Mako Saddles, Bow/Stern Ties

Just got my Kayak today from QCC, I’ll comment on it when I have a chance to admire and paddle it. Went to pick it up at 6 A.M. this morning - and I’m feeling it now. I was loading it up on my mako saddles and found that even after tightening it to what I considered was slightly over-tight. It would still move and shift on the saddles just-a-bit. I could lift it fairly easily as the saddles have some flex in them. Can anyone relate to me their experience with mako saddles? How’d you get them to work best for you?

It seems I found some of the rigidity I was looking for when I added an extra strap from the bars across the deck.

Also, bow and stern ties, uh… how tight should they in fact be? Should they freely flap in the breeze or what? – that makes me sort of uncomfortable.

I will say that the hatches should come with a warning stating “Do not put head into hatches and take a deep breath until allowed to air out for 600 hours” - I thought I’d die. And it was lighter than I expected. No problem topping it with the strength of my burning youth.

I’ve been using the Makos
for a 2-3 years on a couple of different vehicles. Although when I drive down my road (rural dirt) it moves ever so slighly it is still very secure. I have a Necky ZS and the saddles are quick and I have no worries even at 70mph (112 cdn)

I cinch our two QCC’s down
as tight as I can get them on my older Yakama saddles, and they basically become part of the vehicle.

I use the double looped camlock buckle method.

I have been doing it for two years with them and for the same with our two plastic 17 foot yaks for the past twelve years.

I also do the same for our various canoes.



Some give is probably OK
Makos are flexy. I have a friend who doesn’t trust the strap attachment system of the Makos, so he adds an additional strap at each bar which snugs the boat more tightly.

Bow and stern line tightening is more of an art than a science. I use ratchet ropes, and I “snug” them without putting much tension on teh hull. These ropes are your insurance policy, while the belly straps do 99% of the actual securing.

What model did you get?


QCC500x yel/white

Makos flex a bit
My surfskis move around noticeably when I go over a bump or get hit by a gust, but I’ve never seen any sign of the boats trying to come out of the saddles.

My kayak is
a Q700X, Sage Green Deck, White hull, black stripe.

I hit 80mph on the freeway - so many people speed on I-215 that I didn’t pass anyone, they were passing me. I didn’t even notice a difference in drivability. I think that extra strap helped quite a bit. I just don’t want a pretty but overly “bumpy” hull.

Is hull deformation less of an issue with Kevlar boats? Most of the kayak storage etc… info seems to relate more often to plastic boats.

Hull flex
Kevlar is flexier than standard E-glass laminates, but much stiffer than poly boats. Should not be a problem unless you really crank down the straps. I have been in 25-30 knot winds on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel in my Subaru Outback (which has stiff springs & soft shocks, making for a jiggly ride). A true white-knuckle experience! But properly secured kayaks are very aerodynamic, especially compared to canoes.