Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sail your way to a magical time on San Diego's jewel named Jada

The writer and photographer say "ship ahoy, mates" on a Jada lark. 

Many people dream of owning their own yacht.
Few accomplish that fantasy.
For Carole Noska the dream became a reality a few years ago when she and a couple partners purchased the classic yawl, Jada.
"She needed a lot of love but we saw the potential," says Noska. "Originally, we planned to renovate her and flip her."  But the sprightly sailor with a background in marketing and public relations changed her mind.
"Slowly, I came to realize we couldn't sell her.  We had to share her. She's just something special."
Share Jada is exactly what Noska does, through "Sail on Jada!" a promotion which offers the gorgeous 1938 boat for afternoons or evenings of gorgeous sailing complete with snacks, energetic commentary, and a lovely teak and oak interior up and down -- plus the
Jada's beautiful interior is vintage design, lovingly restored.
convenience of a bathroom should you need it. All this and smooth sailing -- she's built for comfort and glides easily through San Diego's waters.
For Noska, it's a labor of love.  After sinking a hefty six figures into the boat's loving renovation, she couldn't part with her. (It would cost more than $2 million to recreate the Jada from ground up today.)  So the former marketer and public relations specialist  decided to try to do what she deeply loves -- and maybe make a bit of a living.
"I won't be getting rich," she says, "but this is something that gives me great pleasure.  I love people and sharing this magnificent vessel.
Everything about Jada is ship shape!
During a decade at Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Noska honed her love of the ocean. She comes alive on the water.
 "I love it. The ocean centers me," she says, offering a tray of tasty appetizers to a dozen relaxed tourists. "It would be a shame to not have people enjoy Jada along with me."
Jada, a 65 foot Phillip Rhodes yawl, attracts waves and cheers and applause as she sails out of San Diego Bay under the guidance of capable captain and historian David Berg. With her vintage classic look and sleek transit of the seas, Jada is the stuff of postcards.
Part of the pleasure of Jada is the ambiance and good will aboard.
"She takes people back in time," says Noska. "We provide an afternoon that harkens to another time.  It's romantic, adventurous and people come back again and again."
We spent a recent delightful afternoon on Jada, enjoying the commentary provided by Noska's longtime friend and collaborator who also captains the boat.  "He knows the city and the ocean like nobody's business."
Indeed.  We learned about the Coronado Bridge and the habits of seals, architecture and sailing history, ethnic composition and when to spot whales, all offerred with intelligence and humor. Noska knows and loves San Diego and the ocean, too, and offers a pleasant complement to her collaborator.
As the boat sails smoothly around San Diego, Noska visits with the passengers, giving her own  casual and insightful commentary.  Her presence is a delight -- she's part social director, part caterer, part tour guide.  These talents provide a relaxing backdrop for a three or four-hour sail, as guests mingle, relax on comfy cushions and let the wind spark the imagination.
 Carole Noska plays tour guide photographer, first mate and caterer.
Noska provides hors d'oeuvres, including cheeses, crackers, fruit and hummus, along with wine and beer, soft drinks, iced tea, juices, bottled water and more.
Guests may bring picnics or special treats if they like, but goodies are included in the price, which varies depending on the outing. Noska stresses that she is not cultivating a "party-hearty" crowd; rather, she is courting civilized, interested sailing buffs and tourists looking for a fun, educational and refreshingly different option on the water.
Towards the end of the sail, Noska displays her theatrical bent, bringing out a box of nautical hats including captains caps and piratical head gear.  Passing her hats around the crowd, like a roving minstrel, she encouraged us to indulge our fantasies about life on the water. Everyone took a hat and soon the boat sported a surplus of captains, pirates and first mates!
Noska's grace, hospitality and memory (she knows everyone's name within the first 20 minutes on board) endear her to the clientele. She cultivates a faithful group of regulars and locals.  We met
Argh! Cookie and Keller play pirate.
several, including a married couple and two girlfriends, on our afternoon outing. Ages ranged from teens to seniors.
"It has to be the most relaxing time we could spend on the water," said Cassie, who came on board Jada with her friend, Linda, for the fourth or fifth time.
Jada has been used for birthday and anniversary parties, family reunions, team building meetings, casual working lunches, reward and incentive programs, whale watching and several memorable weddings. Jada has also hosted memorials and burials at sea, with families bringing their loved ones' ashes for a final communion with the sea the departed held dear.
Like its owner, Jada is versatile -- name your event and Noska can creatively arrange it.  She is available for private and corporate charters and has a regular weekend schedule for tourists and short-notice bookings.
An afternoon sail on vintage Jada is a fine way to spend San Diego time.
Call 619 572-3443 or go to
Noska is open to ideas and suggestions and will do her utmost to create your special afternoon or evening.
So for a part of a day, at least, you'll have the feeling that you're on your own private yacht.
Minus the payments, stress and responsibility of ownership.
We'll be back for another sail.

COMING UP: An energetic 92-year old lady is inspiring women one-third her age, dancing her way toward 100 -- with grace, spirit, humor and fitness.  Former
Amazing grace:  Betty Lowe was a successful singer
with the big bands years ago.  Today, at nearly 93, she
attributes her fitness and energy to Jazzercise -- and more! 
girl singer Betty Lowe, is still going strong.  Find out more about her and how the internationally known Jazzercise program has become a habit she can't and won't break. Coming next Wednesday.
And in future weeks, take a look at Montana
wildflowers, a bang-up Big Sky Fourth of July, San Diego's gliding port, the upcoming season at San Diego Repertory Theater and much more. As summer continues, we'll head north to Alaska, give advice on traveling with pets and offer tips on making the most of your precious time touring Europe.
All on our Wednesday and Saturday posts at:

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