Back in April I had a discussion going on how to retrofit some after-market thigh braces onto my older Avocet RM. At the end - the prevailing thought was to make my own. I can't revive that thread because it's been archived (a little disappointing aspect of the forum software or configuration) but I'm here to report that I went ahead and carved my first set of braces from minicell foam this past weekend.
Here is a link to the old thread
And here is a photo of what the new braces look like installed
They are temporally held in place with strong double-side carpet tape until I get to test them on the water.
I had no idea how to go about carving them to fit the boat and my legs but I just started cutting and shaping until it felt right. Once I had one to my liking I had to make a second one and in mirror image! That was an interesting challenge but fun too.
I wanted to make them just small enough to give me some extra grip but not obstruct the cockpit so much. I bought enough minicell to be able to make several if I decide these are not quite right
By the way - the rectangular black object that you see behind the brace is custom padding I put in a couple of years ago in order to bring my knees in a little and not splay out so much. In addition they protect only knee from the skeg control protrusion inside the hull. The pads are minicell and covered with very thin neoprene - very comfortable.
Thanks again for the encouragement and advice. Custom outfitting is the best!
saw your work
Tried to do something very similiar last summer to extend the thigh braces in a CD Suka but abandoned the project when they were in the taped-in stage. I’m very glad I didn’t glue them in.
I learned two things:
making them thin enough to flex also made them too flimsy for repeated cockpit entries and exits.
that cockpit is narrow, and making the thigh braces extend into the cockpit any further creates more obstruction- sure i could get out, I’m pretty small, but would likely rip out the thigh brace extensions, at least partially.
in the end it wasn’t worth it for me.
The Avocet cockpit is big (bigger) so hope your mods are going to work for you. Do a few cowboy re-entries and some re-entry and rolls (if you like to do the latter) and see if you’ve got enough clearance.
I agree, finetuning the outfitting is cool!
I consider these a prototype
and there is a chance, as you said, that they would not hold up. That’s why they are not permanently glued in yet. I also minimized how much they stick out from the coaming to reduce the torque on them. I want them to be as small as possible and still work.
At this point I’m mainly interested to test the shape. If the boat control is better and if I can get in and out without much problem that I’m almost there. If the foam cannot take the knee/thigh pressure (rips out) then I can work on strengthening the brace with a custom aluminum stiffener and/or another method. Time will tell but it’s pretty inexpensive to try