Who says I don't know JACK?
I may have never met Jack Helms but I am getting to know & respect the fellow more as time passes. I have owned my 1975 Helms 25 #504 for about 12 yrs. In that time I have disassembled, modified and generally tinkered with every part of my boat. I’ve crawled into lockers with flashlights & mirrors for inspection.
When doing a topside job five years ago I drilled over 200each 1” Dia. holes to replace core material at each & every fastener or penetration. I was surprised and pleased to find core materials clean and untouched by water in all but 2 places, those at the primary winches. I recognize that this <1% failure after 30 years of use or 99%+ success rate is proof to Jack understanding how and then doing the job right when bedding the fasteners.
Fast forward to my current winter project…
I’m almost complete with the gel coat removal below the water-line and “Bottom-Job”. During the gel coat removal I found a 6”x 6” repair to the keel, deep into the fiberglass. I & others examined this in detail. I asked the previous owner and we now believe its a “factory” repair, of very good quality & workmanship, proving to me that Jack Helms had good quality control. The fact he didn’t conceal the problem but fixed it sure pleases me.
The hull of my Helms is chop cloth beneath the gel coat and while looking for any un-wetted strands or voids while it was stripped I found small pieces of woven glass fabric embedded. To me this showed that Jack Helms was not wasteful with his materials during construction but using the scraps of glass fabric in hull layup.
I never had the pleasure of meeting the man, but I feel like “I do know Jack” but don’t misunderstand me I admit don’t know Dittley Squat.
Chimera is almost finished with her new bottom, I’ve applied seven coats of epoxy (thin film) and hand sanded between coats, kind of like forced fairing of the hull for a guy that can’t spray paint. I didn’t opt to apply “hot” coats of epoxy because I wanted to take my time and go slow even if this forced the inter coat sanding. I’ve applied 2 coats of 65% copper in epoxy over the clear and I expect to apply the final 2 coats of Pettit APC-50 this week and hope to launch before April fools day (a tradition for me)
Picture #1 is what started this job