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wkupersa 06-19-2012 12:06 AM

Helms25 Window Gaskets

I was recently given a Helms25 and am in the process of affecting repairs. One of the items on my list, which I understand to be common on these boats, is leaky portlights. I've been considering how best to replace these and I wonder what others have done. If anyone has kept the original aluminum frame, were you able to find replacement gaskets to fit?


Wayne25 06-19-2012 12:00 PM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
Welcome to the Board Willie. Thanks for keeping another Helms on the water.

Yes common to these and all fixed aluminum ports of that era. I understand you can get gasketing from your local well supplied RV dealer. They used the same type of windows back in the day. I have not done a search on Google for them in awhile, but I'm sure there is info there also.

When I fixed mine, I didn't go the gasket route. I carefully removed the frame from the boat and cleaned out the track and took one of them to my local glass shop. He recommended setting them in glass sealing silicone caulk for a very long lasting job. Glass companies use a special formulated silicone used in commercial glass like you see on high rise buildings. You can buy a tube from them or search 3M for their product. I had the glass shop replace the glass and seal it as he recommended for that window. Cost me $35. I must add that the previous owner had replaced the original plexiglass with tinted safety glass and I cracked the glass when removing the frame. I think he set the frame with 3M 5200 and was a bear to remove. Don't doo that! Ended up using DeBond after I cracked the class. good stuff.

Bottom line is I thought I could do a better job than the glass shop and did the other window on that side myself. Still need to do the Port side.

Also, since you'll be doing a lot of other work on the boat, here is a link to how the jobs are done best. Need Butyl Tape ?? Photo Gallery by Compass Marine at
That link is for Butyl tape, but look at the "All Gallaries" and click the how to section for finding out the correct way to do stuff. He has how to replace Ports in there.

Ask away on any other question that come up.

wkupersa 06-20-2012 12:52 PM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets

Thanks for the tips and the pointer to the website. Also the tip about DeBond. I wasn't aware of a remedy for 3m 5200.

I may end up doing the same thing as you with the portlights. I haven't unscrewed the frame yet to look at what is inside.

A renovation book I bought (Fix it and Sail it) talks about screwing plexiglass to the fiberglass on the outside in a bed of silicon, but I imagine that would leave me with fiberglass work on the inside where I had removed the frames.

I want to try to understand my options and then figure out what will look the best with a minimal amount of trouble.

Thanks again!
Boat still unnamed
Arnold, MD

Wayne25 06-20-2012 05:20 PM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
It would be my opinion that fixing your existing ports is the easiest and cheapest way to get the job done. plus its original if that matters to you. It doesn't cost a lot to get safety glass made to replace the plexiglass.
If I remember correctly, the removal steps were:
1. -Unscrew the aluminum channel that holds the window curtains.
2. - Unscrew the interior aluminum frame that pulls the exterior frame tight to the hull.
3. - Carefully remove the aluminum frame that holds the plexiglass. Hopefully the bedding compound loosens up easily.

Good luck with the project.

jumaggafanny 06-22-2012 09:45 AM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
Congratulations on the Helms 25'er. Mark Pillsbury wrote in this months June) issue of Cruising World in the Editors Log section.
Loud noises at the dock was him swearing and hammering to work at the same task you are planning, funny coincidence.

wkupersa 06-23-2012 08:13 AM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
Thanks David, That is a coincidence! I'll take a look at the article.

I'll update here when I have some progress to report and let you all know what I did and how it went.

jumaggafanny 06-24-2012 06:44 PM

Helms25 Window Gaskets
What was the boat named? I have some limited
info of a few Helms.
What condition are the sails in? Did it have a trailer? Spill the goods. Motor?
Post a photo soon. I'm watching Debby and headed to coast in the AM but my boat is in the backyard. It been two years since she's been wet, jut busy sailing other people's boats

wkupersa 06-25-2012 09:08 AM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
Welst, the boat has a Greek name written in Greek characters that I don't know how to pronounce. My friend tells me it means hiding or saving as in saving money but it depends on the context. I'm thinking that it means hiding money in a hole in the water.

It is and has been on private dock on a creek off the Magothy River in Severna Park, MD and will be moving to a nearby marina next week. There is no trailer with it.

The deck and topsides seem to be structurally in good shape. I don't see any soft spots on the deck. It has some small fractures in the gelcoat in some high stress areas like around the winches, but otherwise seems solid.

All of the teak is cracking and needs treatment or replacing.

The Windows leak like a screen and need to be replaced, ergo this thread :-)

I haven't seen the bottom yet. I understand that it got a shorthaul last year and that the bottom looked good. I understand that the keel looked pretty good to less corrosion around the hole where the cable goes through. I am hoping to have it pulled this Fall/Winter and paint and inspect it.

It has a Mercury 8 HP motor (1978?) that it is working but needs some TLC. It misses occasionally and stalls sometimes when put in neutral.

It's mainsail was completely beat and I bought a used Macgregor 26 sail that seems to fit it nicely. It has a 110% jenny that seems to be in good shape.

The electrical system needs attention. I was surprised and please to see that the masthead light works when I hooked it up to a battery directly at the bottom of the mast. No love anywhere when I hook the patter to the panel and try any of the systems. I haven't had a chance to look at that yet.

Below deck needs attention but it seems mostly aesthetic. The table is dead. The fiberboard had been soaked and is falling apart, probably from the window leakage. The sink and icebox are DISgusting. I've been reading about what others have done with the icebox and am contemplating some serious rebuild of that area.

The cushions need to be put out of their misery. :-)

The rigging is in good shape.

The thing that I think will be one of the manually hardest to deal with is that a previous owner decided to use tar to try to waterproof around the hatches and popup. It all needs to be cleaned up.

I'm working getting photos onto Picasa and I'll post out to the group when they are up.

In the mean time I really am grateful for the opportunity to learn from the group's collective experience.


wkupersa 06-27-2012 09:00 PM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
Early photos of said Helms 25 can be found here. I'll add more photos as I start digging into more projects. So far it has been about cleaning the desk.

Wayne25 06-28-2012 11:43 PM

Re: Helms25 Window Gaskets
She looks in great shape. Just needs TLC. Get some bottom paint on her.
When you pull her out (assume on slings), look up inside the centerboard trunk with the centerboard down. There is a guide roller up inside the trunk sort of inline with the winch that keeps the pendent going vertical up to the winch as the keel swings. Sometimes they stop rolling and cut a groove in the roller. its made out of metal. Also look for signs the pendent making a grove in the trunk fiberglass as it comes down from the winch. You need to look up into the trunk with a flashlight to see it. Also you can take some flash pictures so you can study what is up there.
keep the pictures coming.

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