Sharing things we enjoy greatly increases the pleasure we get from them. Sailing is no exception. Imagine then how much pleasure Rotarians with an interest in boating get from sailing together under the Rotary flag. More than 2,600 Rotarians around the world can testify to that through their membership of the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians (IYFR).Rotarians have come together to form 88 fleets in 21 countries in all parts of the world, including North and South America, Australia, Asia and many parts of Europe. We currently have 13 fleets in GB & I, some comprising largely sailing yachts, some motor yachts and some a mixture.
Sailing waters range from the Clyde and the Solent to the Fens and the Thames, offering a wide variety of boating. We are currently looking to form new fleets in new areas, including one of narrowboats on the canals.
As the name 'Fellowship' implies, wherever a fleet sails, great fun is experienced by all. A variety of events are enjoyed, including cruises, races and fun activities on the water. Although we concentrate mostly on fellowship, there is also a service element in a number of fleets. The Sussex Fleet organises a short day sail for disabled children as part of ‘Kids Out' each year, while others take a different tack to get those less fortunate than ourselves on the water. The fleets are all autonomous within IYFR, as Rotary clubs are in RI, and there are no restrictions on events and no attendance rules. It is just relaxed and enjoyable.
The fleets in GB & I are looked after by a GB & I Bridge, headed by the GB & I Commodore, currently Annette Lewis, a member of the Fenland and Suffolk fleets, and also a member of the Rotary Club of Bedford De Parys.
There are also two non-sailing fellowship weekends in March and November, held in different venues around the UK, recently, Jersey, the Broads and the Lake District. These are fun social weekends, where members from the different fleets, around GB & I, meet up to share experiences and stories. They usually include some form of trip on the water and are extremely popular and well supported.
Owning a boat is not a requirement to join IYFR, just a love of the water. It provides an opportunity to visit Rotarians in many parts of the World and sail on their boats. How would you like to sail in Hawaii or New Zealand?
Each RI Convention is always followed by a three day post Convention cruise, which in recent years has taken place in Sweden, the San Juan Islands and Long Beach, California, providing greatly contrasting sailing. In 2009 it was in the West of Scotland.
This is true Rotary fellowship in the true spirit of Rotary.