New million dollar, 49-ft. yacht that can be put on autopilot may be largest private craft on the big lake

LACONIA — A nearly 50-foot long high-tech yacht with state-of-the-art electronics which enable it to maintain its position without human intervention will be launched in Paugus Bay from Irwin Marine this weekend.
''It's the top of the line for inland yachting,'' says Kevin McCarthy, Irwin Marine salesman, who added that the Meridian 441 Sedan was custom-ordered and delivered earlier this month to Lakeport, where it is being outfitted and prepared for launch.
McCarthy says the yacht measures 49 feet long and has a beam of over 14 feet and has a luxurious interior which features two staterooms: a master suite, located forward with a queen-size island berth, and spacious amidship guest stateroom, which spans the yacht's beam.
It has a salon, a U-shaped dinette and the full-service galley.
He said that the owner, a long-time Irwin Marine customer, will be living on board for most of the summer. ''It's like a big home on the water, where you have everything you need to be comfortable.''
McCarthy said the Meridian line of boats is a subsidiary of Sea Ray, the line of boats Irwin's has featured for about 40 years.
''It was quite a trip getting it here from Florida. We had to use a special route because the yacht is so high there are bridges it couldn't pass under.'' said McCarthy.
The yacht is powered by a twin MerCruiser Diesel Zeus Pod system, and each engine produces 459 horsepower.
Seven computers are used to run the boat's navigation system, which is operated by a joystick and linked directly to a GPS system which enables the boat to be operated by autopilot.
''We call it the skyhook system. You can put in on autopilot and it will maintain its position without any problem, even adjusting for winds and tides,'' says McCarthy.
''It's probably the biggest (private) boat on the lake,'' says McCarthy, who said that the custom ordered boat cost $1 million.

Nearly 50 feet long, a Meridian yacht will be launched this weekend from Irwin Marine in Lakeport. When this photo was taken it had yet been fitted with its upper-deck bridge. Filled with state of the art electronics and powered by two 459 horsepower diesel engines, the yacht cost $1 million. (Roger Amsden photo for the Daily Sun)