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The Dream Begins: From Sailboat Restoration to Family Cruising
Follow our family's adventures as we restore an old sailboat, learn to sail and expand our cruising horizons each day!
History of Helms Yachts
Kevin Walters
08/01/2007, Grand Rapids, MI

Helms Yachts were built in South Carolina during the 1970s and early 1980s by Jack Helms. Only 600-800 boats were built. Jack supposedly peronally delivered every boat. The company's first boat was the Helms 25. Jack Helms said that he wanted to create a "better Catalina 22." Sometime in the 1970s a 25 won its class in the MORC.

Eventually a 27 was added, followed by the 30 which was eventually replaced by a 32 footer. Several hundred of the 24, 25, 27 and 30 foot boats were built, but only 10 of the 32 foot were ever built.

As previously mentioned, the Helms 25 was created to be a "better Catalina 22". The Helms 25 looks very similar (almost identical) to the Catalina 22 except for a 3 foot extension to the cockpit. This extension allows the Helms to seat 6 in the cockpit while cruising or four while racing. The C22 only seats a maximum of 4.

Both boats are swing keel designs which makes them popular with trailer-sailors. They also feature a tiller-rudder and sloop rigged sails. Our particular Helms 25 has the following sail inventory: main, storm jib, genoa, and spinnaker.

The cabin features a v-berth forward, convertible dinette to port, sink, built-in cooler, and settee/single berth to starboard. There's also space for a porta-potti, but the potti is absent. We'll likely use a milk jug or "Dawn" bottle for our latrine.

The next blog post will feature more pictures to familiarize you with our specific Helms 25. Stay tuned!

09/23/2007 | Wayne
Kevin: I'll take some pictures of the hatch covers, compaion way boards and other parts we talked about. I'm sailing my Helms 25 this weekend. Something for you to check. I think Jack Helms designed the Helms 25 to be a better Catalina 25, not 22. I think you might have read this from a forum site and I'm not sure its correct. I have read Catalina 25 in a couple of other places. Also I think our specs are closer to a Catalina 25. But I may be all wet on this info. Something to check out.

09/27/2007 | Kevin Walters
Wayne - I did read about the Helms 25 being a "better 22" somewhere online, but I think it's substantiated when you compare profiles and cabin/cockpit layouts. The Helms is very similar to the C22 in layouts and appearance, except for the extended cockpit. While the C25 has a different cabin layout and different profile. The C22 and Helms 25 also share a similar swing-keel design while the C25 is only came in a fin-keel design (I think).
02/25/2008 | John F Creedon Sr
Good Afternoon I need info on a 1983 24foot helms sail boat I just brought, would like specs and paper work if possible
Thank You
08/10/2009 | Jim Hainen
Correction: The 30 was built before the 27. The origin of the 30 is that it was built off the Holmes 30 which was designed and built as an MORC boat in west Florida. I was the Great Lakes dealer for Helms. The 24 was probably the most popular of all the Helms boats. Want to know more? Ask me.
The Dream Begins
Kevin Walters
08/01/2007, Grand Rapids, MI

The Dream Begins...

We did it. We bought our first sailboat. She's a total project boat that needs a lot of our love. Luckily we're itching to give it!

Technically, she's a 1972 Helms 25 (Hull Number 44). Her stats are as follows:

LOA: 24'11"
Beam: 7'
Draft: 1'8" (keel up) or 6' (keel down)
Displacement: 3,150 lbs
Design: Swing keel cruiser

In reality, the dream began long ago. I was raised a powerboater and have always had the urge to buy my own boat and seek adventure. Fortunately, my wife shares (tolerates) my passion for adventure, the water and boats.

This blog will document the restoration process of our Helms 25 and begin to tell the story of our dream to sail around the world.

09/05/2007 | jim connors
Interesting hearing about your project. I purchased a 30 yo Helm 24 a few months ago and have spent much of the summer trying to restore her. My question is "Where do you find an owner's manual for a boat of this age." I would like to know more about handling, rigging, etc. Especially things like the topping lift, boom vang, sail adjustments, etc. Any suggestions or did yours have a manual with it?
Thanks, and good luck with your project.
Jim Connors [email protected]
09/06/2007 | Kevin Walters
Jim - Thanks for your comments. I have not been able to locate an owners manual yet. I've been checking eBay and posting on a few message boards, but no luck yet. Looking at the sail plan and a few other Helms boats and similar Catalinas has also helped me figure out the proper rigging. I'll let you know if I come acrossed any old manuals.
01/20/2008 | James Langley Jr.
I grew up on Lake Murray in SC. My father was close friends with Jack. We raced E-scows, later Hobie 16's and an ultralight 24' keelboat dad built from a a Helms 25 plug. He removed the skeg, put a flat deck and E-Scow rig on her. I remember Jack as a very big and jovial man and I loved going to his plant on Bush River road in Irmo.

The 25 mold was built off of a Venture 24 hull w/ the false transom added plus the skeg. The macgregor/venture hulls had really good lines and would plane if you kept the weight down and sail area up ! (and crank the keel up about 45*)

Jack had on the drawing board a light weight 27' racer w/ wings at the cockpit sides for hiking, full batten, high roach main, and spinnaker pole setup that could be set right at the deck for a reaching chute. He never built it, thinking there was not a big enough market for a serious "sport boat". This was around '82. Guess he was ahead of the times.

I hope you truly enjoy Jack's boat.
05/10/2008 | Marc
We need to meet! I'm restoring a 73' venture 242. And I see a lot of similarities. I think I still have 1 more year of work left before we can splash her. I may have tons of questions for you if you do not mind. Marc
09/06/2009 | Briggs Monteith
Jim Langley's Green Machine, what a contraption My dad used to sail on that thing it was fast! He also built some cool multihulls like the trimaran, which I went out on as a kid, if you ever want to no how to make your helms 25 really fast on a shoestring contact Jim


The Dream Begins: From Sailboat Restoration to Family Cruising
Who: Kevin (Captain), Erin (Admiral), Hannah (First Mate), Isabel (Deck Hand)
Port: North Shore Marina, Grand Haven, MI
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