Meridian’s yachts survive Charley, dealer meetings don’t

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Although the eye of Hurricane Charley made landfall just 20 miles from the marina where Meridian Yachts had assembled its fleet for the company’s first-ever dealers meetings, the boats survived the storm unharmed. But Meridian was forced to postpone the meetings, the company said in a release yesterday.

Power, communications and a number of windows were knocked out at the Sanibel Harbour Resort, where the meetings were scheduled to be held. The Meridian staff split into two teams before the hurricane came ashore, one heading south to Bonita Bay, Fla., to weather the storm, and a smaller team going just a short trip from the boats to Englewood, Fla. All Meridian personnel came through the storm without incident.

“After the storm passed, everyone was anxious to see how the boats fared,” said Paul Cherney, vice-president of Meridian Yachts. “There were many downed power lines, trees and traffic signals that delayed a trip to the boats, but when we got there we were excited and proud to see them standing tall.

“We had a team of more than 20 employees in the area and they deserve a great deal of credit for securing the boats in their slips. Once we had them as secure as possible, all we could do was wait.”

Cherney said the company still plans to hold its dealer meeting and is working on alternative schedules. The details will be figured out shortly.

“Everyone understands the situation and they have told us they are eager to join us when plans are finalized,” Cherney said. “Our dealers have been terrific.”

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