JADA (sail boat)

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JADA is a sailing yacht that was originally commissioned by Delbert Axelson of Axelson Manufacturing. Axelson had the yacht built for his son, Jack Axelson, as a college graduation present. JADA is less a name and more of an acronym, being the first letters of the names Jack, Alta (Jack's mother), and Delbert Axelson. Delbert, a member of Newport Harbor Yacht Club had JADA built at Stephens Brothers Boat Yard in Stockton, CA in 1938. JADA was launched on June 5 of that year. Before becoming and currently serving as a charter boat, JADA was actively raced and sailed up and down the west coast from Santa Barbara to Ensenada, Mexico, and to Hawaii and back.

During the famous 1939 hurricane that caused so much damage at Newport Harbor, JADA suffered minor damage.

JADA was sold in 1950 to Mrs. Isabelle Belyea. Her daughter’s boyfriend raced it in the 1951 TransPac race from California to Hawaii and placed 10th in class B and 18th in the overall fleet. From a schooner configuration, JADA was re-rigged into a yawl to be more competitive in ocean racing in 1955 under the ownership of George R. Sturgis. Under George, JADA twice placed 2nd overall in 5 TransPacs. JADA took 1st overall in the Tahiti Race in 1969. JADA went through several owners in the '60s and '70s, and was rumored to have been purchased and enjoyed by actor, Marlon Brando, for many years in French Polynesia. JADA began her commercial career serving as a charter boat in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1992. She was relocated to San Diego in 1996 and currently resides at the Sheraton Harbor Island Marina.

Frequent celebrity visitors on JADA were Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Errol Flynn, John Wayne and Broadway star John Raitt (father of singer Bonnie Raitt). More recently in San Diego, guests include Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Louis CK.


Vessel Service: Passenger (INSPECTED)
Trade Indicator: Coastwise Unrestricted
Hull Material: Wood: Yellow Cedar planks over Live Oak frames
Year Built: 1938
Ship Builder: Stephens Brothers Boat Yacht
Hailing Port: San Diego, CA
Call Sign: WDE7518
Class and Type: Wooden Yawl
Net Tonage: 19
Gross Tonnage: 21
Length (ft): 47.2 waterline 65 on deck
Hull Depth/Draft (ft): 8.2
Beam (ft): 11.1
Propulsion: Sail

I. Judson Kelly designed JADA. The JADA was commissioned by Delbert Axelson of Axelson Manufacturing. The Stephens Brothers built the JADA in 1938.[1] Her length overall was 56 feet, with a draft of 8 feet. Initially a staysail schooner, JADA was later re-rigged as a yawl.

JADA was built concurrently with the Odyssey, a sister boat with an almost identical hull, by the Stephens Brothers Shipyard of Stockton. Their cast iron keels were both poured and machined by the Axelson Manufacturing Co. of Huntington Park. Both were owned by a Huntington Park industrialist.[2]


George Sturgis “Bill was comfortable captaining both sail and powerboats. He won the Los Angeles to Tahiti race in 1956 on his sailboat, Jada, and proceeded to spend six months diving and filming the remote islands in the South Pacific.” – BILL STURGIS COURIER CITE[3]

Residing in San Diego, JADA can be seen at the annual Festival of Sail and Tall Ship Festival.[4][5][6][7]


  1. ^ Museum, The Haggin. "Stephens Bros at The Haggin Museum in Stockton". hagginmuseum.org. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  2. ^ "The Sail JADA History | Sail JADA Classic Yachts". sailjada.com. Retrieved 2018-04-16.
  3. ^ "Remembering rancher Bill Sturgis". Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. ^ "Port of San Diego Festival of Sail - Maritime Museum of San Diego". Maritime Museum of San Diego. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  5. ^ "Where to Get Best Views of Tall Ship Parade on San Diego Bay - Times of San Diego". Times of San Diego. 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  6. ^ "Here's the ships you'll see at San Pedro's Tall Ships Festival". Daily Breeze. 2014-08-17. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  7. ^ "Tall Order: 1542 Returns Via Replica Cabrillo Ship - Times of San Diego". Times of San Diego. 2015-09-04. Retrieved 2018-04-03.

JADA - sailing vessel[edit]