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. This 53-foot staysail ketch (or cutter) features a long fin keel, a spacious cockpit, and a comfortable interior with ample storage and sleeping space.

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

2. Ballast/Displacement Ratio: 37.2

3. Displacement/Length Ratio: 274

4. Comfort Ratio: 37.5

5. Capsize Screening Formula: 1.8

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. 

Any Questions?

What alternative versions of the Mason 53 were built?

The Mason 53 was available in two versions: an aft cockpit and a centre cockpit. The aft cockpit version had a larger main salon and a smaller aft cabin, while the centre cockpit version had a smaller main salon and a larger aft cabin with an ensuite head. Both versions could be rigged as a cutter or a staysail ketch.

How did the sailing press review the Mason 53?

The sailing press generally praised the Mason 53 for its beauty, craftsmanship, comfort, and performance. For example, Sail magazine described it as "a yacht of uncommon grace and style" that "sails like a dream" in its review in 1984. Cruising World magazine also complimented it as "a superbly crafted vessel" that "offers excellent sailing characteristics" in its review in 1998.

Is the Mason 53 still in production and, if not, when did production end and how many of these sailboats were built?

The Mason 53 is no longer in production. The last boat was built in 1989. The exact number of boats built is not known, but some sources estimate around 30 to 40 units.

What do owners of the Mason 53 have to say about their boats?

Owners of the Mason 53 tend to be very satisfied with their boats and often keep them for a long time. They appreciate the boat's solid construction, spacious layout, ample storage, and easy handling. They also enjoy the boat's classic charm and reputation as a proven bluewater cruiser. Some of the common issues that owners report are related to maintenance, such as leaks, corrosion, and outdated systems.

What is the history of the builders of the Mason 53 and is the company still in business?

The builders of the Mason 53 are Ta Shing Yacht Building Ltd, a Taiwanese company founded in 1977 by two brothers, Tim and George Huang. Ta Shing started as a subcontractor for other boat manufacturers, such as Pacific Seacraft and Passport Yachts, before developing its own brand of sailboats under the name of Mason. Ta Shing also built powerboats under the name of Nordhavn. Ta Shing is still in business today and continues to produce high-quality yachts for various clients.

How many people can sleep on board a Mason 53?

The Mason 53 can sleep up to six people on board. The boat has three cabins: a forward cabin with a V-berth, an aft cabin with a double berth (or two single berths in the centre cockpit version), and a midship cabin with upper and lower berths. The boat also has two heads, one forward and one aft.

What is the Mason 53 like to sail?

The Mason 53 is a pleasure to sail in most conditions. It is well-balanced, responsive, and stable. It can handle light winds as well as heavy seas with ease. It has a moderate speed potential and can reach up to 9 knots in favourable winds. It is also easy to manoeuvre and dock, thanks to its bow thruster and powerful engine.

What is the average cost of a secondhand Mason 53?

The average cost of a secondhand Mason 53 depends on the year, condition, and equipment of the boat. According to some online listings, the price range for a used Mason 53 is between $200,000 and $400,000 USD.

How does the Mason 53 compare to other sailboats in its class?

The Mason 53 is comparable to other sailboats in its class, such as the Hylas 54, the Tayana 55, the Valiant 50, and the Passport 51. All of these boats are similar in size, design, and performance. They are all well-built, comfortable, and seaworthy bluewater cruisers. However, they also have some differences in terms of layout, rigging, equipment, and price. For example, the Hylas 54 has a centre cockpit and a sloop rig; the Tayana 55 has an aft cockpit and a cutter or ketch rig; the Valiant 50 has an aft cockpit and a cutter rig; and the Passport 51 has a centre cockpit and a cutter or ketch rig.

What other sailboats have been created by the designer of the Mason 53?

The designer of the Mason 53 is Alvin Mason, an American naval architect who specialized in cruising sailboats. He also designed other sailboats for Ta Shing Yacht Building Ltd., such as the Mason 33, the Mason 43, and the Mason 64. He also designed sailboats for other builders, such as the Allied Princess 36, the Allied Mistress 39, the Gulfstar Hirsh 45, and the Gulfstar Sailmaster 50.

The above answers were drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; to the best of our knowledge, we believe them to be accurate.

Other sailboats in the Mason range include:

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