In my last Commodore’s Welcome I said that I intended enjoying myself during my term as International Commodore, and that is what I have certainly been doing. I have spent the last few months meeting wonderful people, visiting new places and having a fantastic time.
As there are already a number of established regattas held each year for members to attend, I have been encouraging the idea of cruising in company for members who do not like racing. With this in mind in September Marko Murn invited Ann and me to join his Slovenian crew in the Serbian Rotary cruise. This was to raise money to provide scholarships for talented Serbian students. The event was held in the Ionian Sea, sailing from Lefkas along with the Serbian Fleet and some members from my own Clyde Fleet. I felt it gave a great start to the idea, proving to be a most enjoyable few days. Marko has another idea for next year, and when it develops we will advertise it widely and encourage members to participate.
Staying in Greece, but switching to the Aegean Sea, we had the Area 1 Annual Meeting in Athens, as organized by Lila Kyriakopoulou-Schliebener, the Hellenic Aegean Fleet Commodore and her team. The main purpose of these Area Meetings is to allow members from all around the world to come together, get to know one another, and so have fun and work together as a group. They provide a venue for updating information, discussing important topics, agreeing actions, and introducing new members to new areas, especially learning about the history and culture of the host area. In Athens there were about 90 IYFR members present from 17 different countries. Visits included the Parthenon and a ferry trip to Aegina, a neighbouring island, all of which were a great success, achieving all the meeting’s aims. The next Area 1 Meeting will be in Portoroz, Slovenia (see the events page).
Ann and I then flew to the other side of the World to charter three new fleets in South America. First stop was Pelotas in Brazil, to charter the Brazil South Fleet, before moving on the next day to Punta del Este in Uruguay to charter the Montevideo Fleet. There was then enough time to go on to Tigre in Argentina to meet with the Argentinian Fleets, with a plan to go on to Chile to charter the Lquique Fleet. Unfortunately civil unrest broke out in Chile and the charter event had to be cancelled, whereupon we returned home directly from Argentina. The hospitality we experienced throughout was exceptional and made the visit to South America truly memorable and a huge pleasure.
However, we were not home long before we were off again to Macau for the Area 3 AGM. This was another first for us and again proved to be most enjoyable. Unfortunately, because the original meeting in Hong Kong had to be postponed due to civil unrest there, the attendance was down on the usual numbers. The next Area 3 AGM will be held in Auckland, New Zealand in March 2021, so as to coincide with the America’s Cup, and therefore should be something very special.
Finally, at the end of November, it was nearer home to the charter of a new squadron in Slovenia, the Slovenian Coast Squadron. Another successful and most enjoyable event.
With the charters in 2019 and more already scheduled for 2020, in Taiwan, Tokyo and Ukraine, it is clear that IYFR is still in a healthy and moving forward.
So far I have thoroughly enjoyed my term as International Commodore, and I have plenty to look forward to in the coming year. I trust you are all looking forward to a good year ahead too, and so I wish you all fair winds and happy sailing in 2020.