Remembering the Sailor Who Played the Game of Life
A long, long time ago, someone here at Cruising World had a very bright idea: Save at least one copy of every issue of the magazine and put it in a library. Not only does this give us a great place to go and goof off-er, conduct research-it opens up a treasure trove of tales written by sailors over the years.
It was while conducting such research one day that I came across a copy of the September 2001 Cruising World. There, on the cover, was a guy sitting at the top of a mast, sails set, somewhere in the middle of the Pacific, camera pointed at himself, and obviously having way, way, too much fun.
I had to read the article. And then I had to ask around, who is this guy?
This guy was Jimmy Hall, and amongst CW editors, a legend. Surfing the big breaks, playing with sharks, paragliding over steaming volcanoes-he was the real deal.
In our April 2007 issue, we ran another one of his stories, "A Cruising Sailor Gets Up Close and Personal," in which he, camera in hand, jumps in and goes swimming with denizens of all descriptions. You'd have to be a real sourpuss not to smile while reading it.
On May 9, Jimmy was killed while BASE jumping off of a mountain near Sam Ford Fiord, Baffin Island, during the filming of an ecological documentary about the Arctic. Practical Sailor editor Darrell Nicholson, a former CW editor, filed a tribute to the late adventurer on our web site last week. If you missed it, you can read his thoughts and find links that will take you to Jimmy's memorial web site. In the meantime, friends and family have set up a memorial fund in his name to support shark research.
The world, of course, moves on, but there'll be one less wild man out there to make us smile and remind us of the rewards reaped by pushing the confines of the envelope just a little bit farther.