Joe Minick: Along the way, we chose boats that met the needs of our budget and a family of four. When it came to Southern Cross, we were looking for a long distance cruiser, built heavily enough to take what may come our way and with enough volume to carry tankage for long trips plus all the supplies, spares and equipment we might pack aboard along the way. She is well down on her lines now but carries her load well and with the exception of some speed lost to windward when the seaway is large, retains virtually all the performance exhibited in her lighter days. Many things feed into the equation when selecting a cruising boat but for us, after structural integrity, we needed something that two people could handle with relative ease in all kinds of conditions. The Mason 43 has fulfilled all of our requirements for shorthanded cruising. We can heave to on just about any combination of sails and have ridden out some minor gales and a Force 8 hove to comfortably. While not the fastest thing on the ocean with her full keel and attached rudder, she points well, is seakindly and comfortable while giving us many a 160- to 180-mile day. I have long favored a cruising rig that uses a large main and a fore triangle divided into two sails areas. The double headsail rig on Southern Cross is quite similar to that we were familiar with on Altum Mare and has always served us well. The large main drives well in conditions that would require at least a reaching spinnaker with a high aspect rig. We do make use of an asymmetrical spinnaker in light air off shore but rarely carry it into night as this becomes a bit much for one person to handle in the dark. We have the usual complaints centered around the lack of storage space for "more stuff" but when you realize that we carry a sewing machine, a dehumidifier and have two air-conditioners, a watermaker, 150 gallons of diesel and another of water plus a 1,000 amp-hours of batteries below decks you soon realize that we, like everyone cruising, will never have all the storage we would like.