Boats on Cars - Part 2

Looking over the hundreds of pix that were posted on the Boats on Cars topic, I was surprised at the number of kayaks and canoes that were attached without bow lines. Sure, for a shorter boat on wider crossbars, it’s overkill, but otherwise, I think it’s a critical safety feature that counters torque from the wind at highway speed - a force that has been known to rip J-cradles right off the crossbars. I have a short video that explains the system and also has examples of kayaks flying off cars:

Also, here are pix of transporting our kayaks and our canoe. The boats don’t budge an inch at highway speeds.

Since the crossbars are secured to the Subaru’s roof rack, I tie off to the roof rack.

The bow lines run to seat belt webbing that is bolted to the frame underneath the hood.


Nice job on the movie. I haul two canoes hull up or some combination of canoe and rec-kayak on a small KIA soul and I double cam strap each boat and run both a front and back line tied off to a bolted on hood strap like you show and a DIY hatch back strap.

I like to think of it as wearing two belts and suspenders to keep my pants up.

The other big part and the only part of your movie that had me raise an eyebrow was the testing of a setup at 80MPH. For me with a tiny car and a couple huge sails on top I will never be in a hurry to reach my destination and will drive super conservatively trying to stay of interstate highways and sticking to secondary roads. I know some people are forced to use highways and if that is your only way to go I would stay at minimum speed an not max for the roadway.
I’m set up for double lines front and back as a X and that is what I do for longer travels shown is my local setup and if I’m just going to my neighborhood launch about a block from home I leave the front and back off.


Actually you may notice in several of my pix in that thread no tie downs whatsoever…

The point of your comment was lost on me Darkstar. Perhaps you’d like to elaborate on that thought.

I take your point about speed, and you have some nice rigs on those vehicles. We weren’t testing the system at 80mph, we were using it with confidence. The kayaks never budged.

I was merely pointing out that pictures could be quite possibly taken at various stages of loading in that thread and may not be representative of how they actually traveled with them. I quite often load boats but don’t apply stern tie down (to allow access to the trunk) until we are about to drive.



OK. I see. No problem. I mistakenly thought you might be making light of tiedowns. It’s often hard to get nuance in online comments.

I use front and rear lines with canoes and when i use j-racks. I do not use them on my sea kayak in the saddles. I never place the kayak with more bow overhang than stern over hang. The kayak is strapped tight and the first strap is at the top of the cockpit below the deck so it can’t move backwards. The saddles are narrower on the back saddle preventing the kayak from moving back. The carbon hull is very rigid so there’s very little flex. The saddles are rubber and very tacky so that prevents the kayak from moving. I’ve driven thousands of highway miles without a problem.

This was boats falling off a trailer, and a life was lost. Sad. This incident happened about 90 minutes from me. I do not know anything, except what was is in article.


Tragic, and very preventable. :pensive:


Thanks so much for taking the time to share that article, Medawgone. I’ve added it to our database.


yet another wake up call
strap them down, check, double check, triple check

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How absolutely horrible! No idea if bow and stern tie-downs were used but I do wonder if they’re strong enough to withstand the forces of a rack failure.

Something people don’t think about is the strength of the attachment point on the kayak. On a plastic kayak with flimsy little 1/8" polypropylene line on the grab loops, those lines could either break or pull right through the plastic on the kayak.

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I run mine through the deck lines.