Cross bar spacing

I have a 16 ft. Impex Montauk and I transport it on my '98 Jeep Cherokee Sport. I have my cross bars spaced apart as far as possible and when carrying my kayak I position it so the rear bulkhead and rear cross bar are lined up. Should I move the front cross bar further back so it is lined up with the front bulkhead? No problems with the current set-up, just want to do the right thing. Thanks.

…I don’t think there is any one “standard” for transporting boats on cartops, other than bow /stern lines being the 11th commandment.I position my cradles fore and aft of the cockpit and with bow /stern lines and have never had a prob so far. If anything , I think positioning the cradles in the narrowest parts of the boat would not allow the cradles to grip the boat securely enough.

the 11th commandment…
“bow /stern lines being the 11th commandment” is subject to debate…

Support as close to bulkheads as possible is ideal but support at 2 bulkheads is not often possible.

your crossbars
should be placed 45" apart for your specific vehicle.

This is based on a Yakima rack.

I only go by the ten original ones…
except when I have my long delicate ultralight racing boats on and am driving at interstate speeds. then I use just front ones to protect the long overhanging front from wind shear.

To the OP, If you have had good luck with them where they are, I would just leave them that way.

I keep my 18 foot long QCC with them similar to the way yours are.

I use saddles sometimes and J cradles other times.

Jack L

Different strokes…
A. Yakima sez 45 inches spread. Their lawyers approved this statement.

2. Touring kayaks are strongest at their bulkheads, so B-to-B must be the optimum spacing, but

III. The farther apart the bars, and hence the saddles are the less possibility of the boat yawing.

I doubt that one could go wrong with any of these choices as long as you paid attention to the details (rack mounting to vehicle, saddle mounting to rack, tie-down or strap down, bow/stern lines).


cross bars, safety and boat preservation
When I first escaped corporate America I worked in a bike shop and did a lot of Yakima rack set ups for people.

I’ve used them for years, so I’m pretty comfortable with the installation process.

Yes, there ARE some things you can push that they specify. I don’t work in retail sporting goods anymore and I won’t take any responsibility for what YOU do, but my Yakima rep gave me the same spiel.

Remember, YMMV and its your bike or boat or whatever that you’ve put through someone’s windshield if you do something in your load or setup out of the specs.

Crossbar spread with clips is NOT one of the things I’d vary from Yakima spec from. The way the clips fit the body of your car is optimum at the spacing they recommend. Your Jeep may not be quite as picky to fit as say, a Camry sedan, due to the body shape but still - there is a reason for it, stuff can slip.

Crossbar spread with gutter racks I’ve messed around with, but cars that use gutter racks aren’t all that common these days. Also permanent install - the drilling kind, is more flexible.

Anyway, attached is a link probably one of the more extreme combinations.

What you are looking at is a two door car with old school Yakima rack extenders and newer towers. The extenders give me the spread for the cross bars I want. The second pair of clips mounts at the standard location for a two door car, the cross bar towards the rear of the car sits on its rubber feet with no clips.

Mounted on top of the Yakima cross bars are a pair of Thule Slipstreams with Marco saddles. Now I’ve got support under the bulkheads of both my boats.

Plus I can slide the saddles closer together on the Thule slipstream for a whitewater boat.

Stern lines are off in these photos, but bow lines aren’t.

Yes, I’m totally overweight according to Yakima spec, between the boats and the racks. Some people may debate just how well the clips will hold for side to side - like high wind - stress. So far, so good! I check stuff pretty frequently.

actually sjyaker…
that 45" spread listed for the Cherokee is only a reference to the maximum spread for this vehicle. One can spread the bars anywhere up to that 45" distance, but it isn’t required to actually place them @ 45" apart.

anyone check the actual fit?
I’m betting the rack doesn’t use the Q-clip, door-fitted rack setup. Instead it’s probably a Control Tower or Rail Grab where in the 45" is in fact the Maximum and the crossbars CAN be placed anywhere along the length of the track or rail.

I’d place them wide and not worry about it.

What happens if
the cross bars are spaced more than 45" apart?