Re: Helms 25 Centerboard restoration
I would continue with the repair. There is actually access on both sides of the pin. One on the port under the seat in the storage compartment and one on the starboard behind a small access panel. The panel gives you access through the inner liner to the actual centerboard trunk. There should be stainless steel plates (2"x2") and orange gaskets covering the pin held on with 4 pan head screws. I've heard reports that these were glassed over sometimes by previous owners. So if you can't see them, look for the bumps where they should be.
I never had my centerboard or pin out. The previous owner did that work and used Interlux 2000 after sandblasting. So far it has held up nicely. Done in the late 90's. I know of one owner that had his sandblasted and hot dipped galvanized. I did think through the process of removing the 300 pound beast if I had to. I would make a cradle out of two 2x12 pieces of lumber separated by a wood spacer along the bottom edge a little thicker than the centerboard. I would fasten this to a floor jack and slowly lower it out of the trunk and roll it to where I needed. The cradle would be more valuable to install the centerboard because lining up the holes for the pin would be a bear of a job without it and a roller jack. If your on gravel, put plywood down so you can roll the jack. Also look for spacers that I heard could be on both sides of the centerboard to help stop any slapping. I couldn't see these spacers on mine.
I don't know how long your repaired centerboard would last. It's pretty eaten up. I would keep looking around steel salvage yards for 3/4" plate steel until you find a good buy. then find a metal shop with a plasma cutting machine to cut it out for you. You could grind down the beveled edges or have it done. But I think you could have it done for far less than $2,500 by looking around. I would also keep an ear open for any Helms 25 boats heading for the dumpster. I often thought how much it would cost to have one made or cast out of silicon bronze. Would last longer than the boat but probably cost twice what the boat is worth.
I have a detailed drawing of the centerboard dimensions if you need it. Got it from another owner. But sound like you might have it already.
Rehoboth Bay/Indian River, DE
S/Y KJ, Helms 25