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Tom Crookston 03-16-2019 10:20 AM

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This is my first post to the community and I am ecstatic to be a proud owner of a Helms 25 which was known as 'Crush' out of Holland, MI. Before that she was known as 's/v Hannabel' which I found on this Helms builders forum the owner before the last owner that I purchased from, kwaltersmi. I'd love to treat Kevin to a lunch/beer and pick his brain about life and sailing, maybe even find out if he knew the original name or finding out some of the name/s prior to Hannabel.

I had been a hobby sailor for about 20 years now with my Sunfish (I am 30) and decided I needed an upgrade to be able to take any number of friends and family. I bought the Helms 25 in August 2018 and had her out 5 times before packing in for the harsh Michigan winter.

Some minor cabin top leaks and port light leaks that I'd like to tend to this spring, other than that the vessel is entirely sound and open water worthy. (Soft spots on the cabin top are a concern as well but not immediately as I'm still considering two different repair options there). Rest of the deck is solid and standing & running rigging is in decent shape.

The original rudder had some cracks and sloughing gelcoat which I have totally stripped off down to the wood strip planked core. The wood core of the rudder is still solid but was very wet and currently drying out before my repair attempt. Going to reglass with chop mat and paint white.

Any input or hello's or tips are gladly welcomed. The cabin top I am considering drilling and filling with something like gitrot or rather inject a deck..maybe something similar...a seemingly huge point of contention on forums between that and cutting out & re coring rotted portions....both seem labor intensive but if the latter of the two is the proper best way, I am leaning towards that for those reasons alone.


Tom Crookston 03-16-2019 10:36 AM

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Here are a few photos. Rudder is *mostly* stripped clean. Still need to sand off the spots that didn't delaminate. Threw on a picture of sailing on Gull Lake last fall in Michigan.

Tom Crookston 03-31-2019 08:44 AM

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Anyone out there that may be scrapping or have access to scrap yards and come across a Helms 25; I'm hoping to find the cabin top hatch. The larger one that is just in front of the mast. Mine is in VERY rough shape.

Or if anyone has any repair suggestions (..i'm thinking lots of epoxy and chop mat) or even a clever way to build a new one, maybe using the original as a rough mold.

Any help/direction would be greatly appreciated.


jumaggafanny 04-10-2019 11:53 AM

Re: My New 1972 Helms 25 (formerly s/v Hannabel)
I recall when Walter bought that boat, I sent him a lot of information about the Helms. I have that hatch cover for you.
Make a list and figure our what other parts you may need. Check the sail inventory, I can help you on sail repair...been working on that skill.
I've sent many parts to owners over the years to keep the few remaining sailing

I have some "butcher" pix of a Helms disassembly posted in my pix. Jumaggafanny or Chimera.
Send me an email [email protected] w/contact info when you're ready.


Tom Crookston 04-14-2019 10:25 AM

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Thanks for reaching out!

I've since decided to try and repair the hatch. Pulled the wood core off then filled cracks & layered chop mat on the underside with weight over wax paper to flatten the hatch back out while it cured. I sanded the top down significantly and faired the edges of the non skid which I'll also layer chop mat on but only after I generously epoxy the new wood core to the bottom. Then I'll try the soft sand non skid on the top when I paint. I wanted to try soft sand out somewhere before redoing the cockpit floor. There's a medium crack on the curve transitioning from the floor to the base of the companionway.

I will definitely compile a list of other parts that I desire. Hardware seems like something I could use backups/redundancies for. I've already lost one winch handle to the depths like an idiot. I have a machinist buddy making me 3 copies of the spare I had though.

I'll be doing my best to keep it in perfect working condition. She's in increasingly capable hands..mainly with the help and advice of others. I have found the you tube channel Boatworks Today which has been a great resource. You can see the rudder amidst my glass work in the background of last photo.

'Til Next Time,

Tom Crookston 09-23-2019 07:16 PM

Fantastic season! Took it out onto Lake Michigan, my first trip onto the big lake in a boat. A buddy and I went from South Haven to Grand Haven over the period of a week (two nights in Holland and three nights in Grand Haven). Two storms rolled in so we were slipped and stuck at the marinas for a few days.

A fitting for one of the two port lower shrouds started to visibly pull through the deck between South Haven and Holland, about 1/4"...kind of spooked me but seemed stable enough to continue. Then a pin sheared for the backstay between Holland and Grand Haven, Starboard side of the tiller! That made me sweat for a minute. Rigged up a temporary fix because while I had spares... none of them were small enough! What a great lesson to have learned without injury about checking EVERY component of hardware for standing and running rigging. Went to a west marine store and purchased enough new pins in assorted sizes to replace all of them if needed. Also grabbed a piece of 1/4" high density plastic to do a temporary reinforcement of the deck fastener that was pulling through (they didn't have a good chain plate option. Shop at Grand Isle Marina cut a piece of the plastic about 3" wide and 6" long for me, and drilled where I marked the holes I needed. I placed it between the chain plate and underside of the deck to distribute the load further across the painfully obviously ever softening deck. None of the deck hardware is properly bedded! Another hard lesson learned for a first time purchaser.

The boat is on the trailer and ready for my next big project, re-coring the soft spots (about 25% of the surface). I'll be at it all fall and spring at my friends barn, definitely pulling all the hardware to re bed it properly after to ensure the hard work is not in vain.

Still extremely happy with how easily she handled the 5ft white caps and how easily and naturally it has become to trim the sails and running rigging correctly to avoid weather helm. Even slightly crippled to the point I didn't put out anything larger than the storm jib with the mainsail, we had an absolute blast!


paulinnanaimo 09-23-2019 08:19 PM

Re: My New 1972 Helms 25 (formerly s/v Hannabel)
Good job Tom, glad you are using the boat while you get it in shape. The hatch looks good...keep doing your own work and your boat will not become the proverbial money pit. It seems that you have a lot of repairs but once you catch up it won't take much to stay there.

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