Pionier 450S – First Report

Today, several long months after purchasing my 1962 Pionier 450S, I paddled it for the first time.

The interesting spraydeck did not remain attached to the coaming on the right front of the cockpit.  The clips kept coming loose.  I eventually removed it.  The after portion of the spraydeck remained in place without any problems, and I left it on.

I did not use the rudder today.  This boat doesn’t track nearly as well as my Pouch E68, but then, what does?  I used the kayak’s inflatable seat cushion, but while using it, never felt securely in place.  When I stopped to stretch, I removed the cushion and stowed the front part of the spraydeck behind the seat.

The kayak’s primitive-looking wooden seatback, affixed to a sort of thwart upon which it swivels, provides comfortable back support, totally unlike the seatbacks crafted for the more modern Pouch E68 and RZ96.  With the inflatable cushion off the apparently ergonomically curved wooden seat-bottom, I found paddling much more comfortable and felt more securely, um, in touch with the kayak.

The cockpit’s traditional gothic-arch shape allows the paddler to lock knees under the deck outboard the coaming.  My E68 feels “loose” around my waist without the inflatable hip-pads on the Nautiraid Greenlander seat I use in that boat.  The 450S does not feel like it needs a hip-fit modification.  Another cool thing about the gothic-arch cockpit is that it minimizes, along with paddle drip rings, the volume of paddle drip falling into the boat.  I used a Euro paddle today, for no good reason I can think of, but was glad of the paddle’s drip rings when I removed problematic forward section of the spraydeck.  Although I didn’t paddle for more than two or three hours today, my butt, legs, and lower back did not and were not numb after a fair amount of time on the uncushioned seat.

The Pionier 450S is not as fast as my Pouch E68.  It has some rocker (the E68 has none), and is about a foot and half shorter.  It took me longer to paddle a short distance, which may be accounted for, in part, by the fact that I have not paddled in several months – probably not since July of last year.

Paddling did not seem to unduly stress the shoulder that’d required surgery in August of last year.  As I write this, my surgery-side trapezius is painful – but I can probably correct that with better posture and exercise.  Of late, I have not religiously adhered to the regimin of post-surgery corrective exercises prescribed by my physical therapist.

For about the first 30 to 45 minutes, none of my body’s right-side movements seemed to coordinate with those of my left-side.  I had a strong sense of lopsidedness.  Eventually I seemed to get a rhythm and my muscle-amnesia lifted a bit.

Some of the Normandy Lake pictures I took today follow:

Ready to Paddle

Atlantic Street Stepford 001

Another beautiful day in Stepford - calling for rain this afternoon, but considerably warmer temps than we've had in the last little while


I awoke earlier this morning than I’d intended to, could not get back to sleep, got up and made some coffee.  The Sony Handycam program I installed the other day had completed overnight the task I’d given it – to backup some raw video clips to DVD after converting them to WMV format.  Took far longer than I expected – hours.  Windows Task Manager reported less than half of the available RAM was being used at any of the several times I checked, but CPU usage monitor indicated a consistent 92%.  This Hewlett-Packard DV6 has an Intel DuoCore processor that’s not particularly fast.  Maybe I will back up the same video files without first converting them to see how long that takes.

6:22 am

I’ve been up awhile, and it’s only 6:22 am.  I’ve just made a lunch to eat while I’m on the water.  Peanut-butter and jelly sandwich, trail-mix, and generic fig-newton cookies.  Pretty heavy on the carbs.  I’ll have a huge bowl of oatmeal before I leave the house.

Today it’s my goal to paddle the Pionier 450S folding kayak I purchased last fall.  I intend to try out the spraydeck/skirt combo and the rudder with the boat today.  Probably will paddle no more than eight or so miles – this will be my first excursion since my shoulder surgery last August, so I want to ease into this.  The Pionier’s far lighter than my Pouch E68, and is sponsonless.  I will probably try cartopping the kayak deck-down because the Gothic-arch cockpit is long enough the coaming should rest easily on the 850’s factory roof-racks.  That, and the fact that I never did spring for carrying cradles for the E68.

When I get home, I’ll let the boat dry out, leave it assembled in order to affix a keelstrip to protect the hull from further wear.  Yesterday, I spoke with Mark at Long Haul Folding Kayaks – his company sells gray keelstrips  17’ long and 2.5” wide that he said may be applied with neoprene cement.  I’ll probably buy one and cut it down, saving the remainder to use as patch material if that ever becomes necessary.

After the hull-work’s completed, I’ll disassemble the boat and see about any frame stripping and varnishing.  I need to have a look at that E68’s frame, too.

Again, I am writing this post using Windows Live Writer, so we’ll see how it works when I include a picture.