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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Used to be docked at JBM and was chartered out of there for quite a while. Built back in the 20's, it was a real classy boat!! Lots of brass and woodwork and a REAL fantail. I miss checking it out going in and out of the marina!!

Anyone seen it around or know what became of it?
 

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Here are a couple posts I found. The boat is in poor shape but you can find it on the Detroit River at the Nicholson Terminal near Rouge River. Here is a link to a search of BoatNerd.com where you can find more pictures. I posted a few below.

Matt

Source boatnerd.com 6/28/05

Hi, Rob: The 106 foot yacht "Helene" is one of the last, classic steel-hulled yachts from the 1920's "commuter yacht" era, still left on the lakes. Built in 1927 by the DeFoe Boat and Motor works in Bay City, she was constructed as a "temporary" vessel until a larger one could be built for the owner, Charles F. Sorenson - general manager of the Ford Motor Company. The Deane family, owners of both Nicholsons Marine Terminals and Shamrock Chartering, usually keep the vessel in Lake St. Clair during the sailing season. On January 1st, of this year she expereienced a fire while in Lay-up at their Ecorse yard that completely destroyed the pilothouse. My father, Walter J. Froehlich of E & W Cabinets in Romulus, and I were hired to restore the pilothouse to its original condition. Working from original plans that we were able to find, and producing our own working drawings from the bruned-out remains, we were able to put elevations together to replicate the original structure. The exterior woodwork is teak salvaged from a U.S. Navy vessel and the structural members are of straight grained (flawless!) Douglass Fir. The Deane's and Capt. Bill Graham (her master) are taking this opportunity to upgrade the electrical systems and other odd items that need to be done. As master woodworkers and marine historians we have really enjoyed this challenge! We hope to be done with her by the end of July so that she will be able to salvage some of the sailing season....Hope this helps & Regards, Keith

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Source 9/30/08

The Helene is currently tied up within a few yards of N42.15.595; W83.07.428. in a channel just off the Detroit River. She is open, exposed to the weather and in terrible shape. Looks like a barge may have bashed in part of her starboard bow.

Nearby, the derelict Boblo boats, Columbia and St. Clair, are tied up on the opposite side of this same channel.

Access by land could be difficult since the area is a private property industrial site, no doubt, with security guards. Access by water is unimpeded.

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QUOTE(KMC @ Aug 3 2009, 04:08 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Used to be docked at JBM and was chartered out of there for quite a while. Built back in the 20's, it was a real classy boat!! Lots of brass and woodwork and a REAL fantail. I miss checking it out going in and out of the marina!!

Anyone seen it around or know what became of it?

I took this last fall, mid October I think. She's downriver a bit, if I recall down near the Nicholson Terminal. She looks like she's seen better days. Someone did tell me that she partially sank last year there at the dock. Pretty sad.
Water Sky Boat Building Window
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the info and the pics - they are great although it's kinda sad to see it in 'less than pristine' condition. I had heard someone say they thought they saw it up in Bayview or Harborview up by Petosky, but I'm wondering if they were looking at a different boat. Looks like the starboard side had been repaired... you can see what lookes like a dent in some of the pictures, but others where it looks OK (not sure which one was before the other though).
 

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QUOTE(KMC @ Aug 4 2009, 04:59 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Thanks for the info and the pics - they are great although it's kinda sad to see it in 'less than pristine' condition. I had heard someone say they thought they saw it up in Bayview or Harborview up by Petosky, but I'm wondering if they were looking at a different boat. Looks like the starboard side had been repaired... you can see what lookes like a dent in some of the pictures, but others where it looks OK (not sure which one was before the other though).

Someone on boatnerd.com said it was hit by a barge at it's current location.

There was a fire that destroyed a lot of the boat several years ago and was rebuilt by insurance. Shortly after that it sunk for an unknown reason and insurance wouldn't pay.

That is the talk on some other forums a few years back.

Matt
 

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Anyone with further information about the Helene, used to be owned by my father in laws family, the Verbiests..
I was aboard the Helene at JBM around 2000 give or take a couple years, prior to that it had been many years. I was at JBM this week and looked where I had last seen the Helene and it wasn't there, when I returned home I logged on-line and discovered the unfortunate state she's in, very sad. During the summer of 1978 between my 11th and 12th grade high school years I was a crew member on the Helene when the Verbiests owned her. I, and my high school friend Randy Price (also crew member) lived in the crews qtrs. most of that summer. Back then she got a lot of use, by private charters and by the family. It seemed like we sailed 6 days a week, and I can recall a couple times we had 2 trips in 1 day. It took too much time to travel from back and forth from home each day so we moved in. The most memorable trip was when the family took her to Mackinaw Island, thru the Soo locks into lake Superior, and under the big Mack bridge just into lake Michigan. I can't say all of the trip was smooth sailing. Crossing Saginaw bay heading north had waves crashing over the bow, and I turned several shades of green. With some ribbing and advice from Capt. Bill Graham, I think I managed to keep breakfast where it belonged. I have much respect for Bill, he was the master of that boat, and could put it anywhere, and it didn't have a bow thruster then. He was firm, but pretty easy to work for. It's amazing that Bill has stuck with the her for so long, it has to be hard to take what's happened. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions, my memory's faded a little, but I'll share what I remember. Richard Williams
 
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