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.

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

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

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”

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