Bow & Stern lines, to V or not to V?

Not all people have racks and bars …
… many a canoe have been transported with “canoe blocks” and proper front / rear roping .

This also is as near a bullet proof way to transport as you can get .

and I think of the time I drove from MD to maine with three kayaks on a friends factory Honda Oddesey rack. I said “you know we definately are exceeding the manufacturers specs” and he said “those are written by lawyers, it’s got twice that capacity”…but we did use bow/stern tie downs.

Belt & Suspenders.
I have a Thule rack with canoe brackets for transporting our 17" Kevlar canoe. The rack mounts so solidly to our roof that I can seriously rock the car by working the bars. I also use the Thule cam buckles doubled over each bar. I complete the tiedown with straps “V’d” front & rear. That canoe cost me too much $$ to take chances on the highway with!


Like I said above:
“Don’t tail gate me” and you should have no worries from behind, and I won’t tailgate you so you should have no worries about it flying into your back window.

You might want to consider giving me a wide birth as you pass, just in case it falls off one side or the other.



just safety
i use pantyhose on the front and back of the car to secure a rope to the bow and stern. it works well.

i simply tie a loop put it under the hood latch and close the bonnet. i do the same with the boot (trunk) the ropes are smug and the nylon gives them some spring. It is soft on the car so no damage there and it is strong as (they use it made into nets in africa to catch wildlife, including big cats, that is where i got the idea) well its strong.

i have never had a rack move with exception of a bad accident some years ago. that destroyed my boat and half the rack (thule) stayed with the car.

i don’t always tie the boat down fore and aft; but if i am going to drive on the highway they are there.

Aw, jackl, you’re just being stubborn. If you could limit the consequences of your accidents to tail-gaters I would be all for you, I’d like to lose a few of them anyway. But if anything happens to anyone, by Murphy’s law, it’ll be to somebody innocent picking up trash on the side of the highway or stopped at the stop sign on the exit ramp.

Still, I’ll admit I’m not much worried with you – you’ve probably tied those boats on so many times you couldn’t do it wrong if you tried. Even with the alzheimer’s creeping up on you :wink:

But for the rest of us, and that includes me, I think we’re better off with the precaution. Think ahead and measure out a piece of line to fit for that exact purpose, and it only takes a few seconds to attach it. Safety for very little bother.

Here’s something else similar that I started doing after hearing about a friend’s misfortune. Do you ever carry around heavy objects in the back of an SUV (trolling motor battery, heavy tools, half an axle, firewood chunks, etc.)? Do you realize that if you roll that SUV, or somebody else hits you and rolls it for you, those heavy things can become missiles inside?

Here’s my easy solution – most SUV’s have those little floor tie-down brackets in back. I leave a length of nylon cord, about 4 feet long, tied to one bracket on each side. Then, anything heavy back there gets a loop of rope with a simple knot – takes 15 seconds. You don’t have to tie it securely enough to hold it in place, just enough to break the force of a sudden jolt if it suddenly becomes a projectile in an accident.

It’s like seat belts
Bow and stern lines are like seat belts. If things go according to plan they are not needed, but when things go wrong they can save lives. The problem with choosing not to use them is you are rarely ever risking your life but the lives of people in vehicles sharing the road with you.

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Thanks everyone.
It seems that some of my reasoning is flawed, but my practice & implementation is correct.

use bow and strern lines
surfski upside down on factory rack with pipe insulation.

I clich tight, but not super-tight. There’s definitely a certain point where there’s no more give, and I stop there.

With that done, wagging boat moves car, but there’s enough give for the boat to move a little up/down and sideways, so there’s never a direct force transfer from car to boat. Has worked well so far for the couple of dozen times I’ve taken the boat on the highway.

When traveling the windy West with
a tandem canoe on top, even with gunwale brackets and with the front and rear Yakima bars strutted together into one unit, I use a V rope in front. In fact, I use two separate ropes, so that the bow can’t wiggle as it would on one rope. I find that this arrangement makes for a much steadier ride, especially when buffeted while following trucks. On our Accords, there is only one good tie point in the rear, but that hasn’t made as much difference as a good tie job in front.

Those who (like me) rely on Yakima Q-tower systems on sedans should note that a lot of owners were reporting shifting and loose Q-towers in spite of repeated efforts to attach them according to company instructions. Honda Civics seemed to be a problem. I haven’t had problems on Accords, but when the front and rear bars are connected firmly by a longitudinal strut, the towers are obviously less likely to migrate. NOTE: use of bar tie down ropes in a diagonal pattern was associated with migrating tower bases, and single bow ties off to one side can’t be dismissed as possibly pulling forward on towers.

shrinkwrap for me
I just shrinkwrap the car to the bottom of my kayak.

I disagree .
My two QCC’s were on the roof of our Ford Escape when my wife came to a stop behind a car that was stopped at a red light.

She was rear ended by a teen ager who never even applied the brakes and the highway patrol estimated he was going 40 at impact.

It drove our car into the next stopped car.

The boats and rack with no front or rear tiedowns never moved an inch.

As I have said before if you know how your rack is secured and know you have proper tiedowns (cam-lock buckle straps properly installed), you should not have to worry about losing your rack or boats

And I can only reiterate: Keep your distance from my vehicle and you should have no worries!



Good one !
some of these people have so much fear of killing someone or loosing their $350 boats, that I’m surprised they don’t epoxy them to their vehicles roof.



tailgate JackL?
Heck I would need a porche to keep up with him. He drives just like my big brother, scares the heck out of me.

I had a rack get pulled from the
rain gutter on my jeep cherokee. A moose ran into the side of my vehicle on the highway and the rack was sticking out just far enough to get caught. The front rack and canoe both left the vehicle. $4000 worth of damage to the jeep. I put the rack back on and tied the canoe on with ropes and drove away. No harm to the canoe other than a few more deep gouges. The canoe may not have left the vehicle if I had tied off the ends but the canoe may have sustained more damage when the handles ripped from the gunwales.

Whenever I travel with boats I test the rack by trying to rip it off by hand. I haven’t been able to do that yet without the help of a 700 pound moose at 45 mph. I feel pretty good about not tying off the ends of my boats. Am I careless? Maybe.

…a $350 boat is a big bite out of a lot of folks budget that they wouldn’t soon be able to replace.


Use the lines, JackL. Feel better.

Ford Escape vs. Corolla -:wink:
Your Ford probably has close to 2x the spread on the racks and probably you have factory rails on which the cross bars are installed. Both make the boat attachment much more stable than our 28" or so spreads.

On our Mazda MPV I did not feel a tie-down was necessary. On my Prius with a 2 foot spread b/w supports - mandatory for anything over 40 mph. But I use it always because my 19 foot boat moves too much up and down and sideways at the ends without it and it may damage the hull eventually. And it does put more stress on the roof rack mounts for sure (both the boat and car mount points).

You got two counts right.
1. the stubborness and No.2 the Alzehemiers,

but at my age, I have the God given right for both.

I do have to admit though that I do use front tie downs on my 23 foot long 44 pound K-2, my 18’-6", 29 pound comp cruiser and my new 20 foot long ultralight Minn -3.

But ---- not to protect all you front and rear tie down purists, but to keep my long boats front halves from breaking in half from cross wind shear.



you don’t specify, or I might have missed it, the kind of rack you use. My reasoning is that a 100#-200# object connected to your roof is probably one of the items that can get ejected in an accident. An accident you have no control over. That object becomes a hazard for others whether anyone is tailgating or not.

You like to characterize others taking absolute positions “purists” simply so you can hold a contrary one. “I never…” but then it comes out you do after all. So there really aren’t purists,simply people trying to do things safely.

You could drive around with a spare tire on a roof rack secured with a bungie,and it’s pretty much guranteed to be a missle in an accident compared to a spare tire secured with a mechanical fixture.

That’s all folks are saying, you can reduce the potential missles on the road way with back up attachments…