Eight Bells for Jimmy Hall

The CW contributor and career wild man died in a BASE jumping accident earlier this week.


Jimmy Hall’s masterful photographic skills reflected his unique perspective on sailing.

Jimmy Hall, cruising sailor, photographer, videographer, and contributor to Cruising World and several other sailing magazines, died on May 9, 2007. He was 40 years old. Hall was filming an ecological documentary about the Arctic when he died, while parachuting (BASE jumping) off of a mountain near Sam Ford Fiord, Baffin Island.

According to his longtime companion, Stefanie Brendl, a memorial tribute to Jimmy will soon be posted on a website ( Steffi and Jimmy have long maintained their own website (, documenting their adventures at sea and on land.

Jimmy’s article on underwater photography (“A Cruising Sailor Gets Up Close and Personal“) appeared in the April 2007 issue of Cruising World, featuring his experiences swimming free with whales and sharks, including a 17-foot great white shark off the coast of Hawaii. He made the cover of the September 2001 issue under the theme “The Joy of Sailing,” in which he wrote about his adventures in Indonesia aboard his 30-foot Ericson sloop Hoku Pa’a (“Splashing Down in Indonesia“)


An avid North Shore surfer as a young man, Hall earned his commercial captain’s license at age 18. He built his cruising kitty working as a tug captain hauling barges around the Pacific Ocean, finally setting out aboard Hoku Pa’a in 1995. He sailed and lived on Hoku Pa’a for five years and honed his abilities as an underwater photographer, writer, and ultimately, a videographer.

The challenges of voyaging and surfing led him to kite boarding, paragliding, and BASE jumping, skills which he used to bring a dramatic perspective to his art. His photography, adventure films and documentaries earned numerous awards in the United States and Europe. When he died, he was the owner of a charter sailing catamaran and the business Hawaii Shark Encounters, both based in Oahu, and he was selected by the Discovery Channel to be the new host of its popular program “Shark Week.”

The staff of Cruising World will sorely miss the unique view that Jimmy Hall brought to cruising, life, and the sea. Our sincerest condolences to loved ones and family members.


Award-winning journalist Darrell Nicholson is a former editor with Cruising World. He’s now the editor of Practical Sailor.


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