You are going to like this! Not only is Petite Helene a nice looking boat with a great past, check out the updated Carl Schumacher designed rudder. John needs to get the specs on that unit next time it’s out of the water!
Cheers – Greg
From John D. – Petite Helene – TX
“We received your nice letter today about the Express 34 Owners Site. We are excited! This is GREAT after all these years. My wife, Helen Mooty, and I have owned Express 34, Petite Helene for almost 20years. The boat is named after Helen. PH is a wonderful boat for what we do here. In the past, we have raced her and trained teenagers how to race. That’s how I got grey hair! They learned very well and I am very proud of them. Three of them sailed on their college teams and one made the US Sailing Team. Most important, they all love sailing. We sail mostly on Galveston Bay (near Houston) in Texas. Sometimes we sail offshore in the Gulf in races down the coast to Port Aransas (near Corpus Christi). We bought her in 1995. Before that, she had been on Grapevine Lake near Dallas. She is #12, both hull # and sail #. She has wheel steering.
We have a fantastic, eclectic, diverse, international crew. We have NASA people, including Flight Controllers from Mission Control and one astronaut. We have grad students…PhD’s. MD’s, blue collar guys…oil field guys, etc.
We sail year round several times a week. We only race informal Rum Races now and really enjoy them. We sail more than anyone on Galveston Bay. The boat has held up extremely well. She likes to sail!
Years ago (~2000 – 2001-ish), we hit something in the bay and bent the original rudder shaft. Carl Schumacher was still alive and I called him and asked him what to do. I knew Carl for 20 years. His untimely death was one of the saddest things I have ever gone through. Anyway, he said to insist on replacing it rather than try to repair it. He said he would put a different rudder on her if her were to design her then. I said “Go for it!”. He designed a deep, high-aspect carbon fiber rudder. The boat handled well before…but now it’s like a sports car!
We awlgriped her in 2007. She used to be dark blue with an aqua or turquoise 9’9″ swimming mermaid (think the movie “Splash” graphic down each side. When the boat was on her lines, the mermaid was swimming on the water.
The mermaid when away when we awlgriped her. We still have her on the stern and on our logos for our crew shirts. The boat is a medium blue.
I am looking forward to getting in tough and keeping up with other Express 34 owners and sailors.
Thank you so much for your letter and your efforts to bring us together.