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.

If you don’t like the weather, wait a minute

June 26, 2017 at 9:38 am

An early season heat wave hit the Isles of Shoals this week, and with it came the first big wave of visiting yachts and boats. The most notable among them was Paul Rollins’ lovely schooner Heart’s Desire. It felt like the middle of July in Texas this afternoon, as weRead More

Well-timed miracles are welcome at times

May 22, 2017 at 12:00 am

The daffodils have come and gone, and the lilac buds are trying hard to open on the lawn of the Oceanic Hotel. A troupe of naturalists is set to arrive in a few days to chronicle the annual bird migration through the Isles of Shoals. Sugarloaf ski area closed aRead More

The usual springtime elephant on the island

April 24, 2017 at 12:00 am

In this column, I share stories from the Isles of Shoals and beyond. Some six miles south-southeast of the mouth of the Piscataqua River, this amazing place is host to a variety of interesting vessels, wildlife and people – a rest stop on the East Coast maritime highway. I wasRead More

The unvarnished truth about the 10 percent rule

March 13, 2017 at 12:01 am

We have owned our wooden sloop Aloft for over 15 years. During that time, we have rebuilt the engine, replaced framing, planks and port lights, renewed decks with Dynel and epoxy, painted the topsides at least every other year, and performed countless other tasks and upgrades necessary to keep aRead More

A new era of energy independence for Star Island

January 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm

In this column, I will share 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 EastRead More

Islands expose what we often take for granted

November 21, 2016 at 2:21 pm

We learn from, and share resources with, other islanders in New England and beyond. We experiment. We have developed a new awareness that waste is not an option. These efforts are yielding great results. Sometimes they are quirky; often they’re ingenious.

A toast to Shoals people, stories and boats

October 1, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Fall arrived at the Isles of Shoals one Sunday afternoon in mid-September, on the back of a blustery northwest wind that turned the misty air clear, and the water from gray/green to blue, in the matter of an hour. Weekend visitors that had arrived the previous day to escape theRead More

Aloft and Jack grow old together with concern

September 1, 2016 at 2:34 pm

It is a hot Sunday afternoon in late July, and I’m walking across the dusty back lot of a small boat yard in southern Maine a dozen miles from the ocean. Ahead of me in the shimmering heat is a large metal-clad storage shed whose dark-green panels creak in theRead More

A heady mix of skinny from Isles of Shoals

July 1, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Forgive me if the following dispatch is a bit disjointed. The demands of finishing projects and opening up the island are at their height right now, and the best I can muster tonight is a partially embellished list of some of the notable recent events and preparations for the summerRead More

Manners, safety timeless seamanship tenets

June 1, 2016 at 2:46 pm

One bright afternoon last July I was cornered on the porch of the Oceanic Hotel by an older gentleman who has been a Star Island guest for decades. This man is notorious among long time hotel staff for his annual list of complaints, generally delivered on the Monday following hisRead More