The Mason 53 Sailboat
Specs & Key Performance Indicators

The Mason 53, a staysail ketch, was designed by Al Mason and built in Taiwan by the Ta Shing Yacht Building Company.

A Mason 53 staysail ketchA Mason 53 staysail ketch sailing to windward under a full headsail and mizzen

Published Specification for the Mason 53

Underwater Profile: Long fin keel

Hull Material: GRP (Fibreglass)

Length Overall: 53'6" (16.3m)

Waterline Length: 39'9" (12.1m)

Beam: 14'10" (4.5m)

Draft: 6'10" (2.1m)

Rig Type: Staysail ketch

Displacement: 38,600lb (17,509kg)

Designer: Al Mason

Builder: Ta Shing Yacht Building (Taiwan)

Year First Built: 1982

Year Last Built: 1989

Published Design Ratios for the Mason 53

1. Sail Area/Displacement Ratio: 17.1

  • Less than 16 would be considered under-powered;
  • 16 to 20 would indicate reasonably good performance;
  • Over 20 suggests relatively high performance.

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 37.2

  • Under 40: less stiff, less powerful
  • Over 40: stiffer, more powerful

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 274

  • Under 100: Ultralight
  • 100 to 200: Light
  • 200 to 275: Moderate
  • 275 to 350: Heavy
  • Over 350: Ultraheavy

4. Comfort Ratio: 37.5

  • Under 20 indicates a lightweight racing boat
  • 20 to 30 indicates a coastal cruiser
  • 30 to 40 indicates a moderate offshore cruising boat
  • 40 to 50 indicates a heavy offshore boat
  • Over 50 indicates an extremely heavy offshore boat

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.8

  • Under 2.0 (the lower the better): Better suited for ocean passages
  • Over 2.0: Less suited for ocean passages

read more about these Key Performance Indicators...

Summary Analysis of the Design Ratios for the Mason 53

1. A Sail Area/Displacement Ratio of 17.1 suggests that the Mason 53 will need a stiff breeze to get her going. In light conditions, unless you've got plenty of time on your hands, motor-sailing may be the way to go.

2. A Ballast/Displacement Ratio of 37.2 means that a sailboat like the Mason 53 (which doesn't have its ballast concentrated in a bulb at the foot of a deep keel), is likely to benefit from being reefed early to keep her sailing upright in a moderate breeze.

3. A Displacement/Length Ratio of 274, tells us the Mason 53 is a moderate displacement cruiser, which means she'll carry all your cruising gear without it having a dramatic effect on her performance. Most of today's sailboats intended for offshore cruising fall into this displacement category.

4. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio of 37.5 suggests that crew comfort of a Mason 53 in a seaway is similar to what you would associate with the motion of a moderate bluewater cruising boat - a predictable and acceptable motion for most seasoned sailors.

5. The Capsize Screening Formula (CSF) of 1.8 tells us that a Mason 53 would be a safer choice of sailboat for an ocean passage than one with a CSF of more than 2.0. 


Other sailboats in the Mason range include:

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