​Increase in demand for on the water activities

24 September 2020

2020 has been a year that no-one expected. With the global spread of Covid-19 restricting all regular activities and people being encouraged to stay home, or close to home, daily exercise has been a much needed relief from the pressures of living through a global pandemic.

With people looking for ways to improve their mental health in the great outdoors, walking, running and cycling have been the most popular outdoor activity, however in the UK, watersports, such as stand up paddleboarding, kayaking, open water swimming and recreational sailing, have also seen a sharp increase in take up since restrictions were lifted. Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) for example has been dubbed the sport of 2020 due to its increase in popularity on the UK’s lakes, waterways and beaches.

Steph Stewart brought a paddle after the sailing season was restricted

A Sport England survey, commissioned to track the public’s activity levels and attitudes towards exercise during the initial six weeks of lockdown, found that 63% of people across the first six weeks of lockdown said exercise is important for their mental health.

Whilst the Clipper Race crew await the resumption of the 2019-20 edition they are an example of this, as they have been getting out on the water in different ways. Not only keeping their sailing skills up to date and enjoying recreational sailing but also kayaking, canoeing, rowing and open water swimming to name but a few.

Seattle crew member, Sophie Quintin, said: “I started open water swimming, two to three times a week from the moment the lockdown was eased, to keep me fit but also mentally healthy. I was so excited by my early morning swims because throughout lockdown I had longed for sailing and the physical challenge of the sea.”

Sophie enjoying swimming in Hampshire

In some markets the demand for boats has seen a marked increase with people looking for socially distanced, family and friend suitable holidays, and group activities. Joe Govier, Unicef crew member, is one of those who has purchased his own boat in 2020 jokingly saying ‘deep clean is a little easier’ then compared to a Clipper 70.

Joe bought a boat!

Garmin, which equips the fleet with the leading GPS navigation, radar, communication and wind data technology, has reported that whilst with the heavy travel restrictions, it has seen an increased demand for equipment for boats and on water activities in many markets but it has remained tough. Mattias Daldbord, Garmin EMEA Marketing and Communications Manager Marine said: “We have seen many new boat owners, that have purchased their first boat or have upgraded, in need of the technology we provide to enjoy and stay safe on the water. We had a growth of 4% in sales for our marine segment in Q2 which reflects the extremely challenging time most businesses have experienced this year”.

Outside of the marine sector Matthias noted that Garmin has seen an increase in fitness sales and a strong demand for our indoor trainers for cycling.

On the water activities, as with any sport, do come with some level of risk therefore safety is always of the utmost importance; from checking local guidance, weather and tides, if needed, to undertaking appropriate safety measures, are all precautions that should be taken. The increase in popularity of watersports has also been reflected in an increase in demand for safety products and floatation devices. James Hall, Spinlock Sales and Marketing Manager reported: “Spinlock is certainly seeing a massive uptake in interest and sales of our flotation products.”

Spinlock is a global leader in the design and manufacture of control products, innovative lifejackets, PFDs and accompanying equipment. As the Official Lifejacket Supplier to the Clipper Race, the Deckvest VITO from Spinlocks Protect range is worn by every crew member throughout the circumnavigation. The range also includes a number of lifejackets and personal floatation devices to make sure users are always adventure proof when on the water.

James went on to say: “We have had a sales spike in our Alto Waist Worn 50N Flotation, used for SUP, both in the UK and European markets. Our Deckvest LITE Lifejacket, a great lightweight lifejacket for days on the water, are being purchased in increased volumes by users who are new to boating, both power and sail, and have a keener interest in personal safety than established owners. And fishing is also seeing a surge in interest in 2020 and as such we have seen increased sales to fishermen who are taking more of an interest in personal safety.”

With Public Health England and Government advice all over the world emphasising the importance of safe daily exercise to help with both physical and mental health whichever activity you choose, follow the local government guidelines and enjoy safely.

The Clipper 2019-20 Race is set to resume in February 2021 where the international crew will be back on the water to complete the final three stages for the circumnavigation including stopovers in Sanya, Zhuhai, Qingdao, China; Seattle, USA; Bermuda; Derry-Londonderry and London, UK.

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