**“Is a dedicated rack system better/easier than using foam blocks?” ** (funny thing, but the boldface-type feature won’t activate for this line)
If I said the answer is “so much easier that it’s like night and day” it would be a huge understatement. Foam blocks provide very little restraint, as far as keeping the boat stable front to rear, and especially side to side since the usual tie-down methods don’t do much to assist in that way. Tying your boat to the roof with only front and rear tie-downs is very inefficient and marginally effective. Taking steps to improve your anchorage would involve straps through the interior of the car, which not only prevents you from opening the doors when the boat is secure, it gives rain a ready path to follow inside and drip all over the place. Most cars carrying boats on foam blocks end up having boat aligned at an acute angle, because it doesn’t matter how tight you make the end tie-downs - if you yank the boat back and forth and you’ll see that there’s slop in the system. You won’t find that with a proper rack. Foam blocks are also much more awkward and time-consuming.
Whether the “Glide and Set” is best or not is probably debatable. There are many ways to load a boat with minimal effort, and many very good ways to secure it to the rack.
"What is the point of spending $700 for a fancy roof rack system if you still have to fool w the hassle of strapping it down? One of the reasons I went w this is to avoid the hassle of all of those straps and cut down on the time it takes to load."
The point is that it holds the boat secure with minimal effort needed. Not needing to mess with tie-downs at all is a totally unreasonable expectation. Look online at any of the multitude of websites that provide advice for how to tie down your boat, follow that advice (and learn a few knots as well), and pretty soon you’ll wonder what you were worried about. Sure it takes a few minutes to strap your boat down securely, but you’ll see it’s no big deal, especially once the procedure is familiar to you.
"Also the bow and stern straps from the foam block kit rubbed some of the paint off of my hood. I got it buffed out but do I still need to have straps securing the bow and stearn in front and back of my car?"
Whether you need front and rear tie-downs is a somewhat-hotly debated topic here. I’m in the camp that says, even if your rack holds the boat very securely, bow and stern lines are advisable to keep everything on the roof in case the rack attachments fail (actually, I prefer the rear lines to attach well forward of the stern so that they oppose the front tie-downs in tension, thus actually being capable of keeping the boat and rack from wandering very far should the need arise). Still, with short boats that are well secured (which you can NOT do with foam blocks), you are likely to be fine going without front and rear tie-downs. However, again you are going about this wrong. Straps will abrade the paint on your car, but soft rope will not. Learn some appropriate knots and use rope, and you won’t have any trouble. I’ve been frequently hauling boats on the same car for 22 years, and only in the last year or so has the slightest bit of wear become visible where my front ropes pass around the front edge of the hood (and you’d never see it if I didn’t tell you to look closely). This is the third car I’ve had which I owned a very long time and frequently used for hauling boats, and I’ve never once gone without front tie-downs, and the previous two had no paint-wear issues either (well, the one car eventually did, but only after spending more than 30 years parked outside so that the paint developed a scuff-prone layer of oxidation). Still, you can do what some folks do, which is to place a soft rag between the rope and the painted surface. Or, you can do as Kayamedic suggests, because that works great too (but you’ll still find that using rope between the boat and the loop is better).