honda crv

I have Thule racks on my 08 Honda CRV. The distance from front crossbar to rear crossbar is 28". These are mounted at fixed points so distance can’t be changed.I’m going to mount Thule Hullaport “J” cradles to carry my 2010 CD Caribou(17’3"). The cockpit is 32" long so the boat will be resting on the for and aft of the cowling.I know that the boat is trongest positioned on it"s side,but has anyone had experience with this mounting arraignment ?

Just fine
at a 28" spread and with the Hullaports having 6" wide bottom support the kayak will probably make contact on chine and seam which obviously are extremely rigid. Just make sure that the Hullaport pad is in contact with the hull not the bar and you might want to put a 1/4 layer of minicell foam on the rubber foot plate of the Hullaport more for keeping road grit from lodging in between and scuffing your gel coat.

Use the bow/stern tiedowns.

Get the Hullaport Pros so you can fold them flat and not have automotive moose antlers deployed when not carrying your kayak.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

tie downs
I found your caution to use bow and stern tie downs interesting.

Last year I bought a 25’ rowing shell and was told NOT to use bow and stern tie downs by everyone I asked about it. I was skeptical, but did what I was told on the 500 mile drive home. The ends didn’t move at all even when hitting pot holes. (the boat is almost twice the length of my car, and that was kinda spooky)

Are shells that much stiffer than kayaks, or are tie downs really not necessary on kayaks?

Extra insurance
It’s you’re boat and a nice one. For the 5 min. it takes to put on tie downs they are just extra insurance against a cam buckle on a snap breaking or helps stabilize the boat when in a tractor trailer’s turbulent wind wake.

Ever have your kayak take flight? Not a pleasant experience.

My $.02


See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY

So you are saying…
That it isn’t to stabilize the ends, but just extra straps to hold the boat to the rack?

Then wouldn’t putting extra straps to hold the boat to the rack directly be better than the bow and stern ties?

On the rowing shell, I think the idea is that they aren’t particularly strong (his weighs 32 pounds, which isn’t much for 25’) and if you put enough tension on the bow and stern to do anything useful, you would likely damage it. That wouldn’t apply to a kayak, but if you don’t need them on a 25’ boat, you probably don’t need them on a 17’ boat.

Straps a-plenty
The straps are plenty strong. You’re kayak presents about 8’ of lever out in front of the hullaport. At speed that can present a lot of leverage against the 28" spread of the two hullaports. The bow/stern tiedowns simply provide a some back up to the torquing forces that the windstream is going to present as you drive.

See you on the water,


The River Connection, Inc.

Hyde Park, NY


– Last Updated: Feb-27-12 6:52 PM EST –

Folks who say do not use tie downs on racing boats or surf skis mean it because people tend to ratchet-down too much and break them. Or forget a loose end, run over it with the car and break the boat... Stuff like that.

If you put a 20+ footer on an under 30" base, you create great twisting forces in case there is uneven wind or if you go over bumps in a certain way.

You can place tie-downs at the ends of the vehicle, not necessarily at the ends of the boat and get the stabilizing effect.

The insurance effect is separate - tie the boat to your car so if it does fly off it stays next to the car and minimizes damage to others.

I've carried a 21' kayak on a 24" spread rack but with a 5' extension mounted on the rack. The saddles supported that particular kayak right at the bulkheads so the hull would not deform as it might if supporting under the cockpit where it is weakest. The extension holds the boat very safely so from the boat prospective there is no need to secure it - the wind and bumps will not damage the boat due to torquing it up/down/sideways the way it could if I had mounted it directly on the 24" base. However, the boat would wobble a lot (together with the 5' extension), so with that setup I used straps to minimize motion. They were not tight at all - just tight enough so there is no slack in them, so the bow and stern would not wobble up or down or sideways.

On my current car I carry 20' surf ski all the time on the same 5' extension I mentioned above. However it is mounted on a 40" spread bars that are screwed to the roof of my car. That setup is very solid and I generally do not use tie downs, unless I plan to go on a very long trip. Yesterday I was driving against some 20-30mph winds at 65mph with it - felt secure and barely moved. When sideways, I could feel it, but again did not feel out of the ordinary. I would never have done that with the 24" spread without tie downs.

Also, my setup uses Yakima Mako saddles that provide better contact surface and allow some flex. Unlike the J cradles you got, that are more rigid and can damage a boat more easily - I've seen setups like yours on a car with curved roof - the kayak was resting on a single point on each cradle, creating a pressure point. Imagine that kayak wobbling up and down and what that pressure point will do to your hull - if it is fragile, you will get a soft spot. One of my kayaks was damaged exactly this way by its previous owner...

Another vote
Another vote for extensions. I have a CRV and attached 4 ft extensions by attaching metal shelving poles from the big box place under the factory rack with u-bolts. This cost maybe $20.00 and gives a very stable platform for a longer boat.

Rowing Shells
Your statement is accurate. There have been cases of shells snapping because they were tied tightly on the ends and couldn’t flex a bit with wind or pot holes. In fact I completely rehabbed a solo shell for the local kids rowing club and they tied it improperly on the trailer and snapped it in multiple places on its’ journey to a regatta. Gone now.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a shell transported on a personal vehicle that had its’ ends tied off.

Narrow Span? ‘V’ Bars…

– Last Updated: Feb-27-12 9:43 PM EST –

I had an '04 CR-V with the Thule system. Hauling my 100 lb. Seda Tango tandem, I always used bow and stern Thule ratchet tie downs-it was extremely secure with these. That said, when transporting carbon surf skis, I was wont to do same, for fear of cranking down too hard and causing load fractures in the fragile layups, until...

Coming back from the Blackburn one year with my shorter ski up top, I happened to glance up on the highway, to witness my beloved Huki at about a fifty degree angle off parallel, torquing against the wind. The POC Thule saddles had popped several detents from their form fitting cupped position around the hull, under the wind forces, allowing the ski to slide at what would soon be a right angle to the CUV. After that point, I always used tie downs with very little resistance, in the case that this occurred again (It did-cheesy plastic construction, and even crappier hardware.). I don't see how this would be an issue with your J bars, but the amount of leverage on a boat that long is considerable-something else could give.

Finally, I'd had it with dealing with saddles, tie downs, etc. altogether, and bought a couple of sets of Cliff's 'V' racks.
Night and day. The boats are incredibly stable, and come on and off with bungees to secure in literally 30 seconds. Huge fan. They are amazing for Christmas tree transport as well.

thanks for the link!
Looks promising, gonna have to check this out before spring.