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.

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

The joy and dread of blissful abandon

April 1, 2016 at 2:44 pm

In the course of my earliest seasons of youthful sailing exuberance, I cruised the coast in a 17-foot O’Day Daysailer. Then in my early 20s, I can still recall the dismissive reaction of one of my more experienced sailing friends to the concept of sailing anywhere offshore in an openRead More

The joys of rowing good boats on pretty water

February 1, 2016 at 2:29 pm

Alright, I admit it: Outboard-powered rubber boats are convenient, and they can even be a little fun. We have one at the island, and it comes in very handy sometimes. We use it as a harbor-rescue craft, a tender, and sometimes as a mini tugboat. Most of the time, itsRead More