Originally the Meridian  was a 25 (24'8") and built in Holland.  The one you list (above) for sale is quite different from the original.  I think ours was a '63, and Dutch built. There was no interior wood, except maybe a handhold or boards under the bunks, and the companionway steps.  The rest was molded fiberglass, but the spars on the other hand, were wood (mahogony, I think). 

In several different locations inside there was this recurring motif - the smooth rounded molded fiberglass openings to different compartments.  There was one at the tip of the V-berth leading to the  anchor locker (though there was no hatch, just a screw open brass plate, I think, sort of hawse to the deck), and in the main cabin each berth had one of these rounded fiberglass openings where they extended aft under the counter space of the galley, the so called "footwells" of the two quarterberths.  Headroom was just at or under 6 feet, I think. 

There was a daring structural feature; my father always observed (he's an architect) that the designers were clearly having fun seeing what they could do with fiberglass.  Under the mast, there was no compression post but rather a fiberglass bulkhead, one inch thick that went clear across and from floor to ceiling, with another smooth, rounded entrance in the middle to the v-berth which had that morocan harem-type doorway shape, wider and rounded at the top, like a mushroom or a phallus. 

And how the Meridian sailed!  My mother always recited the slogan, "She ghosts in a Zephyr," which she said appeared somewhere in the literature about the boat.  The helm was so perfectly balanced that you could hold the tiller with a pinky and I remember one fine day on a 10-day cruise  that my father let go the tiller and she sailed all day on that one tack.  The tiller wasn't even locked. 

Some came with a prop aperture, and could be fitted with an inboard engine - perhaps an atomic four.  I did see one in 1993 with the inboard.  She had a cockpit floor doorway to the engine compartment I believe. 

In Henderson's book, the Meridian is correct as the shorter original version.  There were changes with time.  I saw hull #2 once.  I just remember it was different.  Some had single mahogony lift seats on each side of the cockpit to access the lockers, some had two on each side for better access.  The Seafarer came later and changes were made, whether by Rhodes or Seafarer, I don't know.

Meridian for sale:
In North Kingstown RI, asking $2,000.  (July 16, 2006)
Contact  <wayne-mary@cox.net>

Website Revised July 16,  2006 
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