Posted August 2020:
Christopher “Kip” B. Hamblet, husband, World Champion sailor, American hero, passed away in his home on June 11th in Altamonte Springs, Florida. Though Kip was always moving in the air, on land, and on the water, in helicopters, cars, and boats, he was grounded by his love and commitment to his wife of 26 years, Ruth Hamblet.
Kip was born the second of three children in Keene, New Hampshire on January 18, 1948 to Fred and Sophie Krupa Hamblet. Kip started sailing Lightnings in 1959, crewing with his father on No. 280. From this beginning on Spofford Lake he has sailed all over the U.S. and in several World Championships. While Kip enjoyed being at the helm of his own boat, he had a talent of being an excellent middle crew. In 1991 he was part of the winning crew that won the World Championship with Dave Dellenbaugh and Hale Wolcoff and the Master’s Worlds in 2003 with Jim Crane and Larry Bone. His wide network of friends included many members of the International Lightning Class Association, of which he was an active member throughout his life. He served as New England District Commodore, International Race Committee, Assistant Measurer, Chief Measurer, and most recently served as a trustee for the Helen Limbaugh Fund. He spent many days entertaining family and friends on his Mako powerboat “KEEPAH” at his family home on Marco Island, Florida.
After graduating from Keene High School in 1967, Kip enlisted in the Army so he could fly. He was a Chief Warrant Officer and served in Vietnam - one-year active duty. He was appointed Aircraft Commander following six weeks of combat experience as helicopter co-pilot. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross, Army Commendation Medal, and Air Medals with Valor. Upon completion of his tour of duty he was a tactical helicopter flight instructor at Fort Stewart, Georgia and was a ground school instructor at Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Georgia until his discharge in 1971.
Kip subsequently earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Business from University of Massachusetts. He then worked numerous jobs both domestically and abroad, doing everything from flying helicopters to working in construction and insurance, even earning Top Salesman of the Year from Provident Mutual Insurance Company. In 1992, he decided to pursue his passion for cars (he especially loved his 1974 Yellow Pantera) and purchased an AAMCO Transmission franchise in Longwood, Florida.
Kip met the love of his life, Ruth Hamblet, while sailing. They married in 1994. His love for her, which he shared often and proudly with the world, was truly unmatched.
Though he never had children of his own, Kip gained two stepchildren, Gib and Allyson Palmer, through his marriage and through them, seven grandchildren. He was a beloved member of the family, and his endless support, gratitude, and pride for his grandchildren was rivaled only by their love and respect for him.
Kip was a kind soul, honest, straightforward, and selfless. He made the good times better and was a friend to everyone. It was an honor to know him and consider him a friend. He will be missed by many.
He is survived by the love of his life and wife of 26 years, Ruth Hamblet, sister Gail Hamblet (Keene, NH), nephew Christopher Hamblet (Keene, NH), niece Caitlin Whitehead (Framingham, MA), and Lisa Stevens (Exeter, NH), stepson Gib Palmer (Helen), (Milton, GA), stepdaughter Allyson Palmer Stoops (Patrick), (Mill Valley, CA), and 7 grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions to the Lightning Class Limbaugh Fund to support education, training, and the promotion of Junior sailing.