Jim Gorden Wants To Find His Family Boat! Can You Help?


The Gorden family boat.

New fellow Woody Boater Jim Gorden sent us a request to help him find his old family boat. Now, what makes this an almost impossible task is that there is no record of a hull number or any quirky details on the boat. Like, it came from the factory with a duck head on it. Sometimes those little details are what can be the tell tale markers that keep a family connection.


Love the water disc as well.

BUT, maybe there is hope, there is always hope out there. The good news is that are are photos, and film. And maybe, just maybe someone has such a boat that was delivered around that time from that area? Maybe? Such is the magic of the www.

The fun thing is clearly Jim’s family cared more about the family and people than the boat, so the little boat photos like we take now where not the concern, but maybe if you have a boat like Jim’s, go out to it and place your hands on it , close your eyes and feel it? Do you see water skying, and little smiling children?

Breath in and out slowly. Do you feel it? If so let us know what you feel?

And this very cool footage shot from jims boat of a very rare hardtop!

25 replies
  1. Mark Edmonson
    Mark Edmonson says:

    Very cool photo’s and film, but a little info would help where they owned/used the boat. The last film looks like northern Michigan Sleeping Bear Dunes on Lake Michigan, The photo’s of the inland lakes could be from anywhere…..

  2. Jeff Funk
    Jeff Funk says:

    Great home movies, and just what’s needed when I look outside at 8″ of snow. Think I can make it through another winter day now.

  3. Chad
    Chad says:

    Love the videos. The dunes could be from several spots along Lake Michigan but I’ll guess farther south in Holland and Lake Macatawa. Those blondes look Dutch to me. 😉

  4. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    If you know when and where the boat was shipped to, I’d start with Mariners Museum records and try to figure out a hull number.

    Great vintage home movies. Good luck with your search!

  5. Nehmer Kid
    Nehmer Kid says:

    OK I work for Jim Gordon and this boat is a 1955 either 18′ or 20′ continental sold by we think Bay Haven in Holland MI. It was traded back in during the early to mid sixties and that’s the last they have seen of it. It was Jim’s wife Bonnie’s family boat and they used it frequently on Gull Lake just north of Kalamazoo. The dunes look like the dunes just south of the Holland Channel the the movies were shot in Lake Macatawa as you can see the North American South American and the Alabama tied up in one of the frames. He really wants to find ” The Boat” and if you know of one in the Western Michigan area let us know. This family is as humble as they get.

    • Dan T
      Dan T says:

      There’s probably a 50/50 chance the boat is still out there somewhere, but it could be anywhere in the country. Boats tend to move around. Knowing the hull number will increase the odds of a find considerably. Back in the day it didn’t matter much, but most folks who are into old wooden Chris Crafts today identify their boat by original hull number and use it to obtain hull cards and other specifics.

  6. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Well then why not got back to that dealer or its successor and see if there is any paperwork reflecting who they resold the boat to. Maybe a local bank that financed boats for that dealer has some papers……Or if they are despirate enough go to the ACBS directory and contact the owner of every 18 and 20′ Continental and ask what they know about their boat’s heritage.

  7. Jim Gordon
    Jim Gordon says:

    Thanks Matt, for getting the word out! The original owner was Ken VanderSchuur, my wife’s dad. (yes that is his truck too! But that project will have to wait!) Her mom Madelyn (forefront in the picture taken from the bow), recently passed away and that’s how I got started on this hunt. Wish I had more info. Nehmer Kid and I may be taking a trip out to the Mariners Museum to do a little more digging. At this point I don’t have more than the photos. Sure would like to zoom in, remove and unfold those papers in his shirt pocket in the launch video! Probably signed them that morning!!

    • Greg Lewandowski
      Greg Lewandowski says:


      If you have the hull registration number, try Michigan Secretary of State. They have the capability to trace the boat if they will do it for you.

      • m-fine
        m-fine says:

        Yep, I can’t read it but there is a bow number visible in one of the photos. If you can read that, the state will likely have records of the hull number. Also, if it stayed in the state, the registration numbers likely did not change and they may be able to point you to the last owner who registered it.

  8. Shannon K
    Shannon K says:

    If you don’t have luck with one Michigan Secretary of State, try another. We’ve found certain ones – like Chesterfield due to its proximity to Algonac I presume – to be significantly more helpful than others – like Pontiac. Definitely don’t go to Pontiac. 🙂 Good luck and keep us posted!

  9. Jack Lynett
    Jack Lynett says:

    The state registration hull numbers are shown in the pictures.
    Contact the state office to see if it is still an active number, and if so, who registered it.
    They will give you a hard time, but it is public record.

      • Jack Lynett
        Jack Lynett says:

        Another thought…..dangerous as it is……but did she have a “name” and was it on the transom? Boaters are reluctant to change names. Is so…check the boat name section of the current ACBS directory, where name, make and model are listed, and owners name. Good luck.

  10. Chad
    Chad says:

    You could also sift through members in the ACBS directory that own Continentals. Maybe start with the Michigan & Water Wonderland Chapters.

  11. Jim Staib
    Jim Staib says:

    It’s not state registered. It has Coast Guard numbers on it. Call the local district and tell them a sad story. Might work.

    • Greg Lewandowski
      Greg Lewandowski says:

      Nice catch Jim. I knew they were not Michigan MC registration numbers, but did not know what they were.

  12. Ed
    Ed says:

    This looks a lot like my 18′ Continental, which I bought by the side of the road in Northern Michigan about 5 years ago, and had restored. It now spends summers happily cruising on Torch lake. I don’t know it’s history, other than the guy I bought it from said he bought it in Ohio.

  13. Greg Wallace
    Greg Wallace says:

    The full seat back suggests it is an 18. Gold upholstery says 1955. “Government Numbers” were often provided before shipping and appear on the hull card. If these were then another clue would help when sorting through.

  14. Jim Gordon
    Jim Gordon says:

    Thanks all! The Coast Guard was a new angle so I did call the Ninth District this morning. Talked to a military agent in the investigative department. Nice guy but said that number didn’t align with CG #s going back to WWI. He thought it must be a state registration #.
    Back in November I called a number the local SOS office gave me for historical records look up in Lansing. They said their records don’t go back near that far. I may try the suggestion of calling another branch like Chesterfield.
    I think my next step may be to call the Mariners Museum and ask if they can research for all 18′ or 20′ Continentals sold to the CC Dealer in Holland Michigan in the spring/early summer of 1955. (the video was from June/July of ’55). I called today (they said they love Chris Craft people) but the people to help are out until Tuesday.
    On the 18′ or 20′ question, I thought the same on the solid seat back, but the Essential Guide said the 18′ had a red and white waterline stripe, and the 20′ had a single white stripe only. The pics and videos show pretty clearly a single white stripe. Anyway, I’ll continue to pursue both for the time being.
    Thanks again for the help!! Merry Christmas to all!!

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