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.

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.

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

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

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

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

The Hurricane, and what’s in a name

March 18, 2019 at 12:00 am

Interior work on the old Hurricane is moving well in spite of lingering cold, snow and high winds along our coast. While fresh beaded plywood panels were being installed to dress up the bulkheads and interior cabin sides last week, the 60-plus-mph blow along the Piscataqua River rivaled records forRead More

A happy little ship, and staying busy

January 28, 2019 at 12:00 am

As I write this dispatch we are in the deep dark weeks of full winter. The days have just now begun to lengthen, although so far it’s pretty hard to tell. The record early cold and snows of November were happily followed by seasonable temperatures, and just a flurry nowRead More

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