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.

On the nature of command

November 19, 2018 at 12:00 am

“Put on all sail!” shouted the captain as the ship sailed toward the island. As we neared the island I heard a cannon fire. A scream came from the mizzen mast, and then I saw three men fall, and following them was the top half of the mast. I suddenlyRead More

The gift of unexpected moments

September 24, 2018 at 12:00 am

As I write this I’m on an airplane returning from a trip to the high and dry western desert to meet our first grandchild. The plane banks abruptly, descending through rain-swept clouds into Boston — revealing a long view of the coast to the north and east. I can justRead More

Down on the Old Eggemoggin

August 27, 2018 at 12:00 am

Hard to believe, but another New England summer is already winding down out at Star Island, unofficial capital of the Isles of Shoals. The end of my 10th season approaches without fanfare. Historic runs of mackerel and menhaden have lured the whales in close to shore and brought a welcomeRead More

A careening crisis narrowly averted

July 30, 2018 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. August: theRead More

Bring us a banana . . . it’s an emergency!

June 25, 2018 at 12:00 am

Islanders know better than most the importance of critical resources and services. The most critical of all on the islands is arguably clean water. What is worth mere pennies a gallon to most city dwellers accustomed to a seemingly endless flow out of household taps becomes a matter of inestimableRead More

‘Mushroom,’ and Prudie the peapod

May 21, 2018 at 12:00 am

May is prime construction season at Star Island as we work to catch up on years of deferred maintenance. Much of our material is loaded by hand, but for the bigger loads we use a truck-mounted boom lift. The temperature approached summertime readings early in the month as we dockedRead More

The obstacle of pride, and a season renewed

April 23, 2018 at 12:00 am

The way I remember it, I was sailing solo through Salem Bay in a dry nor’easter that was building as the day went on. I was on a nice reach heading for Marblehead Harbor in our old Hopestill, a classic wooden Hinckley Pilot sloop designed by Aage Nielsen. The wavesRead More

The unheralded northwesterly gale

March 19, 2018 at 12:00 am

Jack Farrell
A second major coastal storm in less than two months scoured the Isles of Shoals over an extended period on the second and third days of March.

‘Starkly, harshly, terrifyingly beautiful’

January 29, 2018 at 12:00 am

Returning home to a flash-frozen New England following a family Christmas in a much warmer place, I picked up a copy of “Whale Warriors” at the airport bookstore. No matter where you fall on the radical politics of the Sea Shepherd Society, this chronicle of a 2006 voyage to theRead More

As the season ends, memories proliferate

November 20, 2017 at 12:00 am

We hauled Star Island’s harbor launch for the season this November morning, in a gray mist. I’m always just a little anxious at haul-outs, especially when the season is late and the river is mostly deserted. It doesn’t help that the landing is called “Dead Duck” (the public landing rampRead More