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8 Bells... Christopher B "Kip" Hamblet

Laura Jeffers | Published on 8/17/2020

Kip Hamblet

June 16, 2020:
It is with great sadness that we share the sudden passing of Christopher B “Kip” Hamblet on Thursday, June 11. Growing up Kip sailed out of Fleet 145 on Spofford Lake in New Hampshire and was part of the New England District. Later in life he moved to Florida and most recently was active with Fleet 526 on Lake Monroe in the Florida District. In between he has sailed all over the World and was involved in many other fleets. The Lightning Class was the most constant variable in a life full of change. Kip was a positive influence; he made the good times even better and he was a friend to everyone. He will be missed by many and our thoughts and prayers go out to his beloved wife Ruth and family.

If you have thoughts about Kip to share or photos to add to the gallery below please send them to the Class Office.

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.  


Kip Hamblet_Ruth Hamblet_Anne Allen
Kip Hamblet_Stu Nickerson
Ched Proctor_Kip Hamblet_Christine Moloney
Kip Hamblet_Rob Ruhlman


By Bill Faude


In the family of people I have met sailing our beloved square boats, Kip Hamblet is the most loyal, most caring, most genuinely interested person I have yet met. I will not write about him in the past tense. Although it may be nonsensical, I feel that as long as I keep him in my memory, and remember him to others, I do a small part to keep him around.


I met Kip at the 1991 World Championships in Annapolis. He still had a bit of New Hampshire accent. I don’t remember how we met…but I’m willing to bet he came up and introduced himself. I’m also willing to bet that he already knew who we were…Kip would have seen us in the parking lot and asked someone—and this was not because we were particularly distinguished. Like I said, he’s just genuinely interested.


His boat was berthed near ours in the boat park. It was a beautiful tank Allen that had been his Dad’s. He showed us around every inch of it. This was about 62 re-riggings and perhaps 2 decks ago. After every race day, he made a point of asking about our finishes. He could not have been nicer. At the end of the regatta it felt like we’d known each other for years. A couple days after the regatta he called me. In those days, he would have had to call the Class office and ask Donna for my number. Who calls someone they just met at a regatta just to talk? Kip. He has a nack for calling at particularly significant times.He’s called me after regattas that didn’t go well—regattas he has not attended--just to ask if everything was OK in my life. Maybe his calls just make those times significant.


Oh, by the way, he and Hal and Dave won that World Championship. You would never have known that as it was happening. There in the boat park he came off as just another sailor. By the way, since that day, I’ve not heard him say one word about that World’s Win. Don’t get me wrong, he is very proud of that accomplishment. He just figures people are smart—they know their history. He’s confident enough to not have to remind people.


Kip was the Lightning Class Chief Measurer for a good long while. During those years the Chief Measurer often became the Class President. When his logical time to do that came up, his business needed more time than trying to do both jobs would allow. I won’t forget how much it hurt him to stand aside and not be President. How much it bothered him, illustrates the kind of person he is. He loves the Lightning. He loves the family. He loves the hang out in the boat park during regattas—it is a very happy place for him. Other than being anywhere with Ruth or going upwind in the big breeze with Stu, I think the boat park might be his favorite place. He loves the ILCA in ways that seem old fashioned today. That’s called being willing to be responsible for what you think is important. He’s had that willingness…that responsibility since I’ve known him.


He took care of my Red Tahoe when he thought it wasn’t safe to drive. He tried to get me to sell it. But he never told my wife. Then just before a Southern Circuit, he fixed it.Then when something else up 30 minutes after I’d picked it up from his shop he said, “You just won the wrong lottery.” He sent a flat bed and he told me where to find the keys to another truck in his driveway so I could hook the boat up and get to Miami. He does that. Most loyal. Most caring.


I don’t claim to be the definitive authority on Kip. Ruth, Stu, Kurt, Tommy, Huf, Rob and others have far more history. I just know what I know: I love Kip. Knowing him has made my life better in ways I cannot even quantify. And I am absolutely without doubt that will continue to be the case.

From Andrea Fisher: Crew member for Kip

Kip and I had an extremely close connection. He was my introduction to the lightening class, he was a fatherly figure who always protected and rooted for me, and he was a fantastic friend. It is difficult for me to imagine sailing a lightening again without Kip there. We had so many laughs, failures, and triumphs that I am not prepared for our time to be over.
I recently looked back through my phone and read all the text messages between Kip and myself over the past year. I was reminded that for the people Kip cared about, he cared about them deeply. Kip always wanted to make sure everyone was taken care of and that everything was good in their world. He would do anything to help any of his friends.  He was selfless and his selflessness made my life so much richer and more joyful than it would have been had he not touched it. 
I love you Kip and I will miss you. Thank you for time we had together.
Kip Hamblet_Andrea Fisher
Click on the image below to view a photo gallery of Kip: 

Kip Hamblet

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