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Old 04-11-2014, 18:03   #1
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Improvements to the Helia 44

Hello Friends,
I think we Helia Owners all might have something to contribute to other Helia 44 Owners...

Being a seasoned Sailor, first Cat but 11 previous yachts of my own and a Company years ago that outfitted boats for Cruising: I have a little experience to offer.. Here are a few suggestions on improving LIFE on your Helia specifically, just a few to kick off this Topic, and I will no doubt have others..

1) In my early Helia, (2013) there is no Spinnaker Halyard, but an empty shive on top forward... The problem is not so easy just to rig it, as there is no extra slot in the mast to run out the new internal halyard.. I have designed a way to get another internal halyard for an aso or spinnaker, without cutting a new slot: You take out the internal topping lift halyard to the main boom. Add a ss shackle on top (hole is already there) and rig a fixed topping lift down about 95% to a block. You then run an adjustable topping lift through the block from a padeye mounted at the end of the main boom up through the block on the fixed topping lift you and rigged, and back down to a pad mounted turning block at the end of the main boom; then forward about half the main boom length or more, to a cleat. Why? This gives you the empty slot in the mast you need. Now, you do not run the spinnaker halyard to that one, instead you move the Main Halyard aft one slot, and the other halyards for working jib and Screecher or Gennaker all aft one slot so nothing crosses over inside the mast. Do this one by one moving forward, at the end of three moved halyards: Then you have opened up a free slot in the forward part of the mast to run out the mast internal halyard for the spinnaker halyard... Easy Peasy, no cuts, no added gear on the mast...

2) As a crazy marine engineering sort the only fault I really have is for the Tropical regions: F.P. should offer a "Tropicalized package" of upper vents to match the lower vents for fridge freezer units, with natural convection the heat going out the top vents will pull cooler air in the bottom and make the unit operate more power efficientl in the tropics.. I understand they listened to me and are doing just that in later models..

3) This is another problem for tropicalizing the Helia that the French could make money on... I mean charge for it as an option Fountaine Pajot.. For when you are parked up or at anchor and not home, in tropical regions, when the boat is locked up for security, the main salon runs about 8 degrees hotter. There are no hatches you can leave open, without risk of rain damage if you are not there, so this is what I have designed to suit Tropical climes: Up under the front eyebrow over the two opening hatches either side of the mast, you really could use a matching Lewmar hatch about 200 high and 400 wide, one each side.. I forget the exact measurements but they match the width and style of the existing hatches.. I ordered them to match colour and width with screen than can stay open even in hard rain if you are not there... (Covered by the Helia eyebrow in the front).. Then: A third one over the galley, cut into the fixed Lexan window panel up very high on the right hand side of the sink on that fixed window, same matching, and the whole bridge deck main salon will have good ventilation even when closed up. This will save the main power drain of the refrigeration.. as closed up it gets about 5-8 degrees warmer in there if you are not there. I have order all three, matching style and size to the existing, in black framed Lewmar. (special order). Mine are in Brisbane, hopefully mounted before it gets any hotter this summer (Southern Hemisphere summer getting hot now in November.).

4) This one is controversial as some people are happy to rely on diesel use, while I am not, and would be happy to have my full tanks last about 1/3 longer.. Without need air conditioning a few months of the year, or heat for about one month, I can greatly cut down on Generator run time by extending the solar input.. I have been playing with the latest technology in solar. I have not come to a decisive plan yet, but stay tuned,, heh he. For instance right now I have added some five way fold out portable panels from a Company called Projecta, 120 watts each, in addition to the 4 - 80 watt panels installed by FP. Also: Right now on my Dodge Ram, the back as a white fibreglass Leer canopy, and I am playing with a 240 watt flexible thin panel sika-flexed down on the white fibreglass. It is applicable to our needs, in that has a waffle core, about the same heat sink as the decks of the Helia on foam core. I am feeding a set of Lithiums in the bed on a bed slide out of the Dodge Cummins Diesel Ram, running a South African stainless fridge-freezer. First check at about 10:30 on Friday I tested the output for the first time, at 10 amps. That was not at peak time of the day, nor peak time of the season, so I estimate about 12 amps. Next I will play with the ability to walk on the flexible panel, and think about deck space..? Maybe... I push the applicable science as a hobby.. Anyway, extra solar is only an advantage in my experience..

5) If you can, order the freezer unit in the Galley Island area... Mine came with the Isotherm fridge. If you wish you had it, but only have the normal fridge, here is a GREAT TIP: I replaced the fridge in the galley with a freezer, the Isotherm full freezer is EXACTLY the same size, just get the door swing right... It works a treat...!
6) I am told that F.P. are considering or have added temperature gauges for the engines, and I hope so but if it is not this is VERY IMPORTANT IMO: It is only about a $200 venture for the whole kit from Volvo, matching your normal engine controls..! Just order the wiring extension as well from Volvo as the engine temp gauges do not come with much of a wiring extension. It is easy, as the three pin plug goes right into the back of the engine controls.. Pick your location, look inside the helm, it is only a simple hole saw hole about 52 mm..
The problem is you want to know the temperature is rising due to seaweed or brine shrimp or a plastic bag blockage in the water strainers. YOU DO NOT want to wait until the alarm goes off as damage could already have happened... You also DO NOT want to wait until you have smoke coming out the engine lockers.. You might not hear the weak buzzer alarm in the wind.. You want anyone on the helm to keep an eye every half hour or so on the engine temperature gauges, as it is CHEAP INSURANCE..

7) Canister water filter, added into the cold water line below the sink.. Just a carbon / Charcoal filter to improve the plastic taste from the tanks.. It is John Guest fittings, compression sort of specialized fittings, just get the right ones before you cut in.. And one more tip, do not rely on normal filters to purify bad water as they will not take out some micro viruses like Hepititus.. This is cosmetic scrubber only for taste.. Further, do not use garden hoses, as that plastic taste is toxic release into the water from the non potable garden hose types exposed to the sun. Make up your own "Food Grade" hose, with normal snap on fittings, easy peasy and no taste and non-toxic..

Enough for now, your Friend Downunder, Helia...
Doing it easy... Did it hard long ago, didn't like it nearly as much...heh he
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Old 06-11-2014, 18:02   #2
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

More improvements:

1) I had Multihull Solutions (Nice People to deal with) agree to do some upgrades to the indoor and outdoor big tables. On my directions they took the big beautiful Teak table in the aft cockpit salon area, and had ten coats of varnish put on it... A new kind of hard wearing, feels like two pack sort of clear polyurethane, but it is put out by Awlgrip. It is supposed to weather like maybe 8 years, as it is extremely flexible and expands and contracts with the teak... Where normal finishes eventually break the bond with the teak as it expands and contracts, and die from the bottom up... Anyway, it is a JOY TO LIVE WITH... A beautiful full 10 coat varnished table that big.. A JOY...

2) Now you are saying. Oooooohhhh, Aaaaahhhh, if you saw it, but Ohhh, what a thing to maintain.. I had a Curtain Maker Lady, sew me a table cover with elastic edges underneath like a fitted sheet. You just reach under the table to the elastic edges and pull it off, or put it on stretched out over the finish. I had here use curtain material that matched the canvas tan, and with Sunblock on the inside that feels like a white soft felt. The whole thing can get wet, dry out, set drinks on and everything else, and only uncover when you want to have Guests or just enjoy the wood in a relaxed setting... The rest of the time it is protected from sunlight UV, and careless visitors...

3) Inside the Main Salon (F.P. Listen up) The inside Main Bridgedeck Salon big dining table, mine has the expanding version to seat more, anyway F.P. have done it with square sharp corners... Coming up out of the Starboard Cabin, if you slipped, you could hit your head on the sharp corner of the table as the corner is just on the edge of the companionway... Anyway, I objected, Multihull Solutions came through again, and had the corners rounded off on about a 100mm radius, and a veneer of like oak or something that matches pretty well, and the same sort of 10 coat looking clear high gloss polyurethane looking varnish..... What a beautiful job, and credit to the Helia, and safer too!

4) To protect it from sunlight creeping in, or careless visitors, again I had an elastic fitted cover made for it with sunblock. Ten seconds to uncover for nice dining or enjoyment, but it looks good with the tan cover as well... All easy, safer, nicer, and easy to do...

Only dumb cosmetic stuff, I know... But what a joy to sit down in and absorb the quality of the varnished timber... A real treat.. !!

Helia 44
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Old 09-11-2014, 17:33   #3
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Right oh,
Here is another of many to come:

I was puzzled by "dry hulls", that I was getting water in with a little algae... I would vac it out, and a few weeks later? Back again? What!! After my latest vac out with a wet and dry shop vac, two 10 litre pails from the port hull and 4?? from the starboard hull, it finally hit me: Condensation drains from the Cruiseaire reverse cycle AC units. Being the Engineering Sort, I was embarrassed that it had not occurred to me, but in my defense it is only now moving into the Southern Hemisphere summer that I ran the "Cool" side very much.

Anyway, while I have not done it, and this one cannot be put off on F.P. I have an interesting solution. It may take me a little while to get around to it, but extend down the condensation drains from the trays on the Cruiseaire units to the shower boxes. Now it could be that maybe it could be done with a check valve to the water condensing lines, but if that failed you could be pumping salt water back into the boat... Bummer.. If I drilled in a small "thru-hull" into the shower box plexiglass, the float valve actuated diaphram pump would just give a stroke or two each hour and evacuate all the condensation water... I will look into fittings, and give a report on it when complete.

Helia 44 AVALON
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Old 13-11-2014, 00:22   #4
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hi helia 44,
Do you know if FP have a position dedicated to stow an outboard motor, or if you must get an after market bracket made?
At present we just cart the outboard around on the tender but I would prefer it off.
Cheers J
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Old 13-11-2014, 07:14   #5
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hello J,

The island seat in the center of the Helia Bridgedeck aft covered cockpit is huge and has a drain... I thought that might be a good spot to lay down an outboard in there. However, mine is a 15 hp Honda (4 stroke and can't lay down) and so scratch that. I use that locker for 5 plastic jerry cans of diesel and 2 of petrol, and hoses....

Other than that spot, no I have not seen any o.b. mounts....

Kind regards from Australia.....
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Old 14-11-2014, 06:52   #6
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Has anyone bought or devised a ventilation wind scoop that will attach to the aft stateroom hatches to bring a breeze into the aft staterooms and keep the rain out. Using only the hatch, the salon structure blocks the wind. A wind scoop would have to fit onto the hatches and extend out into the walkway where the wind is passing when the boat is at anchor?
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Old 30-11-2014, 19:17   #7
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hello friends,

And Hello Fountaine Pajot, this is for you!!
Here is another legitimate and really necessary improvement for you and Z-Spar to take note of...

On the Traveller track, is an end stop... Unfortunately it is woefully inadequate, hollow plastic, only looks like solid metal, and that is all that keeps the Main Sail Traveller on the track if you make an error. Look, in a perfect world, you would always let out one side of the traveller as you crank in the other. Yea, perfect world sailing? Look, the first time you do not, or someone opens a jamb cleat by accident, or it gets away from you, and WHAM the Traveller goes to the end, rams off the track, and spills about 100 Torlon bearings all over the lower deck!!

The original stop is a woeful 4mm cap screw in a hollow plastic stop, you can see it laying next to the new red stop in one of the pictures. I made a solid hard polyurethane block (shown in red) with a 8mm screw, and two 8 mm bolts in a soft black polyurethane block to act as a bumper and shock absorber at the end of the track.... The stop (red) is drilled and tapped into the base, the bumper (black) is drilled and tapped through both the track and the base.... (The bumper is mounted on top of the track)

Now if things get out of hand (they do) or someone releases the wrong jamb cleat of the two (they will) at least when the Traveller SLAMS over to the end of the track, the soft bumper will absorb the load and the new red hard poly stop will contain the shock...

Fountaine Pajot would do well to incorporate some of these improvements... This one is a disaster waiting to happen...


Now I did not measure the width on these, to do it perfectly well, you could make them about 4 mm, like 2mm each side narrower or so, but the lines run over the polyurethane bumper and stops really easily as the polyurethane is very slick to friction wear...


Getting the Torlon bearings back in? That is another nightmare, since you do not have a spare piece of track, tape them in place, and the tape will dissolve in the weather in time and wear...


Kind regards from Helia 44, and I DO have a few more inventions of merit to share. Been gone a couple of weeks, but I am back...
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Old 10-12-2014, 19:03   #8
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Hello Sailing Friends,
Here is another batch of the improvements...

Well, not all improvements have been functional, water maker, that sort of gear. Some of what I have done is cosmetic and comfort related. Look, the stock Helia has a flaw in my mind in that the starboard cabin stairs come up onto a sharp square corner of the main salon table. If someone slips, I think this is VERY dangerous.. So one of the things I have done per the pictures below is on the interior table, I have had it modified to rounded corners, with ten coats of two pack style hard finish..

Then I have had two more Puffs seats for guests the same as the desk in the Owners Stateroom, in the same French Stitching and materials... They slide under the table when not in use..

Then I love varnished teak, here show a little dirty, but the outside cockpit teak table was done in ten coats of flexible Awlgrip, which weathers from the top down instead of breaking the bond with the teak... When not in use, or for rough sailing or racing, I had canvas covers that are actually curtain material for the varnish with white felt sunblock lining... It matches the canvas, and easy to remove with elastic underside of the table for quick take off and put back...

There is also my invention of a use for the third deck sun cushions... What a waste of space to store them below. I mean you do not want to leave them out in the sun and rain to perish in all weather, when you are not using them... So.. You can actually use them in the cockpit and the helm as back rests instead. The last picture shows using the upper sun deck cushions for back rests around the cockpit, on white Velcro 3" wide strips sika-flexed onto the back of the cushions, and then I put small 3" x 6"squares of the soft side of the Velcro on the fiberglass...

Works well, and I think it pretty much looks the part and cannot blow away sailing. Now you have back rests all around...! Forth and fifth pictures show the cockpit cushions as a backrest, Velcro in place behind, and fifth picture shows an upper perch in the back ground above that seating, it's own little cushioned nap spot... The curtain material covers the varnish, white felt "sunblock" so the varnish is cushioned and drinks and things can be loaded right on top... Last picture is even the cushions used for seat and backrest in the helm... Hey, thought you might get some good ideas...

Kind regards, Helia 44

Pictures below, kind regards, Helia 44
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:02   #9
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Helia,

Thank you for sharing these upgrades! Any chance you have a part number for the engine temp kit?

Thanks - Rob
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Old 12-12-2014, 17:15   #10
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

No worries Mate, this is probably one of the MOST important and necessary of all of the improvements.. here you go....

If you are in America, price will be cheaper, this is in Aus$....

Quote from Volvo: Thank you for your enquiry, the temperature gauge is a simple install if you wish to do yourself or if you need fitted the local dealer Dolphin marine would be able to do for you.
The gauge connects to the wiring from the tacho and daisy chains into the system . The part number for the gauge with white background is 874921 cost is $154.00 plus GST per gauge. If you have black face in tacho ,the temp gauge black background is 874904 ,both are same price.
The gauges are available ex Sydney overnite.

Now you also need the extended wiring kit, cheap, something like $25.. Two of.. Why? in my case the Temp Gauges had to go on the starboard side of the helm below the Nav instruments, no room the port side of the helm... It is a simple plug in affair, a three pin all in one plug, but you want the longer wiring kit as the gauges only come with about six inches of wire.. The kits come with about two feet.. Turns out it piggy-backs onto the normal loom, so everything is already in the helm. All you do is plug into the back of the Tacho in an empty three pin socket right there, and you are on top of it right away... !!

Kind regards, Helia 44 "AVALON"
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Old 23-03-2015, 20:14   #11
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

OK Fountaine Pajot,I am told you monitor this site, for what is said, and the proof is I have heard that you react to some of the Posts here.. Ok with that, so this is for you...

THIS is what you should do to "Tropicalize" the Helia... We as Owners
need ventilation when we are not there in hot weather, to keep the refrigeration and freezers from working too hard. The front hatches are adequate, but rain can blow in. Here is what I have done with matching Lewmar hatches, black powder coated (custom order) to match.

They are up under the eyebrow so to speak, totally covered, so no rain can blow in...

Kind regards, Helia 44 (Still the best value for money, that two people can handle cruising...)
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Old 24-03-2015, 07:50   #12
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Helia 44 I think these added window are a fabulous idea! Thanks for sharing the photo.
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Old 24-03-2015, 08:31   #13
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

Those added windows are a great idea! You mentioned adding one over the galley as well, could you post a pic of that?
I really appreciate all these ideas for improvements. I look forward to hearing more and eventually adding some after I take delivery of my Helia.
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Old 24-03-2015, 21:25   #14
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

The window over the galley will be on the right hand side up high...

The problem is that it takes a Specialist to cut into that window. I think Multihull Solutions declined as they reported having cracked two. Anyway I have to wait on that to get that done by someone experienced in cutting into that material. However, there is another problem in that it will limit the opening of the center door on the benchtop. It can only slide over to that new hatch... Hmmmm....

Right now, I will get ventilation by leaving the two doors open but locked about 6 inches apart. I have two keyed alike locking slide bolts, to mount on the inside of the doors and they lock up with a key. This will give adequate ventilation through the bridge deck area.

One more thing I have added is "Marine Alert" alarm system. It works on a microwave motion detector up in the corner for no false alarms.. It calls me with a pre-paid SIM card. Not only is it a semi hidden piercing alarm shriek on the inside, but also an instantaneous SMS texting to my IPhone..
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Old 24-03-2015, 21:51   #15
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Re: Improvements to the Helia 44

+1 on the windows. Great mod!
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