Return to Asheville–Part One

Resolving a Contradiction

Many of the problems I have faced in life are attributable to some contradiction.  Resolving the problem involves

a) recognizing the contradiction;

b) applying one’s mind to determine the contradiction’s elements;

c) determining a solution that removes some elements and leaves others which

d) results in a diminution of perceived internal tension or stress, said diminution being an approximation of peace.

A Contradiction

A few weeks ago, I found myself looking at my Pionier 450 S in the driveway.  A couple of months previously, I’d put it there, taking it out of the garage, in order to repair some hull abrasions and get out on the water again.  Instead, I continued to neglect the kayak in the driveway as I had while it was in the garage.  Looking at the hull abrasions and recalling that new abrasions appeared each time I’d strapped the kayak to my car’s racks, I knew that the only real solution was a new hullskin.

There’s a German guy who makes unreal good hullskins for out-of-production folding kayaks.  There’s a Polish company that also manufactures skins for folding kayaks, as well as manufacturing a few models that appear to be Klepper knock-offs.  For what I’d wind up paying the German guy, I could probably buy a new Folbot or get close to the purchase price of a new Seavivor (which is what I’d really like to have).  Although fabulously wealthy in ways most people cannot imagine or begin to measure, I and my wife take pleasure in spending less money than we make.  I feel the need to justify every expense.

In the matter of a new hullskin for the 450 S, I simply could not justify the expense.  The reality is that I have not gone paddling since June 2012.  That is in part due to the fact that I haven’t wanted to completely wreck the Pionier’s skin.  But that is also due in part to other circumstances, among them that I am less willing to spend an entire weekend day away from my wife and son, that for a number of weeks during the spring and early summer my son played T-Ball games on the weekends, that I’ve been learning a new job and have been doing some weekend work, etc.

A Solution

For what it’s worth, and remember, you’re paying nothing for it so make your own assessment, I tend to approach or experience life, happenstance, providence, circumstance as manifestations of a created order that, although vast, is personal even though that personal element – the Creator’s mind and intent – while aware of and interested in me, does not necessarily always reckon my preferences, comfort, and convenience as that upon which the universe pivots.  Still, when I wanted to find a name for Pouch E-68 I bought from Ralph Hoehn, I asked the Almighty for a vision, and while paddling on Woods Reservoir, near the causeway that crosses the lake by the VFW, I saw some campsis radicans, commonly known as trumpet creeper, in bloom and of a color that matched exactly my stout kayak’s faded deck.  Pretty clear, if you’re me.

Close to the last week in July of this year, 2013, I found that I earnestly wished I knew of someone who wanted to buy the Pionier.  Whether I approached the Almighty with this request or not, I cannot recall.  What I do know is that within a week my blog received a comment from Brian Rider of North Carolina to a blog post wherein I presented a few photographs of the Pionier’s frame.

Christov,
In the event that you would ever be willing to let your Pionier go I would like to introduce myself. My name is Brian and I own a c. 1960′s Pionier 520-Z that I have paddled since about 1985 after it was given to my family by a good friend. The reliable old boat finally fell victim to many years of use and I had to put it up permanently around 1999. I really never thought that I would get the boat back on the water. But recently I sourced a new skin and spray deck (I never had an original spray deck) from Wayland, replaced and restored various frame members that had failed and my work is nearly complete. The boat is currently back on the water for gentle use as I have some details to complete. I am on foldingkayak.org and have read your story about how you came to own the 450-S. What a find! The condition of your boat is amazing in my opinion as I personally know what a similar boat can look like after forty years of use in South Carolina. Let my boat be stand as an example to how well built the Pionier kayaks are, you have a fine boat. Anyway, as a result of the research that I have done trying to find information about old folders I have gotten the bug to collect and I’m eyeballing your boat. I say that with a smile. Would love to share stories some time.

Pretty clear, if you’re me, that this represented a potentially very good solution to my problem and was likely a providential arrangement made by God.  I haven’t been active on FKO since becoming a father, to the best of my recollection, so this came out of the blue, as it were.

I think I emailed him that evening after one of my son’s activities, and over a couple of weeks we worked out the details which included a trip to Asheville that involved another exchange involving an old, lugged steel bicycle and a folding kayak.  The terms of the exchange didn’t nearly cover the costs of the trip, but since it was a trip I wanted to make, the offset sufficed.  The purchase of an old folding kayak, in my admittedly limited experience, seems something more like adoption than pecuniary transaction.

Since I hadn’t seen my friend, Eric, for probably over a year, I checked to see if he was available to visit at Asheville.

Faltkajak Pionier 450 S Assembled!

Forgot to mention this in my previous post, but this last weekend I found the time to complete assembly of my new Pionier 450 S.  My goal in the next week or two is to affix the keelstrip provided by the manufacturer back in about 1962.  The keel’s worn in some places, but not completely through the skin which I hope will remain serviceable for the next couple of years.  Assembled, this boat is beautiful and lightweight.  I love precise way in which all the parts fit together.  The gunwale or “thele” boards/stringers are a bit fiddly to attach fore and aft, but that was the most difficult part of the process.  This kayak comes with a very interesting spraydeck, and the wooden seat-bottom attaches interestingly.  Below are some rather bad-quality photos of the boat I took over the weekend.

Some Pouch E68 (Single 2000) Details

Here are some snapshots taken a couple of weeks ago for Chris Paton intended to provide detail about the E68’s bow hatch and the arrangement by which the hinged coaming is attached. I already posted them on Facebook, but thought those interested in the E68 who are not on Facebook might like to see them.

WordPress gallery software is pretty lame in that it’s arrange by whatever feature does not ever work for me, so the images in this gallery will post in random order. I’m too lazy to make captions for them. The inverted pictures (the kayak was upside down on sawhorses) are intended to show that the hullskin’s left (or portside) sponson sleeve is unevenly sewn forward resulting much bulge above the gunwale. Astern, however, the sponsons on either side bulge as the intended, sort of below the gunwale bilaterally. The kayak’s original skin, which had not hatch, was better fitted to the frame, and although extremely worn, was all in all a better piece of work.