SpinSheet November 2014

Page 76

Chesapeake Racer Profile

Jon Deutsch H

by Lin McCarthy

ow does someone from a powerboat family in Chautauqua, NY, get to Deltaville, VA, become a racing sailor, and end up organizing and running the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championships Regatta . . . for which he is not even eligible? Ask Jon Deutsch. The affable 30-something year old will tell you of a serendipity trail that led to Laser sailing and Fishing Bay YC (FBYC). Jon grew up in Chautauqua, but his family moved to Virginia in 1995, when his father took a job in Richmond. “My parents had a power boat in New York and joined Chautauqua Lake YC (CLYC), mainly for the social activities,” Jon says. But, that is where Jon discovered sailing. CLYC had a junior program that worked for Jon and introduced him to the sport. When the family moved to Virginia, they settled in Richmond and began to look for a yacht club. Jon remembers that his folks called FBYC and shortly thereafter made the trip down to see the club. As luck would have it, the visit was on an Opening Day early in April. The family was sold, and thus began Jon’s membership in FBYC. Early on, while he was attending Tucker High School in Richmond and then East Carolina University in Greenville, Jon did most of his sailing in the offshore fleet, crewing on Rob Whittet’s “big” boat, Wavelength, a C&C 37. His favorite sport during high school was soccer, but sailing on a large keelboat kept him sailing and learning. He remembers coming to the club to participate in a few regattas, but he was not fully involved in the junior program as most member youngsters are today. Jon’s relationship with FBYC has evolved, and he is currently very involved in various aspects of the club including helping with the Young Adult Program, the club electronic media products, and the Crew Training Pro76 November 2014 SpinSheet

gram, which runs evening classroom sessions in Richmond and culminates in two on-the-water sessions in early spring each year. Jon is the current chairman of the Crew Training effort and helps organize social gatherings of the Young Adults, or “Yammies” as they are affectionately called. One of the major events that FBYC hosts each year has become, in essence, Jon Deutsch’s regatta. This year was the 10th year that Jon has chaired the Laser Masters Atlantic Coast Championship Regatta. He followed in the foot steps of David Hazelhurst and Brad Squires and, as he puts it, “added to their playbook.” Jon cannot himself sail in this regatta, because he will not be old enough until 2017. Competitors must be at least 35 to participate. He joked that he is pretty sure he “was put in charge ‘cause I was not old enough to sail.” Jon has done a lot of Laser sailing, most often out of his home area. He said that as much as 50 percent of his sailing weekends are out-of-town. He sailed in the North Americans in 2009 and found the pre-Olympic competition against the USA team and the Canada team to be a worthwhile experience. “I even won [by a significant distance] one of the 10 races,” he said. He mentioned the Atlantic Coast Championships in Annapolis with 100 boats on the line and the North Americans at the Buffalo Canoe Club on Lake Erie (Ontario) when he talked about memorable experiences. And, last year he placed third in the District 11 Championships. But, he also enjoys the smaller Laser regattas, too. At the 20-40 boats events, “The competitors are more approachable, more fun to be around,” he says. The most recent venture away from

home took him to the 2014 New Jersey District Championships, where he dropped his Laser while unloading it at the site. So, no racing that time, but he did buy a new Laser on the spot. Jon also likes to test his distance sailing skills. He has taken his Laser on a 26-mile jaunt from Fishing Bay around Wolf Trap Lighthouse and back. He and friend Laser sailor Len Guenther often talk of sailing from Ware River in Gloucester into the Bay and around to Fishing Bay. Jon has served as tactician on a lot of “big” boats, too, and credits his abilities to his experience on Lasers. “The Laser is great for honing skill,” he says, but emphasizes he likes taking those skills to other boats. He also has done some distance racing on the Chesapeake Bay, including two Down the Bay Races. And, Jon has bluewater aspirations. So, even though keelboat racing is definitely on his plate, Jon will be at the 2015 Laser Nationals at Brant Beach (Long Beach, NJ). And, he will be event chairman of the 2015 Laser Atlantic Coast Championship Regatta in May at Fishing Bay YC, Deltaville, VA. And, lest anyone think the quiet young man’s accomplishments could go unnoticed, Jon won the U.S. Sailing 2013 One-Design Leadership Award, given “In recognition of individual initative, enthusiasm, organizing ability, and leadership in creating a one-design fleet building program.” A well deserved kudo. spinsheet.com