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.
They will come back

They will come back

May 18, 2020 at 12:00 am

By Jack Farrell The usual spring activity along our coast has been slow to develop this season due to the pandemic. But in early May, Maine Governor Janet Mills announced a phased re-opening plan for business in the state. In addition to some other enterprises, barbershops and marinas will be allowedRead More

Photo by Jack FarrellOne of the Shoals' snowy owls. Inside a shuttered-for-the-season building, they sure can be scary.

‘There are no ghosts on the Isles of Shoals’

April 20, 2020 at 12:00 am

As normal life on the mainland began to close down in response to the spreading virus in late March, I made a run out to the Isles of Shoals in Utopia with an especially large supply order for the caretakers. In a normal season there would be a day inRead More

Careful what you wish for

Careful what you wish for

March 16, 2020 at 12:00 am

By Jack Farrell For Points East I’ve come to realize lately that I have a personality that is prone to obsession. While that may sound at first like a confession delivered in the first meeting of a 12-step program, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, especially if theRead More

Lit picks, and venturing out

Lit picks, and venturing out

January 27, 2020 at 12:00 am

The first trip to the Isles of Shoals in the new year was a combination supply run for the Star Island caretakers and a reconnaissance mission for upcoming building projects. We loaded a dozen small bags of groceries and a few bottles of wine – enough to get through theRead More

Good counsel, and sailing faster than the wind

Good counsel, and sailing faster than the wind

November 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

In spite of my best-laid plans, a second season has now passed without launching our sloop Aloft. We have used the time to make numerous upgrades, and she now has a totally new rig, engine, and plank fastenings below the waterline. With her updated electronics and refurbished teak cockpit, sheRead More

Hurricane Dorian and the “dream wedding”

Hurricane Dorian and the “dream wedding”

September 23, 2019 at 12:00 am

The last big weekend of the year promised a full house at the Oceanic Hotel. A two-day island wedding extravaganza was also on the schedule.

Photo courtesy Jack FarrellNow this is a nice-looking boat: The Corwith Cramer, a brigantine sailed out of Woods Hole, Mass.

East vs. West: It’s all about the boats

August 26, 2019 at 12:00 am

The sign hanging over the front counter of the Islander Grocery at Lummi Island in Puget Sound reads “Keep Lummi Weird.” Nearly three thousand miles from my familiar islands back home in Maine and New Hampshire, this sign captures the essence of a common island spirit that makes these placesRead More

Optimism, Catboat Bob, and Mrs. Crabby

Optimism, Catboat Bob, and Mrs. Crabby

June 21, 2019 at 6:00 pm

By Jack Farrell Points East We’re five miles out of Portsmouth on an early summer freight run to Star Island. The fine bow of my Royall Lowell-designed Utopia slices through the two-foot chop with grace and power. Ten feet back at the helm, bits of cool spray hit my face,Read More

The cold, wet reality of it

The cold, wet reality of it

May 20, 2019 at 12:00 am

Our rough and exposed stretch of Bigelow Bight between Portsmouth and the Isles of Shoals has been characteristically challenging since my daily crossings resumed in early March. While only two days so far have been rough enough to actually cancel a trip, most of the other ones have been wet,Read More

Points East file photo by Jack FarrellThe 42-foot Utopia, which, design-wise, is essentially a big lobster boat, fares much better than the Hurricane in inclement weather.

Crunch time in the islands

April 22, 2019 at 12:00 am

Dawn broke late on this stormy morning in early April. Yesterday was sunny and warm, but today it was winter on the water again. A cold rain was falling, verging on sleet. The biting wind drove a familiar salty tang. Seas were from the northeast at five to nine feet,Read More