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Open Folding Boat Rally 2000 (on the Darss, Germany)

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Poucher Boot GmbH and Ms. Conny Klemm had issued an open invitation to all comers to join them in Bliesenrade, Germany for this year's "Open Folding Boat Rally" on the Darss.

The date: The weekend of September 2 and 3.
The place: The local camp-site at Bliesenrade, which is an ideal and idyllic spot, set in an almost completely unspoiled natural landscape. Time itself seems to have forgotten it.
The weather gods, however, seemed to object to the venture from the beginning: Whereas there had been picture perfect sunshine during the entire previous week, by noon on Friday the skies had darkened ominously. Of course we did not let that spoil the fun. Starting out from the town of Pouch, it took us about 5 hours to arrive on the Darss. We were not the only eager paddlers who had decided to get a head start and drive to Bliesenrade on Friday already. After the tents had been set up and the boats assembled there was already plenty of opportunity to get to know one another or, indeed, to get re-acquainted. Some even went for first reconnaissance trips on the waters of the Bodden.

assemblingnew kayaks on display ...

We have come to rely on Ekki Kaplan over the years: He always brings an assortment of rare specimens of historic, unusual and interesting folding boats with him. By the time we arrived, he had already assembled a beautifully preserved KS75 (light double). And that was only one of the topics of conversation over free beer and barbecue that Friday evening!

barbecueCarlo and Conny

The official opening event of the rally was a trip by (folding!!) boat to the town of Born. Only the toughest actually undertook this adventure because a devious chop and winds of Bft 4 to 5 ensured quite a high level of excitement. The put-in alone took considerably longer than usual!

put-in a devious chop ...

However, once we arrived in Born, we found ample compensation for all the suffering and hard work as we walked through the beautiful historic town center. By the time a good lunch had filled our bellies certainly no one felt any need to grumble. And even if anyone had, then the liquid refreshments imbibed in front of the tents upon our return would soon have put an end to it. And there was plenty to talk about and to admire, too, in the way of changes and new features added to new and old boats alike.

a closer look at the boats

Once evening fell we enjoyed a highly interesting slide show put on by Carlo Schagen of Hamburg. Carlo had drawn from his collection of folding boat pictorial documentaries. He portrayed some of the most beautiful and interesting paddling areas in Germany, starting in the "new" [former East German] states and then drifting down the Elbe river as far as Hamburg. Saltwater trips on the stormy North Sea followed and ran seamlessly into scenes from the island of Lanzarote as seen from the ocean aboard a folding kayak. Up to that point many people were able to recognize the scenery. Then pictures of Carlo's trips to Alaska and Baja California added just the right exotic touch to the evening to hold the audience spell-bound.
Hans-Juergen Staudte brought the show to a fitting conclusion with a pictorial account of a trip to Greenland. He had undertaken this in a stock PVC-hulled RZ85 folding double, no less! The stiff breeze was still very much with even on Sunday. Nonetheless we took off for an enjoyable paddling tour to Zingst and into the river Perow.

the E 68E 68

It was tough to have to leave again on Sunday, but for most participants 4 pm was about the final deadline since they had a good deal of driving to accomplish to return to the various corners of Germany, which they call home. Everyone agreed that the rally was a complete success! Of course we intend to continue the tradition of the "Open Folding Boat Rally". However, we propose that from now on we change venue every two year so that we can fully enjoy the great variety of the beautiful paddling areas that Germany has to offer.

[On behalf of Pouch in the USA we encourage any folding boaters who might find themselves in Germany during these rallies to join. Language is never a problem, certainly not after a little lubrication. ;-)]


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