Following a Father’s Lobstering Legacy6/14/19
There was a permanent shadow trailing Tom Farrell on the docks where his lobster boat was harbored, nestled alongside the Southern New Jersey coast. Behind him was a young boy, yearning to follow in his father’s footsteps and anxious to master the passion of the man he admired most.
“If he backed up, he would probably step on me,” reminisced the now grown son John Farrell who today carries the spirit of his father – and the lessons he taught him – each time he takes to the helm of his own lobster boat. The wisdom has also served as a guiding force from the mound to management during his lifelong career in Major League Baseball (MLB).
Parallels in Preparation
John’s love of the water developed around the time he was in fourth grade; aligning with the same timeframe his father finally allowed him to lend a supportive hand in the family’s commercial lobster business. His first experience was stringing and badging claws but most of the knowledge gleaned came from watching his father – both on and off-season.
“Building traps is a time consuming task and that’s how my father spent the winter, preparing for the upcoming season,” John said.
There’s a noticeable parallel in the preparation that blends together John’s two seemingly different worlds.
“Whether its commercial fishing or baseball, in any occupation with a seasonal component, you may not get rewarded monetarily in the offseason but you’re putting into place what it takes to succeed in the upcoming season,” noted John. “That idea is where the work ethic was installed – you put the work in now to reap the rewards later.”
From the Mound to Management
This principle laid the groundwork for John’s MLB career which spanned the roles of pitcher, coach, manager and most recently director of player development for the Cincinnati Reds. He considers himself extremely fortunate for the opportunity to pursue two lifelong passions without the need to compromise one for the other.
“Fortunately, I could throw a baseball and went that route in life, but the vision of getting back to the water was always in the back of my mind. There were a lot of quiet moments spent thinking this through. My current role with the Cincinnati Reds allows for a balance and the combination of baseball and lobster fishing.”
An Investment a Lifetime in the Making
John spends as much time on the water as he can these days, averaging at least 15 times a month.
His 46' Mussel Ridge, aptly named Seaweed after his father’s nickname on the docks, is powered by a Volvo Penta D13. Significant research and deliberation went into the propulsion package decision.
“With an investment of this size, it’s not something you want to wing. When it came down to selecting a motor, a comparison was done between Volvo Penta and all of its competitors by creating a matrix. I knew the horsepower range, weight and size and what I wanted to achieve,” said John. “What jumped off the page to me was torque because torque turns into fuel efficiency and power. Volvo Penta was hands down the choice.”
The stringent selection criteria and careful process paid off with John noting he could not be more pleased with the efficiency and the way the boat runs with the Volvo Penta engine.
“It’s surprising that a 46-foot boat can cruise at 17-18 knots, burning 20 gallons an hour. The overall efficiency is extremely impressive.”
He also mentioned the quietness of the engine which is particularly important during his favorite time on the water – sunrise. “There’s a general calming and peacefulness to being on the water at that time. I really relish in those moments.”
From sunrise to sunset, Volvo Penta is propelling John’s lifelong ambition of following in his father’s footsteps as a commercial lobsterman. “Being on the water brings me back to my childhood,” he said.
We’re honored to be right there with you, John.