Last piece of the puzzle. Finally got racks installed. Boat is longer than car!

So my COVID lockdown project has been to slowly assemble the gear I need to get back out on the water. Folks here provided a huge amount of help with my request for ideas on how to install the nuts and bolts deep in the boat. Thought I’d provide an update.

Back in the first decade of the 2000s I used to kayak quite a bit. I lived in Seattle at the time, and for me, it was always easier to rent than buy, in no small part because my daily driver at the time was a convertible, and my other car was actually a motorcycle. No loading up a boat for me.

Anyway, a few years go by, life gets busy in other ways, and my wife and I eventually move to Santa Barbara. The rental boats down here are not to my liking, so I haven’t paddled in ages. And apparently the sea/touring kayak market cratered sometime while I was ‘away’. A lot of brands I knew: gone. The local dealers I expected to find: non-existent. But there’s always Craigslist, so I kept an intermittent search. Pickings were slim, and I missed a great chance a couple years ago to pick up a Kevlar CD Gulfstream for practically no money. Had family in town and figured it was rude to leave them to go grab a boat. And when they left, the boat had already been sold.

But right at the start of this current mess, this Tempest 170 Pro showed up locally. Cosmetically, it was in terrible shape, but the structure was sound. So I got it home and have spent the last several weeks wetsanding and polishing, replacing all the deck rigging, and swapping out the sun damaged cockpit padding.

That left only a rack, certainly the most expensive part of this whole deal. And Thule had a 20% off sale last week, so here I am, with more boat than car. Shakedown paddle tomorrow. Can’t wait!


Wow, Hullavator! Nice. Many here will advise you to have bow and stern tie-downs for safety. Your Chevy has a front grill sort of like my Honda Fit. On the Fit, I snaked a spare piece of 1-inch webbing into one of those slots right below the license plate, and then tied the webbing to a steel part of the hood latch assembly behind the bumper. The webbing already had a loop sewn into one end, and that end sticks out below the license plate. When I don’t have a kayak secured, I just tuck the webbing loop into one of the grill slots. My front tie down is as far forward as possible - good for long boat/short car.
In back, my tie down secures to a trailer hitch so that part is easy.

I found a picture of my front tie down looking up from under the bumper. And I had forgotten that before I got my trailer hitch, I was able to snake a line around the metal rear bumper, under the plastic bumper cover. That’s the second photo looking up from under the bumper (the pink is light reflecting off my red shirt).

Front Tie Down

Rear Tie Down

Thanks. I eventually came to the conclusion that the Hullavators were a must. Before I moved I had a large collection of vintage, very very heavy type casting equipment. Gave myself a hernia moving all of it around by myself. Hopefully I’ve learned enough from that to look for mechanical advantage and assistance any time I can now.

Thanks for the thoughts about the tie down points. I can’t quite do what you did with your car as behind that front grille is an active set of shutters that manage battery cooling. Fortunately, in both front and back I have found stout metal points for the hooks. The Thule setup came with a nice set of ratcheting lines for front and rear that should do the job nicely.

One solution is buy an older car or newer boat. :sunglasses:

But really congrats the 170 Pro is a very nice boat.

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The mounts for the hooks are great too :slight_smile:

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Nice purchases, both the Tempest and Hullivator. Every real sea kayak deserves a car that knows the only reason you keep it is to make the kayak look impressive.

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Proof there’s more boat than car…

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And finally, out on the water!


Somewhere in my computer, I have a pic of a 19 ft Betsie Bay I used to own on top of my Honda Fit. Bow and stern tiedowns held the boat in place horizontally no matter what because the boat was a good 3-4 feet longer than the car, and both lines angled back toward the car, keeping it nice & snug.

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Yea, boat longer than car…

Normally I use bow/stern tie downs – front tow hook, rear trailer hitch – but was just moving boat from pond to house (1/2 mile)…

Guess I took the photo before I put the straps on too!

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Found the pic - hadn’t tied the boat down yet, but you get the idea

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Congrats, the boat looks very nice.

Of course, for boats longer than cars, it is all relative. I too have a boat longer than the car. The boat is only 14’6", but then the car is very short ;-).

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@Wayne_Smith you can afford to move your boat forward another foot or so so it is more balanced of over hang… i have a 16ft fuego kayak and had it on a vauxhall meriva…
I now have a grandland x…

@Wolf i have never used bow and stern tie downs and never an issue :wink::wink:

I would have if I could, but the balance point of the boat was such that the rear edge of the cockpit sitting on the rear bar of the rack was perfect. With bars that close together, balance counts for a lot. I learned that years ago carrying 2 18 footers on top of a 1995 Mustang.

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I agree that the balance seems to be a bigger issue than just overhang measurements. I can say that the Hullavators in particular do not like imbalance as the boat comes down very unevenly if the balance point is not centered.

You are not alone. My boats are longer than my auto also. As long as they are tied down well there is no problem on the highway. Getting better mileage anyway with a smaller vehicle.

Andy, has the ski retained its hull shape after transporting it hull-down under the cockpit fore and aft? I was told it is better to turn it upside-down if supporting under those closely-spaced points.

I have been transporting my ski hull-down also—but the crossbars on the trailer sit 77” apart. The front bar is under the front of the cockpit, but the rear is well back of the rear of the cockpit. That makes the balance point slightly forward of halfway between the crossbars. The ski seems to ride nicely there, without tight strapping onto simple minicell foam blocks. I run each 12’ strap fully around both places on the ski as well as securing it to the bars, and it stays put.

I have too much invested in my Yakima racks and since I transport different boats the ski has to live with it. That being said, hull down sitting on top of the saddles have a wider spread than the 1" straps. Hence any force on the hull is spread out over a larger surface area. I have no hull deformation. Nice having an engineering background.