Traditionally, Mason cruising sailboats have been built tough, with rugged hulls, stout rigs and a penchant for blue water. Classic offshore designs have dictated deep full keels and generous draft. In response to the desire of many to find the same ocean passagemaking qualities in a boat capable of negotiating thinner water, the builder P.A.E. has developed new versions of several boats in its lineup incorporating a shallower centerboard option. The standard bearer is the Mason 44 Centerboard.

P.A.E. chose the conservative "C.C.A.-type" configuration with a low-aspect board because it retains an efficient lateral plane in the hull form by means of a ballasted keel that serves also as the trunk. This preserves the low center of gravity, tracking ability, and roll dampening in a seaway while maximizing fuel and water tankage. And with board-up draft of under five feet, your options inshore are substantially increased. The 44 is available rigged as a sloop or ketch.

RESPONSIBLE SHOAL DRAFT

Too often the centerboard initiative compels designers and builders to flatten a boaTs bilges and push out the beam in an effort to whittle board-up draft down to nil while adding initial stability. Vessels so configured become inefficiently ballasted and the deep centerboards required to get them upwind become high-load liabilities, In contrast, a new centerboard version of the Mason 44 opts for the CCA approach to shoal draft: Keep the long keel and deep bilge for tracking and ballast, and add an unballasted low-aspect board to optimize lateral plane when on the wind. Draft is reduced to 4'11" with the board up and tips in at 7'5" with the board down; the center of gravity remains low; roll dampening and bilge tankage are maximized; and the integrity of trunk and gear is not compromised.

Says Joe Meglen of Pacific Asian Enterprises, "We will not sacrifice stability, safety, comfort, tankage or storage for ridiculously shallow draft in an 'offshore' boat," The result is a classic design with enough versatility to relish blue water and still get you back into your slip at low tide.

Specifications (44 Centerboard):

LOA 43'10";
LWL31 '9";
Beam 12'4";
Draft 4'11" (board up), 7'5" (Board down);
Ballast 9,400 lbs.;
Displacement 27,400 lbs.;
Sail area (100% foretriangle) 899 sq. ft. (sloop), 916 sq. ft. (ketch).

This review/article originally appeared in Cruising World Magazine, January 1990. For more great sailboat reviews, visit their website at: www.cruisingworld.com

For other great information about Mason Sailboats, please visit https://mason-sailboats.org/

OUR RECOMMENDED SAILING GEAR

Ronstan 55L Dry Sailing BagGill Women's OS23 Coastal Sailing Jacket RedRonstan Sticky Race Full Finger Sailing Gloves Gray - Size - MediumGill Men's Waterproof Sailing Trousers, Graphite, S - Size - SmallHelly Hansen Men's Newport Coastal Sailing Jacket Blue - Size - Large
B&g Vulcan 12 Sailing Chartplotter with GPS and WiFiRaymarine Micro-Talk Wireless Performance Sailing GatewayRitchie Navigation Tactician Sailing CompassGill Women's OS23 Sailing Bibs GrayRonstan 61L Dry Sailing Bag Black
Mclube SailKote High-Performance Dry Lubricant, GallonGarmin GNX Wind Wired Sail PackRaymarine Evolution EV-100 Tiller Sail AutopilotBainbridge Economy Sail NeedlesSelden Reversible Winch Handle