The Mason 43 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Mason 43, a heavy displacement long keeled cruiser, was designed by Al Mason and built in Taiwan by Ta Shing Yacht Building.

'Artemis', Mason 43 staysail ketch at anchor in Prickly Bay, Grenada, West IndiesMany thanks to Sally & Al Pribyl for this pic of their Mason 43 staysail ketch 'Artemis', at anchor in Prickly Bay, Grenada.

The Mason 43 is a sailboat that has captivated many sailing enthusiasts with its exceptional features and performance. Built by Ta Shing Yacht Building in Taiwan, the boat represents a blend of traditional craftsmanship with modern design, resulting in a vessel that's not only aesthetically pleasing but also highly functional.

Published Specification for the Mason 43

Underwater Profile: Long keel

Hull Material: GRP

Length Overall: 43'10" (13.40 m)

Waterline Length: 31' 3" (9.53 m)

Beam: 12'3" (3.73 m)

Draft: 6' 3" (1.91 m)

Rig Type: Cutter, but also available as a staysail ketch

Displacement: 25,000 lb (11,340 kg)

Designer: Al Mason

Builder: Ta Shing Yacht Building (Taiwan)

Year First Built: 1978

Year Last Built: 1985

Number Built: 180

Design Ratios: The Key Performance Indicators

Let's take a look at the design ratios of the Mason 43 sailboat:

  • The Sail Area/Displacement Ratio is a measure of the sailboat's speed potential. For the Mason 43, this ratio is roughly 15.5, indicating that it performs well in light to moderate winds.
  • The Ballast/Displacement Ratio is around 40%, highlighting its stability and stiffness. This ratio indicates that the Mason 43 has a good amount of ballast relative to its weight, which helps it stay upright in strong winds.
  • The Displacement/Length Ratio is approximately 327, which is relatively high. This suggests that the Mason 43 is a heavy cruiser, designed for long-distance sailing and able to handle rough sea conditions well.
  • The Comfort Ratio of the Mason 43 is around 38.2. This ratio is a gauge of the vessel's motion comfort, suggesting that the Mason 43 provides a very comfortable ride, especially in rough waters.
  • The Capsize Screening Formula for the Mason 43 is about 1.65, which is below the commonly accepted safe limit of 2.0. This indicates that the Mason 43 is considered a safer boat in terms of stability and resistance to capsize.

Based on these design ratios, it can be predicted that the Mason 43 will perform admirably in a range of conditions. It is a vessel designed for long-distance cruising, offering a good balance of speed and stability, with a comfortable ride in challenging seas.

But just how reliable are these Design Ratios?

Interior Layout

The interior of the Mason 43 sailboat is designed for comfortable long-distance cruising. It typically features two staterooms, providing ample accommodation for a family or several guests.

The forward stateroom usually includes a v-berth, while the aft master stateroom often features a double berth. Both staterooms generally have adequate storage space, with lockers and drawers for personal belongings.

The vessel usually has one or two heads (bathrooms), often with a shower. The heads are typically equipped with a manual or electric marine toilet, a sink, and storage space.

The galley (kitchen) on a Mason 43 is designed for functionality at sea. It typically includes a stove, an oven, a refrigerator, and a double sink. There's usually ample counter space for food preparation and plenty of storage for cookware and provisions.

The main salon is spacious and comfortable, often featuring a dining area with a large table and seating. The salon is typically lined with quality woodwork, adding to the overall charm and warmth of the interior.

While the standard interior layout is the most popular choice, there are also alternatives available. Some Mason 43 models feature a two-cabin layout, with a larger master cabin and a smaller guest cabin.

Exterior Features

The exterior features of the Mason 43 include a full keel design with cutaway forefoot, a spacious cockpit, and a traditional cutter rig. The deck is wide and uncluttered, providing ample space for crew movement.

The rigging of the Mason 43 is sturdy and designed for easy handling. It features a roller furling jib, a staysail, and a full-batten mainsail. The rigging system is designed to handle a variety of wind conditions, making the Mason 43 a versatile sailing vessel.

The Mason 43's hull design is one of its standout features. Its solid fiberglass construction and full keel design provide excellent stability and seakeeping abilities. The hull shape also contributes to the boat's comfortable motion at sea.

The Rig & Sailplan

The Mason 43 typically sports a cutter rig, which is a versatile and efficient sail plan favored by many long-distance cruisers. This sail plan includes a mainsail, a staysail (a smaller sail set between the mast and the bow), and a headsail (jib). The arrangement of these sails provides a good balance of power and flexibility, allowing the Mason 43 to perform well under various wind conditions.

The cutter rig's versatility comes from the ability to use different combinations of sails. For example, in lighter winds, all three sails can be used for maximum power. In stronger winds, the headsail can be furled, and the boat can be sailed on the staysail and mainsail, which is a more balanced and manageable setup.

Some Mason 43s were also produced as staysail ketches like the one in the pic at the top of this page, which reduces the area of individual sails and provides even more flexibility.

In a Nutshell

The Mason 43 is a cruising sailboat known for its solid construction, exceptional design, and excellent handling at sea. It's a full-keel, cutter-rigged vessel that was first introduced in the late 1970s.

Designed by naval architect Al Mason, the Mason 43 is built for long-distance cruising and offers a combination of comfort and performance. It's often recognized for its seaworthiness and ability to handle a variety of weather conditions, making it a popular choice among serious sailors and cruisers.

The interior of the Mason 43 typically features two staterooms, a full galley, and a spacious main salon, providing comfortable living quarters for extended voyages. The woodwork inside is often praised for its quality and craftsmanship.

Under sail, the Mason 43 is known for its stability and smooth motion. The full keel design contributes to its tracking ability and overall performance under various sailing conditions.

Overall, the Mason 43 is a classic, well-respected cruising sailboat that offers a blend of comfort, performance, and seaworthiness.

I wrote this article using GPT-4, OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model, as a research assistant to develop source material. I wrote the final draft in its entirety and believe it to be accurate to the best of my knowledge.

Dick McClary, creator and owner of

Other sailboats in the Mason range include:

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