"The past actually happened but history is only what someone wrote down." A. Whitney Brown.

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San Juan Archipelago, Washington State, United States
A society formed in 2009 for the purpose of collecting, preserving, celebrating, and disseminating the maritime history of the San Juan Islands and northern Puget Sound area. Check this log for tales from out-of-print publications as well as from members and friends. There are circa 650, often long entries, on a broad range of maritime topics; there are search aids at the bottom of the log. Please ask for permission to use any photo posted on this site. Thank you.

15 October 2016

❖ LOBO DEL MAR from LOPEZ ISLAND ❖ by Louise Dustrude

L-R: Tom Chamberlin, his son Conrad 
and "Floyd,"
Late 1970s on Lopez Island, WA.
Courtesy of Jan Chamberlin.
"The 38-ft work boat, LOBO DEL MAR, has a sweet English Ford engine with a Sabb marine conversion that will push her along at hull speed, 8-knots, on less than two gallons of Diesel an hour with the help of a variable pitch propeller.
      The designer-builder-owner Tom Chamberlin, who would have been 100 years old today, 15 October 2016, loved sailing, so he designed the boat to run under either power or sail.
      Called a 'schooner' because of the location of the cabin astern, the boat is actually designed with a modified ketch rig with a 40-ft foremast and a 24-ft mizzenmast. 
      Tom said the sails offer 'another way to get home if something goes wrong,' but another reason is that 'sailing is fun.'
at work in the islands in the early 1980s.
by C. Christensen
      At 38-ft overall with a 4-ft draft, the boat is small enough for it to lie alongside the reefnet boats from which he purchases salmon (he buys from gillnetters as well.) The hold capacity is probably about 12 tons, he figures. In his first two seasons, 1980 and 1981, he sometimes single-handed and sometimes had the help of his son-in-law, Malcolm Lea, a summer resident of Shaw. He was buying for Island Fresh Seafoods of Lopez.
      Tom designed the boat and then made a model he 'whittled away at' until he was satisfied, and then drew the final plans. He built the boat in a shed on his Lopez property overlooking Fisherman Bay, with the help of sons Conrad and Hank, of Douglas fir on oak frames. It took 13 months; the launch took place a couple of days before the first eruption of Mt. St. Helens.
Friday Harbor marina
Courtesy of John Dustrude©, Friday Harbor, WA.

      Tom estimates that LOBO DEL MAR is 'about the 35th boat he's built, so he had some experience to draw on. He started when he was in the fifth or sixth grade with a little rowboat that ''leaked like hell,' and along the way he built a 57' ketch, CIRCE, taken after the L. Francis Herreshoff design, TIOGA I.
      He built CIRCE in 1961 and 1962 in Spain, and then sailed her in the Med with his wife, Sally, and their seven children. They had taken the children, then aged 5 to 16, to Europe because of their dismay at the lack of intellectual disciplines being taught in US public schools. In fact, it was when their daughter was being taught the use of lipstick and rouge in her fifth grade class that they decided to go. They wanted to expose the children to other cultures 'to give them some options,' and after about three years in the Med they went on to spend the next 13 chartering in the West Indies.
      The nearly three dozen boats Tom built over the years included four he built in the early 40s with George Calkins, designer of the 'Bartender,' using all hand tools; one was a 60-ft fishing boat and the others were 34-footers.
      Here in San Juan County Tom served on both the Energy Committee and the Tidal Generation Committee and found plenty of time to socialize with friends. But he's also at work on another boat, a 12' flat-bottomed skiff with a little sprit-sail, designed by his son Carl in Port Townsend.
      'I'm one of those guys who's happiest on the water,' but a close second had to be building a boat to take him out on the water."
Above words by Louise Dustrude. San Juan Islands Almanac Vol. 9.
Long House Printcrafters and Publishers. Friday Harbor, WA. 1982.
      We hear LOBO DEL MAR was shipped to the east coast. Thanks Louise, for capturing this boat and her family when she was living in the San Juan Islands.

1 comment:

  1. I saw this boat at Seattle Fisherman's terminal in the 80's as it was for sale then. I believe the price was $12,000.00. I was very tempted to purchaser her and spoke at least once with the owner. I remember him saying he was on Orcas Island. I remember him telling me that the diesel engine was a converted 300 cu in Ford gas engine by some fellows north of Everett. The boat had beautiful lines with as I remember, a dog house forward with a ladder down to two bunks in the bow. Funny, I don,t remember any masts. I notice in the pictures that there are no booms or other rigging normally associated with a sailing rig. I would be very surprised if she was ever under sail. I believe she was newly built when I saw her. The quality of construction was superb. At the time I saw her I was a farmer in eastern Washington. After I stopped that foolishness I looked for the boat under the name "lobo". Not Lobo Del Mar! Maybe he added the Del Mar to the name after I saw her or my memory is/was faulty. Anyway, I regret that I didn;t buy her when I had the chance since it was love at first sight!


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