Carl Chamberlin, beloved father, brother, uncle, friend, and honorary grandfather died at home on November 7, 2023, at the age of 75 after a long battle with cancer. Carl sailed into Port Townsend on his 25th birthday and made a home here for 50 years. He built a reputation for himself in the boat world–in Port Townsend and beyond–becoming known for his love for and expertise in boat design, and was honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Wooden Boat Foundation in 2019.
Carl would be the first to tell you that he spent his life as a dreamer. He found his love of boats and water young, born in Newport, Oregon to Tom and Sally Chamberlin. He spent his earliest years in Newport with six siblings in a log house his father built on the Yaquina. In 1961, the family moved to Mallorca, Spain, where at the early age of 13 he worked in the boatyard with his father and brothers building the family’s 58’ sailing boat. Carl learned about lofting and designing boats while also learning to speak Spanish. He attended The International University in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Old Westbury University in New York. With an engineer’s mind and a passion for all things maritime, his love for wooden boats continued throughout his life. Forever unimpressed by pomp and circumstance, bells and whistles et al, he became a master of clean elegant design. One of the projects Carl was especially proud of was the ‘Nuf, a small wooden boat that he designed for his daughter when she was a small child. He designed it to be lightweight, easy to build, easy to use, and tough enough to handle some weather. He christened the design with the tagline, “It’s meant for fun and that’s a ’Nuf.” He went on to lead many years of family boatbuilding workshops at boat shows, festivals and art and craft destinations, guiding families through building a ‘Nuf for themselves from scratch to launch in one long weekend.
Carl will be deeply missed. He is survived by his daughter Shelley Chamberlin, his sisters Jan Chamberlin and Suzy Beal, his brother Conrad Chamberlin, and many nieces and nephews. The family will hold a private burial at Laurel Grove cemetery. There will be a gathering to honor Carl in summer. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further info.