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I had hoped that by now the COVID situation would have improved, but unfortunately, due to the second wave which has hit many countries, we are still in a difficult situation with many restrictions back in place. 

This Rotary year has been a year of cancelled plans and many of the visits I had hoped to make to a number of countries have not taken place.  The AGM, which was cancelled in Honolulu, was held in August as I intimated in my last report, using Zoom.  Although we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting one another in person, we did have members from about 20 countries from all parts of the World in attendance, which was certainly unusual and a bonus we would not normally have had.  All the business was conducted successfully, thanks to our Chief of Staff, Robin Sudlow, and the minutes of the meeting are available on the IYFR website.  The full AGM can be viewed on Dropbox, using this link

It was felt that Zoom should be made more use of in future, when the meeting returns to its normal format, to allow more members to participate, when they are unable to be present in person.

I had intimated in my last report that I had hoped to go to Ukraine in September to charter two new fleets.  That was not to be either and so, once again with the help of Zoom, we held our first virtual Charter.  This allowed two new fleets, the Kyivska Rus Ukrainian Fleet and the Black Sea Ukrainian Fleet to receive their official Charters.  While it is better to hold these events in person, at least Zoom enables IYFR to move forward and the fleet members still appeared to enjoy the occasion and have a good time.

We now have another new fleet, for which I think we will have to hold a virtual Charter, as their borders are closed to visitors and that is the Hawaii Fleet.  It is great to have a fleet back in that part of the World again and I am just sad that I am not permitted to go to Honolulu to charter them.

However, all is not a virtual world and we were delighted to be able to visit Taiwan in October to enjoy the Charter of the new Taiwan Voyager Fleet at a most enjoyable occasion, which is reported separately in this Rotafloat.  It was great to be at a live Charter again and everyone was so welcoming Ann and I had a truly memorable time.  I wish all the new fleets, however they are chartered, many years of fellowship and fun.

While we were in Taiwan, we took the opportunity to examine possibilities for the Post Convention Cruise in Taiwan in June next year and details will be available shortly.  Please keep the dates in your diary, the RI Convention is 12 – 16 June and the PCC is 17 – 20 June.  Hopefully the COVID situation will be greatly improved by then.

Zoom has certainly been very useful in recent months in allowing members to meet together to discuss issues, projects or just get together socially at all levels.  I have enjoyed meeting with the Philippine members on a monthly basis, the Italian Fleets met recently to discuss Plastic Free Waters and our own Fleet meets regularly for a social evening, which helps us keep together.  I know many of you meet in a similar way, which is great that we can hold together until the situation finally improves.  Our Australian friends organised some meetings on sailing topics, which were open to all and were very interesting and entertaining.  I hope that they will organise some more in 2021.

The Area 1 AGM in Slovenia, in October, was sadly cancelled due to the virus, as you will be aware and now the Area 3 AGM in New Zealand and the Area 2 AGM in Ecuador, both in March, look like going the same way.

If you have details of other events or stories of functions, please send them in for publication on this website by using the link.

Here’s hoping you all keep clear of the virus and are enjoy good times again soon.

I still hope to make some visits to meet you before June.

Robert Burns

International Commodore

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