Eight Bells: Niels C. Helleberg

Published on February 27th, 2014

Niels C. Helleberg off Swampscott, MA (formerly of Nahant, Boston, and Denmark) passed away peacefully at the age of 74 on February 21, 2014.

Born in Copenhagen, he served as a First Lieutenant in the Danish Army. Certified as a Master Boatwright and Navigator, he took a degree in Naval Architecture from Elsinore Institute in Denmark. He managed new construction at Hundested Boatyard prior to his emigration to Boston in 1971, whereupon he embarked upon a distinguished career with John G. Alden Naval Architects that spanned four decades.

Niels designed classic production boats such as the Alden 44 and received awards and wide recognition for custom designs like the Borkumriff IV and the S/Y Nazenin III. His designs range from a 15 foot sailing dinghy to a 169 foot big class traditional schooner. At any scale, his work reflected his wonderful eye and his understanding of how to create a stately yacht. His contributions to naval architecture include numerous innovations and patents and his work is preserved in the Alden archive at MIT. Throughout his tenure as Chief Architect, he was a committed guardian of the designs and legacy of John G. Alden.

He was an avid sailor, a thirty-year member of the Cruising Club of America, and a participant in many Transatlantic and Bermuda races. As is only fitting, his ashes will be cast to the sea from the pier at the Swampscott Fish House at 2:00 in the afternoon on Sunday, March 2. Friends and relatives are invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Mr. Helleberg may be made to the Hospice of the North Shore and Greater Boston (www.hns.org).

Full report in Boston Globe.

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