by Neal & Jean Ganser members of the Big Sky chapter

My son Quentin Ganser was doing well in mechanical engineering. However, being an active young man with a gift for working with his hands, he was not enthusiastic about life in front of a computer. Discovering the Northwest School of Wooden Boat Building in Port Hadlock WA, it was a perfect fit for him. After a year and graduating with an associate degree in classic wood boat building, he passionately expressed it this way “I can’t believe I got to spend a year doing exactly what I always wanted to do”. He was kept over for another year as an intern during which he began construction of forget-me-not along with a crew of students and graduates. She is named for the five petals of the flower for our five children. Quentin was recruited into the aero-space composits industry where he has thrived.

This vessel is a ‘Bartender’, designed in the 1950’s by George Calkins for the rough waters over the sand bars at the mouth of the Columbia River. The very successful rough water, double ended, semi-displacement hull, using what was then new plywood technology, became U. S. Coast Guard patrol boats, surf rescue boats, fishing boats and, like forget-me-not, even cabin cruisers. The Coast Guard test for patrol boats was five complete rollovers in twenty-five foot waves!

Forget-me-not was built over four years from a 26 foot plan stretched to 27’8”. Spruce frames, 3/8” okoume marine ply (double on bottom) and fiberglass/epoxy, this hull is so fair it looks better than many molded hulls. It is finished with Epiphanes paints. Well and main decks are 3/8” ply finished with Pettit paints with anti-skid. Cabin sides and the beautiful rounded coaming are ¼ ply with house milled 3/16” sapele, epoxy veneered both sides and finished bright. Cabin interior is trimmed in cherry with a hand rubbed bees-wax finish by Skidmores. She has a full V-berth, small galley, locker and enclosed head.

Forget-me-not is powered by a Crusader 6.0, 375hp engine placed amidships and tops out at 32 knots. A full electronics array including GPS controlled auto-pilot, radar, AIS and radio equips her for coastal cruising. Launched 2015 at Port Townsend WA, she plies Flathead Lake in NW Montana in summer and occasionally the Pacific NW coast. She tends to win awards at shows and has been described as riding the waves on beautiful furniture – a description that also fits most other ACBS vessels.


  1. Hi Neal, Great story, thanks for sharing it with our ACBS readers. You and Quentin did a remarkable job building this boat and I have watched it take on some fairly rough water here on Flathead Lake and it did it with ease. It is obviously a crowd pleaser as well, since I think you’ve won every time it has been shown. Looking forward to seeing it again in 2021.

  2. A closed head and small galley wth hot/cold running water. Shower on the well deck using a stretchable hose. There is a 29′ Bartender design that is closer to a liv-aboard, however it is too wide for easy trailering from lake to coast.

  3. Such a masterpiece!

    It surely would have won top awards had it it made it to the ACBS International show in Idaho this year.

    Great to see it featured once again for all to admire.

  4. Neal and Jean: thank you so much for the opportunity to enjoy your beautiful boat in Coeur d’Alene. She is even more lovely in person than in the photos! Susie and Matt

  5. I was stationed a Cape Disappointment (Columbia river) in the late -60’s, and we had one there. I think it was one of the first, which I cannot confirm. While they handled nice, we never took it over the bar, or used it for towing. It was fun to run, but built too lightly for what we needed to do. We did not test boats by rolling them over 5 times. The first self-righting 44 footer was rolled over once by Chief McAdams ( I think I remember at Tillamook). The coasties did survive the rollover, but not something we wanted to do.

  6. Wonderful to see NWSWB included in the Scholarship program with ACBS! They are doing exceptional work in elevating their students to productive and skilled trades people.

  7. My father, Norman Hartling, worked for George Calkins (Calkins Craft) and built these boats in Lincoln City and McMinnville, Oregon, from 1958-62 (the company closed and we moved to Washington so he could work at Tollycraft). He is 93 yo, still living in Oregon, and I’m sure he would love discussing these boats with these skilled craftsman (503-974-9172 PST).

    (forwarding this article to him).

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