|History of The
International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians
The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians, formed in 1947 in Great Britain, is recognized as the oldest of the Rotary Fellowships. It was to become the first of many recreational fellowships formed with the World Fellowship Activities of Rotary International.In 1947, Rotarian John G. Barrett of the Brixton Rotary Club of London, England, conceived the idea of flying a burgee bearing the Rotary emblem on the masthead of his vessel. He enlisted the help of fellow Rotarians from his own and neighboring clubs and proposed a new yachting association of Rotarians. Rotary International approved this new Rotary recreational fellowship under the name “The Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians.”This fellowship quickly spread all over Great Britain and then throughout the world.
In 1956 at the Rotary International Convention, the first International Commodore from outside Great Britain was elected. Bob Stuart of Chicago, Illinois, USA, took over the helm. It was also about this time that the fellowship name was changed to “The International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians.
The first international rendezvous of IYFR was held in 1964 in conjunction with the Rotary International Convention of Toronto, Canada. Since that time, the fellowship has expanded greatly with new fleets being added under the enthusiastic leadership of the many Past International Commodores who have been elected from a diversity of countries within the world of Rotary.
The Golden Anniversary of lYFR was celebrated in 1997 at the RI Convention in Glasgow, Scotland. Past International Commodore Andrew Mitchell authored, produced and distributed copies of the ‘Golden Jubilee 1947-1997’, a book commemorating the fifty years of IYFR history.
An IYFR trophy which is presented to each incoming International Commodore, “The John Barrett Bell” was made by one of the founding fellowship members, Denis Dalby, and presented to the fellowship in honor of our Founder, Commodore John G. Barrett.
Today, we are not only the oldest but probably the largest of the Rotary fellowships, according to Rotary International. Over time, we have lost some of our earlier established local Rotary yachting fleets, however we constantly continue to charter new ones.
There are about 100 active Rotary yachting fleets in 19 countries throughout the world: Australia, Belgium, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the USA.
We have a world wide membership of nearly 3000 members. Although this includes about 250 ‘members at large’ who are not affiliated with any of the fleets we encourage members to join through the closest available fleet.
Yachting is a fun activity that is done only by a few. The biggest reason for many not yachting is the expense involved. Though one may love to go on a yacht regularly, it is not very affordable. This fellowship brings together those who love to go yachting and also own one.
When you are out on the sea, in your yacht, sipping on your drink, you are so relaxed, you tend to forget the various issues you face on a day to day life. Be it a good weather or a bad weather, one who loves the sea will enjoy going on a yacht, no matter what.
This fellowship gives all the yacht lovers a chance to meet each other and mingle. They get to talk about that one thing that has brought them together in the first place – Yachts and boats. This kind of a fellowship gives the much needed chance to meet up and talk about a number of things.
Being a Rotary fellowship, the focus is all on the current or future projects one can handle or plans to handle to make them world a better place to live in. When you are relaxed and are doing something you love, your brain is relaxed a as a result grasps more and understands more. One can sit and discus about Krasota Zdrave, when they are enjoying a day out at sea. Another alternate is to get to know each other well, and form relationships that can last.