Sailing enthusiasts around the world love being on the water. As one’s skills improve the choice of vessel may change. Some would like faster more nimble yachts while others larger and more luxurious vessels.

In 1984 Tony Bradfield was starting a hydraulics company in Cape Town, South Africa. He is a mechanical/ hydraulic engineer and a brilliant problem solver. He was contracted by the Maritime industry to perform repairs, maintenance and upgrades on a variety of vessels.

Meridian’s experience in marine hydraulic system design stems from its background in supplying high reliability systems to commercial vessels. Meridian has designed and built hydraulic steering systems for 60,000-ton 260m long container vessels to Lloyds Classification for SAFMARINE/ MAERSK.

Tony is a passionate sailor and found in the 90’s that he couldn’t get the support and equipment that he needed in South Africa to maintain and upgrade his own vessel.

This provided an opportunity to apply his experience as a hydraulic systems designer to his passion for sailing. Through countless hours of calculation and trial and error Meridian Systems has developed powerful and reliable systems for the yachting industry.

In 1994 Meridian Systems completed The Sloop Corsa V a 141 foot (43meters) its first vessel over 100 foot.

Special system features include:

  • Multiple independent pump units supplying a central isolation and distribution manifold.
  • An oil distribution system based on independent branches, all/any of which can be isolated.
  • Design such that a single failure is unlikely to cause the whole system to fail or become completely unserviceable.
  • High reliability Danfoss PVG and HAWE Valves.
  • High quality flared pipework fittings with soft sealing.
  • PLC Control System with Modem for providing assistance remotely.
  • Control System with multi-speed service operation, programmable directly and easily from the touch screen.
  • Multi-Mode operation changes the operating speeds of winches (or groups of winches) for optimum sail handling efficiency under regatta conditions.
  • Separate “hard wired” DC control panel faciliates operation under breakdown conditions, even when the PLC is totally unserviceable.
  • Meridian’s Controlled Release Modules for cylinder powered services ensure highly loaded services can be operated safely with predictable control. These modules can be integrated into the Danfoss PVG valve banks, reducing the amount of pipework and resulting in a very compact solution. CRM’s are also available for Boom Vangs, providing highly efficient Multi-Speed Operation. Note CRM module integrated into the Danfoss PVG valve bank below…it can be seen adjacent to the 3rd solenoid on the left hand side of the valve group.


Since then Meridian Systems have completed many other projects.

  • Sloop Corsta V 141’ (43m
  • J Class – SY Velsheda;
  • SY Hamilton II (CNB 116’ (35m)),
  • SY Wally B (107’ Wally);
  • SY Alexia (Wally 100’),
  • SY Narrida (Wally 105’),
  • SY Sunshine (90’ Morelli Melvin Catarmaran),
  • SY Nazgul (Spirit 76’),
  • SY Galatea (Spirit 74’), as well as those for the
  • Spirit 60’; 65’; 65R’ & 100’;
  • Judel Vrojlik JV 45 and
  • JV 60;
  • Zeydon 60’;
  • Far 95’;
  • SY Farr Bay (Far 80)………


  • Gunboat 90

In 2008 we chose with work to Tony Bradfield and Meridian Systems because of the dependability of his systems, his customer service and business integrity.  In the fall of 2010, the system was commissioned on the Gunboat 90.

We have sailed an average of 200 days a year since then. The system has been reliable and Tony has always been available to assist in any way.  We have sailed 78000 logged miles since launching without any system failures.  If you have any questions, please free to call.


Captain Tommy Gonzalez

  • Velsheda

The hydraulic package that Meridian Systems supplied to Velsheda increased our system Performance by over 150%. It has been faultless through our ten years of cruising and racing and has been straight forward to maintain and service through this period.

The supplied equipment was designed and built to a high standard and we received very good support as required.

I recommend Meridian to any custom project

-Barnaby Henshaw

Master Velsheda – JK7

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