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I hope you are all keeping clear of the COVID-19 virus, which has turned everybody’s life upside down.  We definitely live in uncertain times.  In my last report I described how, at the end of 2019, my travels and meetings were disrupted by civil unrest in different countries.  Now, in 2020, everything is postponed or cancelled because of the pandemic of the COVID-19 virus which has swept the World.  Who could ever have forecast such a devastating situation, causing so many deaths and imposing so many restrictions all around the globe!  Like many countries, in the UK we are only allowed to leave our homes to go for essential shopping or medicines or to take exercise once a day.  At the time of writing, I should be in Taiwan, planning for events including a PCC in 2021.  I was also looking forward to the Charter of the first fleet in the Island and indeed in the Republic of China.  However, this is now postponed to a later date.  May should have seen us in Tokyo to charter a new fleet there, but sadly that has also been postponed. However, we still have these functions to look forward to in the future. 

Sadly, the RI Convention in Honolulu has also been cancelled and so, therefore, have all the corresponding IYFR functions.  I hope to arrange for a video meeting for the AGM at a later date, but I will say more on that once I have something more definite to report.

There are other charters and meetings coming up in the second half of the year and it remains to be seen how long it takes for the virus to clear before we will know when we can start to hold our functions again and return to some form of normality.

Just before the stranglehold of the virus descended on us, Area 2 were able to hold a very successful AGM in Colombia.  Unfortunately, Ann and I were unable to attend, as it coincided with Ann’s Mother’s 90th Birthday and there were many family members travelling to join us in the celebrations.  However, I was lucky enough to be able to speak to everyone at the AGM during their Business Meeting, through the use of Skype.  Judging by the pictures I have seen of the AGM, it was a most enjoyable few days!

On a sadder note, Ann and I were privileged to be present at a Memorial Meeting for PIC Ferit Biren in Istanbul in February and to take the condolences of the International Bridge to his Family and to express their feelings about a man who was very highly admired and respected.  While it was sad to say goodbye to Ferit, it was great to be able to look back on many aspects of his life and to recall the good times so many people enjoyed with him over the years.  After a most enjoyable meal at a Sporting Club on the Bosphorus, many members paid tribute to Ferit, relating their own fond memories of happy times spent with him.  He clearly was a very well-respected man, who had been a help and inspiration to many and so won their admiration.  Everyone then gathered on the shore of the club and his wife, Koray, cast a wreath on the waters.  While this was a sad occasion, it was also a celebration of a life shared and enjoyed by many.  He will be well remembered with great affection.

The forthcoming sailing season in Area 1 definitely has an uncertain time ahead and will have a very shaky start. Our own Clyde Fleet has had to cancel its programme for the foreseeable future.  Only time will tell how things will progress and I hope I will have much happier news to relate in my next report.  Especially in the light of these gloomy times can I please ask members in Areas 2 and 3, in the Southern Hemisphere, who have just experienced good weather and happy times, before the COVID-19 struck, to cheer us up by sending some happy IYFR stories and pictures to the Contact Editor link on this website?  Many thanks in advance.  Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with IYFR events through this ‘Rotafloat’web site

Here's hoping you all keep clear of the virus and go on to enjoy good times again soon.

Keep safe and I look forward to seeing many of you very soon.

Robert Burns

International Commodore

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