Happy New Year 2021!
On Behalf of myself and the other Directors of the 1715 Fleet Society, I would like to wish everyone a Happy (and prosperous) New Year. It goes without saying that 2020 was an unprecedented year. The virus caught everyone by surprise, us included. What started out as a year with so much promise quickly withered into a year of waiting. Waiting to see what was going to happen with the virus. Waiting to see if it was going to go away. Waiting to see if we could possibly get a vaccine and when. Waiting to see when it would be safe to go out. Waiting for normalcy. Waiting.
2020 began as usual with the Fleet Society being represented at the 65th Annual FUN (Florida United Numismatist) Show in Orlando, Florida. 2020 was also the year that the Society planned to have its 3rd International Conference on the 1715 Fleet in Havana, Cuba. Following the FUN Show, Fleet Society Directors John de Bry, John Pullin and myself flew to Havana to meet our counterparts and make final preparations for the Conference. Finding everything in order, we returned to the U.S. confident that our efforts in planning this event would result in a memorable occasion. However, it was not to be. By March, the virus had swept across the world and days before our event was to take place the airlines discontinued flights to Cuba and the border was closed. Since then, we have been in contact with our colleagues in Havana who are still very interested in hosting the Conference and are still very enthusiastic about the idea. Just how and when is still to be determined. We have some new hurdles given that the current Administration has imposed new, more stringent rules on travel to Cuba. What changes that may be made by the new Administration are, as of this writing, yet to be determined.
Despite the bleakness of 2020 there were some bright spots. Our membership increased by 18 to 125. Plans are under consideration for a conference to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the loss of the Atocha in September, 2022. This conference, if it occurs, would be in Key West. Also, the Society will begin work on publishing our next book which would be due to be released in early, 2022. Also, I will be retiring from by day job (today is my last day) which will leave me more time to devote to the Society and this website.
So, all is not lost. The Society will move on to more projects. The Society will continue to expand and grow. Watch out for new features on the website and more interaction with our members.
Best regards and Happy New Year.
Ben Costello, Director