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Go Back   SailNet Community > Boat Builders Row > Helms
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  #1  
Old 12-01-2012
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Introduction and Question

Good evening all. My name is Bob from SE Wisconsin. I am new to sailing and looking for my first boat. I'm 53.

Our sailing will be mostly Lake Michigan and odds are the boat will be on a mooring during the sailing season. As newbie I'm expecting primarily day sailing relatively close to shore for a long time, and maybe the occasional overnight sail up to Port Washington or down to Racine or Chicago. Eventually I think I'd like to try racing.

I've found a 74 Helms 25 locally, with trailer, for under $1000. No motor and she needs some TLC, but overall I believe she is sound. I've got a friend who has a lot of experience with sailboats and restoration who is going to take a look at it for me, but he's not familiar with the Helms.

Any opinions on what the range of value for a 74 H25 is? I realize thats a broad question, so I think the real question is, when I factor in purchase price and whatever I have to invest in her, "how much is too much"?

Any unique Helms quirks I should look for, weak spots, common problems?

Any opinions on how this boat will be for Lake Michigan?

Thanks!

Bob
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Old 12-01-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

Bob,

You would save a lot of money on the cost of your first boat, if you look for a boat in excellent condition that is fully and properly equipped, including a recent motor. 25' is too small to weekend on, you would be better to go to a 27'.

Look at quality boats like Catalina or C&C, plan to spend $8-10 grand, and you are likely to start off on the right foot. Plus you will have a boat worth what you paid for it, and one you can subsequently sell for much the same price if you maintain her well.

Think of the $1000 for the Helms as only a downpayment not the purchase price. After an engine and a few other upgrades, you will quickly have $4-5 grand or more in her, and she'll never be worth more than a few thousand.

Nothing gets more expensive in the boating world than a cheap boat.
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Old 12-01-2012
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one step @ a time

day sail until your fingers ache

good luck
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Old 12-01-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by floridajaxsailor View Post
one step @ a time

day sail until your fingers ache

good luck
Thanks - that's pretty much the plan, which is why this boat is appealing - just to learn and get experience. Sailingfool - I understand your points, but frankly, the budget is pretty limited and I'm not afraid of a little elbow grease. I'm sure sooner or later I'll want to move up and spend real money, but for now I just want to get my feet wet - pun intended.

The issue is how much should I have invested in a 30 year old Helms 25 and not get killed when it's time to sell and move up?
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Old 12-01-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

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Originally Posted by rstackjd View Post
....
The issue is how much should I have invested in a 30 year old Helms 25 and not get killed when it's time to sell and move up?
Hmmm...$3000 might be a reasonable number. So what you want to do is look around for a 25" with a new engine, recent sails, decent trailer, fully equpped with cruising gear, and give that seller the $3000...you'll get it back when you sell her. Leave the cheap boat for the newbie who doesn't appreciate how expensive it to get a neglected (no engine???) boat back into fully operational shape.

The point is you can't have a reliable, operational boat for cheap. trying to do so, ends up costing one thousands of dollars.
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

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Originally Posted by sailingfool View Post
Leave the cheap boat for the newbie who doesn't appreciate how expensive it to get a neglected (no engine???) boat back into fully operational shape.
Thank you for the insight on the value range. But why do you assume this is a neglected boat? There is an outboard available for extra $, which I may or may not be interested in (there is one available to me elsewhere). The trailer is clean with new wheel bearings and wiring. The sails are (claimed to be) useable and the boat has been sailed more or less continuously including this past season. The seller needs to sell because his wife wants him to reduce the number of boats and toys he has.

It needs a good cleaning for sure, but other than that it doesn't appear to be neglected.

I'm not challenging you (kinda hard to argue with a guy with 3000 posts) and I do understand your position - I used to race cars and everyone wanted to know "how cheap can you get into racing" and the response is always, there's no such thing as cheap racing! But, if a guy wanted to have fun, learn to drive, was handy and willing to work on his own car, he could do it on a budget. But winning costs $.

So I do understand. But I don't think this is a junk boat.

But that's why I asking about any "Helms Specific" issues we should be looking for as well.

Thanks

Last edited by rstackjd; 12-01-2012 at 01:04 PM.
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Old 12-02-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

Helms 25's have a balsa cored deck and solid fiberglass hull. When you checkit out make sure there are no soft spot on deck. The centerboard is steel. Make sure it isn't a hunk of rust. If the rigging and sails look good, sounds like you can have some fun right away.
Kevin on this board had a 72 Helms he sailed up there with his family. If he sees this thread, I'm sure he will tell you how the boat did in that area. From what I remember it did fine. He also took many overnighters with his wife and two young daughters.
Here is a link of his refit on Youtube
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Old 12-02-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

Thanks Wayne

I've read most of Kevin's blogs on his restoration and review of the boat - frankly it's a big part of what has me interested in this particular boat.

I appreciate your input!

Bob
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Old 12-02-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

Bob:
If your trailer is good and you can pick up a 9.9 HP long shaft for under $1,500, I think you can get your money back when it comes time to move up in size, if you decide you need bigger. We love our Helms 25 and it fits our sailing area perfectly.
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Old 12-05-2012
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Re: Introduction and Question

Bob,
The H-25 is a good sailboat. Complete w/trailer is great. If the trailer is a double axel and a drop axel it may be an original Helms mfg. they made them
Of 4"channel. Please let us know what your decision is on purchase. I married into a Cheesehead family in Fondy and I visit the frozen Nawth' in July to do both Mackinaw races.
I've owned my Helms (Chimera) for 15 yrs and have some spare parts etc
If you decide to buy let me know, i'll help any I can

David
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