Pretty cool – US Sailing named me their April 2014 Hobie Polorized Sailor of the Month.  Here’s what they had to say:

The influence of social media as a common mainstream promotional tool for sports is at an all-time high. Sailors around the world are using social media to capture special moments on the water, from stunning visuals to regatta results. Perhaps, nobody knows the power of social media in the sport of sailing like Jon Deutsch (Richmond, Va.). Jon received the One-Design Award for Leadership at the Sailing Leadership Forum Awards Dinner, sponsored by Old Pulteney and hosted by the San Diego Sports Hall of Fame in February.

For the past nine years, Deutsch has been the mastermind of the widely popular Chesapeake Bay Laser Masters Championship. Deutsch is known for his spectacular photography, energetic regatta reports and phenomenal website. He frequently provides on-water updates via Twitter while racing.

Deutsch SOTM profileDeutsch documents events with his omni-present GoPro and other cameras, and promotes through social media channels and the club site. Competing sailors arrive home after the event to find a “Thanks for Coming” email from Jon with the results and photos attached.

As with everything he approaches, Deutsch made himself into an expert, both on and off the water. His knowledge and service is in demand all over the Bay. He has served as the Laser District Secretary for the past seven years.

Jon has social media covered, from blogs to video and everything in between. “I stick to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram,” explained Jon. “I use them each a little differently to share the best kind of content for each service and the different audiences.”

Jon had some helpful advice for those who are starting to use social media to promote their sailing events and activities. “Pick one or two social media outlets and do them really well,” stated Jon. “Starting out trying to update too many, ends up being a waste. See what service your audience is using, connect with them and build before expanding elsewhere. The goal is to connect with your audience.”

Social media has been personally beneficial to Jon in his own sailing. “By sharing what I’m doing on social media, I’ve been able to meet up with friends, find carpooling opportunities, jump on last minute crew openings and learn about the events and sailing that my friends are doing. The best way we have to grow our sport is for all of us to share what we do.”

Jon has always been an avid sailor. He began his junior sailing career at Chautauqua Lake Yacht Club in Lakewood, NY. Jon is a now a self-described “weekend warrior,” competitively racing and tweeting from his Laser, usually in the Mid-Atlantic area. When not racing his Laser you can find Jon crewing on everything from PHRF boats, to J109s, J70s, and Flying Scots.

View Jon’s websites:

The final day of the US Sailing Leadership Forum started out with James Clark (founder of Silicon Graphics, Netscape) telling us about his j-boat programs and the new 100′ grand prix boat that will be launched later this year.

2/8 Jon with Silicon Graphics/Netscape Founder James Clark

Later in the day I attended sessions on Adult Lear To Sail Programs, Growing Membership and Increasing Participation, and regatta websites.  That was followed by a farewell party by the pool.

2/8 post-forum party

I came to this forum having previously only met 3 or 4 people in person out of the more than 600 attendees.  It was great to finally meet so many of the people I’ve emailed, conference called or worked with in some way over the years.  I’m also incredibly appreciative of all of the prominent sailors and leaders in our sport who I got to speak with for a couple minutes and thankful they attended to provide their insight and guidance.

I have to commend US Sailing on doing such a great job to bring so many people together.  It was informative in all the right ways and I got more out of it than I ever expected I would.

And finally – on the ride back into Richmond we came in directly over the city.  Thanks Delta for allowing us to use electronic devices during all stages of flight!

2/9 flying into Richmond directly over the city.

This was the 2nd day at the US Sailing Leadership Forum with 1 more day left.  It was  really a great day of learning and connecting with people and meeting people in the sport I’ve never been able to meet in person.  I’d name some highlights, but I can’t name a highlight when just about everything from today was a highlight.

2/7 demo sailing

So what did I do today?

  • Listened to the state of the union on big boat racing.  Learned about the rating rules as well as their strengths and weaknesses; the universal measurement rule; keel failures; and the diversity of events.
  • Went to a seminar on creating sailing opportunities: Diversifying through outreach.  Learned about various demographics and opportunities to introduce new demographics to sailing and how to do it.
  • Learned about building and motivating an organization.  This was incredibly relevant for both sailing and my work.  Learned about having clarity, empowerment, excitement, respect and ownership; how to be a good leader as well as a good follower.
  • Found out how the rules apply to the electronic age including how some of the technology used at the America’s Cup for enforcing the rules worked and when it might or might not trickle down to other forms of sailing.
  • Got to see a variety of new boats up close and on the water and how they may fit as tools to bring new sailors to the sport
  • Saw Chris Love’s GoPro equipped quad copter and some pretty awesome shots of the beach front activity.

And to top it all off – there was a pretty kick ass party.

2/7 regatta party

The first full day of the US Sailing Leadership Forum was started early by west coast standards.  I ran the 1.5mi from my hotel to the beach in front of the event hotel and  we got to do a Stand Up Paddle Board fitness class.

2/6 early morning stand up paddle board fitness class

After running home and cleaning up we started the forum with presentations by Gary Jobson and Ken Read.  It was great hearing their views on sailing as well as it’s challenges and opportunities.  I attended sessions on:

  • Sailing Industry
  • How to Unleash the Power of Social Media
  • Lowering the Average age of Your Sailors
  • Fleet and Club Owned Boat selection

2/6 opening keynote with Gary Jobson on stage

Between the sessions and getting to talk to so many sailors from such a wide background was really a great experience and great way to share ideas and learn from others.  I took about 2 pages of notes from each session and after I get home I distill those down and share some of the biggest things I learned this week.

In the evening was the US Sailing Community and One Design Awards Ceremony held at the San Diego Hall of Champions.  I got to sit next to the President of US Sailing, Tom Hubbell, on the bus there and talked to him about being/having been sailors on Chautauqua Lake among other things. The Hall of Champions is a great sport museum and as a sailor I loved the full-sized Star boat on display as well as all of the sailing history and America’s Cup history in the rooms of sailing exhibits. I also got to visit with my sister and meet her boyfriend who came down from L.A. for the dinner.

2/6 Jon, my sister Cheryl and Dean at the US Sailing Leadership Awards Ceremony

The awards ceremony itself was neat to see and hear about all of the amazing and wonderful things that so many others were doing for the sport of sailing.  It was an honor to be among them and it was an even greater honor to receive the 2013 US Sailing One Design Leadership Award presented by my friend Margaret Podlich.

2/6 Jon with US Sailing Executive Director Jack Gierhart and Gary Jobson

2/6 2013 US Sailing One Design Leadership Award

I traveled to San Diego California today to attend the US Sailing Leadership Forum.   Getting up at 4am to make my flight made for a long day.  Once in San Diego I met a friend, Karen, for lunch and we toured the USS Midway air craft carrier.

2/5 USS Midway - Karen & Jon

2/5 USS Midway - Jon

In the evening I attended the welcome reception and got to meet a lot of people whom I had heard about or even emailed with, but never met in person.

2/5 US Sailing Leadership Forum Welcome Reception - Jon

Tomorrow starts the 3-day conference.

Fishing Bay Yacht Club won US Sailing’s Regatta of the Year award for hosting the 2010 USODA Layline Nationals.  A big part of what set us over the top was our online media and promotion of the event.  It was a fun event this summer and I’m glad to have played a part in it.  Kudos to the rest of the team that made it happen.

From US Sailing’s Press Release:

The Fishing Bay Yacht Club (FBYC) of Deltaville, Va. won the 2010 Regatta Award for the excellence in development, promotion, and management performed by organizers and sponsors of the 2010 USODA (United States Optimist Dinghy Association) Layline Nationals on July 17-25, 2010.

Co-chairs Noel Clinard and Jay Buhl, along with webmaster Jon Deutsch were recognized for demonstrating extraordinary individual creativity and contribution to the year’s most innovative one-design event of national significance. The regatta attracted broad national and international participation of 317 boats through persistent marketing and communication efforts. The small club located in a village maximized their resources through their entrepreneurial promotions, sponsorship development, community involvement, shore activities and creative dissemination of housing, tourism, historical and racing information.

The regatta site conjoined four nearby properties, including the Deltaville Dockyard, Jackson Creek Condominiums, Deltaville Maritime Museum, and Harbor House Community. The regatta consisted of three events: team racing, girls fleet racing, open fleet racing, plus a green fleet for novices. Despite its small size of about 330 family members, FBYC turned out different race committees for these events with over 50 volunteers.

The backbone for marketing the regatta was an effective, user friendly web site at The web site was enabled to provide social networking through Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. A detailed media plan included the engagement of two separate video services, and Sailgroove, who provided ample coverage. FBYC facilitated the recruitment of Layline, a marine supplier, as the first ever Platinum level partner for USODA.

Also, 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist and US SAILING Team AlphaGraphics member Anna Tunnicliffe was in attendance and gave the keynote address for the opening ceremony.