Hal Roth

Sailor, Author

1927 – 2008


Who was Hal Roth?

Hal Roth was an American sailor and author. In 1971 he was awarded the Blue Water Medal of the Cruising Club of America. He died of lung cancer.

Hal Roth was an avid sailor and prolific sailing writer. The success of his first book, about the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, prompted him and his wife to try the precarious worlds of adventuring and writing. They quit their jobs, and began a 19 month voyage around the Pacific in a 35 foot sloop. Their vast journey culminated in the publication of his first sailing book, "Two on a Big Ocean."

He and his wife, Margaret, subsequently made a life of sailing and writing about it, including sailing around South America and a circumnavigation via Panama, the Torres Strait, and Suez. He then raced single-handedly around the world in the 1986-87 BOC Challenge, finishing fourth in a class of fourteen.

History description from The Hal Roth Papers of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park Historic Documents Department: Hal Roth was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1927. He was an aviator during World War II and the Korean War. During the course of his lifetime, Roth was also an author, sailor, mountaineer, and photographer. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with a degree in Journalism, and became a free-lance writer and photographer. He studied photography with Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. He worked as a photographer for the American Society of Magazine Photographers based in Sausalito, California and took countless images of life in the surrounding area of California during the late 1950s and into the late 1960s. Roth's free-lance works of note include magazine titles such as Colliers, Fortune, The Saturday Evening Post, and The New York Times. Themes of his work include: California landscapes and wildlife, San Francisco, Winter Olympics, Dr. Suess, and Native American wildland firefighters of the Southwest.

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United States of America
  • United States of America
  • University of California, Berkeley
Oct 25, 2008

on July 23, 2013


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