I just got a used Avocet RM :)

Patience paid off — after about 6 months of watching Craigslist, I found an old (2001, but single-owner, well cared-for, garage-stored) plastic Avocet. I was able to sell the first kayak my husband and I bought, a 2006 WS Tsunami 145, for the same price, so we “traded” the too-big boat for a much better sized one. ( I’m 5’6” 135.)

My first time in the Avocet — woo-hoo, it fits! I can also tell it’s going to make me learn, since it seems to move way more in response to any input, from me or the water. It was fun, and I’m hoping the learning curve in it will be steep. Lessons coming up.

This board helped a lot with info and advice. Thanks to everyone for that!

Cool boat and will be more “one” with you.

Avocet is a responsive boat. Rolls good too. Enjoy!

Thanks! I’m psyched to start learning some skills.

Celia, you’ve been so helpful with everything! I’m going to message you. :slight_smile:

I owned an Avocet back around 2006. Great boat…wish I never would have sold it.

BTW, don’t be overly hesitant to use the skeg. Partial skeg is very helpful in quartering winds for the Avocet.

Thanks. Yep I noticed it’s much harder to keep in a straight line than any other kayak I’ve been in. However I do want to learn how to do it without using the skeg so that then I can use the skeg when I need it, and not rely on it.

Yes, you should be able to paddle it w/o using the skeg. And l am hardly one to talk. All l have to do to make the skeg in the Romany work is to replace it with thinner bungee, a task undone for a year now. But l also monitor wind and conditions to find the easier times to paddle these days.

I am a bigger fan of making life easier when l can at post 65 yrs old than l was in my younger fifties.

The Avocet was designed in the UK as a responsive boat for the rock gardens which can be very rough. There is no shame in using a little skeg when in flat water.

By all means, learn the subtle things like paddle shifting and edging, but use the skeg. You will love the boat even more for having a skeg.

I’m already really enjoying it! Thanks for the advice, it’ll make me feel better about using the skeg.

my 2009 Avocet RM is favorite all around boat. great in the waves. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFWZnY89B-s

I would like to clarify a common misconception which has not been explicitly stated in this thread, but I feel that some comments may be based on this misconception:

Many seem to think that the boat will go more straight, the more the skeg is down. That is wrong.

In sidewind, both too little and too much skeg will make the boat turn, just to opposite sides.

The skeg is used to balance the sideways water resistance of the front and rear of the boat so it is neutral to sidewind:

  • If the skeg is too high up, the rear of the boat will be pushed by the wind, and the boat will tend to turn into the wind.
  • If the skeg is too far down, the front of the boat will be pushed by the wind, and the boat will tend to turn away from the wind.
  • In between, there is a neutral point where the boat will go in a straight line.

Unfortunately, that neutral point is never exactly the same, because it depends on weight distribution, wind direction and speed and boat speed. So during the trip, one has to occasionally stop up and think “From which side is the wind coming? To which side is my boat turning? Will I have to raise the skeg a bit or lower it a bit to make the boat more neutral?”

I do this almost all the time. I see absolutely no shame in that. If I don’t use the skeg, I will have to rely on constant edging to one side or an asymmetrical paddle stroke, none of which I see the advantage in.

Of course, skegs will often malfunction, so one should also practice to keep the boat in a straight line in sidewind without skeg (or with a skeg which is jammed in fully down position). But doing that all the time is in my mind not a goal to work towards.

With all that said, I have to add that I have been so lucky to take a few lessons at Nigel Foster who is probably on the world top 3 of most technically skilled sea kayak paddlers. And he doesn’t agree with me. We were taught that when paddling in sidewind we should first use edging to compensate, and if that wasn’t enough, we should use skeg. But whether that was intended as a learning tool to force the practice of edging, or he actually saw a benefit from edging in comparison to skeg usage, I never found out.

Thanks, that’s helpful. I’ll have to learn both methods.

Congratulations, awesome boat. Yesterday I washed/303’d a few different brands. Hard to beat the construction on the Avocet. Plastic welded bulkheads, quality triple layer and those hatches… Big oval both ends for easy loading, easy on VCP lids and glued on rims for a great seal.

Thanks! Yes, it does seem very sturdy, with the weight to match! That’s the only thing I’m not wild about, otherwise I’m really loving it. I have to replace the deck lines and bungees and put 303 on the hatch covers - and then I’ll feel like a real kayaker.