Jack Farrell

Jack is a USCG 100-ton master and the island manager at Star Island at the Isles of Shoals, where his boat, Aloft, lives most of the summer. His column covers stories and observations from the Isles of Shoals and beyond. Some six miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Piscataqua River, this amazing and historic place is host to a variety of interesting vessels, wildlife and people – a rest stop on the East Coast maritime highway. He is the owner of Seacoast Maritime Charters.
Photo by Jack FarrellThis granite breakwater creates a critical harbor of refuge for Gosport Harbor on Star Island in the Isles of Shoals.

Points of refuge

March 20, 2023 at 12:00 am

Spring 2023 By Jack Farrell When my passion to become a respectable sailor was at its peak many years ago, I was a voracious consumer of the practical literature of the sea. While I spent my summer weekends at the self-directed school of hard nautical knocks, my winter evenings wereRead More

Photo by Jack FarrellThe Haley House stands near the site of the Red House on Smuttynose Island where itinerant fisherman Louis Wagner murdered two women in 1873.

Smuttynose Island – rich in history

January 30, 2023 at 12:00 am

Winter 2023 By Jack Farrell For Points East The late December gale that blew through the Piscataqua Region with hurricane-force winds and historic storm surge caused surprisingly little damage at Star Island, the unofficial capital of the Isles of Shoals. During a caretaker supply mission one beautiful afternoon in mid-January,Read More

Photo by Jack FarrellOne of the mysterious iron eyebolts found embedded in the bedrock of Star Island. They were possibly used as moorings by the original inhabitants of the Isles of Shoals. They certainly would provide a solid hold on the island.

Replacing hope with certainty

November 21, 2022 at 12:00 am

December 2022 By Jack Farrell With a long winter ahead of us, one of the best ways to keep in touch with a passion for the ocean is to read about it. Ever since I bought my first little sailboat over 45 years ago, I have supplemented the school ofRead More

Photo by Jack FarrellWe enter ancient Gosport Harbor late in the afternoon to be treated to the sight of a magnificent Alden schooner yacht riding at anchor.

In search of a little salvation

September 26, 2022 at 12:00 am

And we get to know a native Seabrooker

Photo by Jack FarrellShining Star outrunning a squall on the island luggage run.

A star is born

August 22, 2022 at 12:00 am

Photo by Jack Farrell September 2022 By Jack Farrell Just short of five weeks into life with the Shining Star, I’m sitting in the wheelhouse between trips at our dock along the Piscataqua. The boat rolls nearly incessantly against the float dock as the weekend warriors roar through the noRead More

Photo by Jack FarrellThe author’s new boat, Shining Star, docked alongside his faithful and recently retired Utopia.

Last days in Utopia

July 25, 2022 at 12:00 am

August 2022 By Jack Farrell There is an old saying that the two happiest days of a sailor’s life are the day he buys the boat and the day he sells it. I’ll agree with the first part, but in most cases – for me – the sale of aRead More

Photo by Bruce ParsonsA bird’s-eye view of Star Island.

An insider’s guide to the Isles of Shoals

June 20, 2022 at 12:00 am

There’s lots to love about this location just off the Maine and New Hampshire coasts. Here are some tips for making the most of your visit.

Photo by Jack FarrellShining Star, the author’s Mussel Ridge 46 currently under construction, promises to be an incredibly strong work boat.

A beast of a boat

May 23, 2022 at 12:00 am

June 2022 By Jack Farrell Our new 46-foot Mussel Ridge lobster boat is nearing completion at an undisclosed location somewhere in southern Maine. The boat has been custom designed for its dual role as all-weather freight hauler and small passenger charter vessel for year-round operation out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.Read More

A brief break from winter and a not-so-mild boat ride

A brief break from winter and a not-so-mild boat ride

March 14, 2022 at 12:00 am

March/April 2022 By Jack Farrell During a short break from winter’s grip in late February, the temperature along the coast rose briefly into the high 60s. At Star Island, unofficial capital of the Isles of Shoals, the care-takers had been out of fruit and vegetables for weeks. We took advantageRead More

Photo by Jack FarrellThe new Mussel Ridge 46 hull on the trailer and ready for transport to the shop where she’ll be finished.

A tale of two lobster boats

January 31, 2022 at 12:00 am

  January/February 2022 By Jack Farrell We took delivery of our new Mussel Ridge 46 hull during a freezing rainstorm in the first week of January. After more than a year of planning and design, the hull and deck were completed just before Christmas in Cushing, Maine. At 15 feetRead More