Thigh braces for Avocet RM

I’m looking for ideas of how to build/fit thigh braces into my Valley Avocet RM. My boat was made the year before Valley started putting adjustable braces in their RM boats and I really need to do something about it.

The top of my thighs are very close to the deck so I don’t need padding there. Most of what I need is some sort of hook to push against with my thigh when edging or practicing rolling. My thighs sometimes don’t have enough grip and slip from under the existing deck/brace area under extreme conditions like trying to right a turned over boat. I’m willing to carve/glue but I can’t quite see how to attach a hook to the edge of the cockpit brace/flange.

If anyone has built minicell thigh braces for this boat, I’d love to see some close up photos, explanations, ideas etc.



Thighbrace mod

Perception used to make interchangeable thighbraces for some of their boats, including the early Shadow & Eclipse. I think there were two different lengths and two different shapes. It was a U-shaped sheet with both thighbraces molded in. I ordered a couple of those from a dealer(many years ago now), and made the modification pictured, using large-head blind rivets for installation. It’s worked out very well.

Good job
Good creative thinking! I wonder if I could find such a brace. I have not sene any that looked like this one. However, I can see forming a similar one out of sheet aluminum and bolting it on - maybe just a single bent sheet, with foam glued to the inside. Something to think about.

Thanks for the photos


Thigh braces
A good material to use is plastic. You can get 1/4" thick Lucite or other plastic sheet material. You may have to do a little yellow page search for plastic supplier. The nice thing is that you can cut out a shape and heat it with a torch and bend it to a downward shape that you like. You would bolt it to the hull with a few stainless bolts and nuts. Then cover it with closed cell foam to you liking. I’ve seen a job like this on a plastic kayak.

Some kayak companies sell thigh braces like Necky but they are quite expensive like $156. for their adjustable ones.

If there was a good off-the-shelf brace that would work, I’d pay $150 for it. The Necky system that I’m familar with (in a Chatham 16) is a few years old and it didn’t look like something I could easily fit into the Avocet but I’ll look again. Maybe their brace design has changed in recent years.

I haven’t thought about bending plastic but that’s something to consider. 1/4" plastic can be gotten even at HD, in the windows department. I like the idea of fabricating something custom, as long as I have a good way to bolt it on to the boat.



Is it the stock Avocet?

Do you have the stock Avocet, pre 2006? Have you added anything to the bottom of the stock (and slipery) molded in plastic thigh braces?

If you’re working off the stock hard plastic it is very slipery. I glued a piece of 1/4" minicell to the bottom of the molded plastic thigh braces and that gave me all the edging and rolling control I needed.

I’ve never felt a need for a more aggressive system of thigh hooks and can to do several types of rolls, including hand rolls with this setup. Maybe this solution won’t work for you, but it’s simple to try if you haven’t already done so.


It’s a 2005 Avocet
I bought the boat in August 2005. It’s made of the newer harder shell but it did not yet have the adjustable braces. The braces are made of black plastic, and are molded as part of the piece that wraps around the cockpit rim from the inside. I believe that’s similar to the system that was used in the glass version of the Avocet. Interesting that you agree that it’s slippery!! At least it’s not just my imagination. I haven’t attached anything to the underside of the braces yet. Maybe it is the first thing to try. What kind of neoprene did you use? Plain? Cloth-covered? Self-adhesive? and how did you glue it on?

On a related note - did you also put any foam where your knees touch against the (outside) hull? I’m also interested to know what people do in that area.



I just noticed
that you said you used 1/4" minicell - not neoprene. Some consider minicell also slippery, although probably better than bare plastic. Maybe I should coat it with 1/8" neoprene or just use thick neoprene? What was your consideration of the material type?


1/4" minicell
I used a piece that covers the protruding braces and covers down the side of the boat to the skeg slider housing. It’s glued in with gel contact cement. It’s been solid for two years. My Avocet is a 2004, so probably a similar setup except for the polyethylene. These thigh braces were never meant to be used as is. The manufacturer expects them to be padded out. The P&H composite boats (maybe the Valleys too) have nothing but bare fiberglass thigh hooks from the factory.

I have not found the minicell to be slippery or need to be roughed up, but expect that might help.