Now and stern tie downs

Hello to all. Brand new to this site and learning to use, so I might have missed a previous discussion about this…

My family had bow and stern lines that we used for our canoe for years that was very easy to use. They were homemade I believe, but in essence each was a single line with 3 S hooks (1 tied to each end, and the 3rd floated in the middle) and 2 metal bars that each had a hole drilled in the top and bottom. These 2 metal bars sat on top of each other and the line passed through both bars in the bottom holes and out the top holes.

The idea was to hook the 2 end S hooks at each corner under the front of the car, hook the middle S hook to the bow of the canoe on the roof, and then slide the two metal bars up the rope to tighten. The two bars locked into the rope via friction.

I was hoping someone recognized above and could help my memory on how to build, or buy, these once again.

Huge thanks

Are you sure you want to trust your boat and possibly other road users to a friction device. Proper rope hitches and knots are not hard to learn and although I would never use them, there are plenty of really good straps with locking devices.

Asides from the safety issues
A bar in your line of vision is going to cause one mean headache. Locking cam straps would be easier and a well tied rope scores Man Points.

No thanks
I’m not sure I “get” how your tie-downs work, but I’m concerned about those “s” hooks. If there’s any slack in the system, seems like they could just fall out from wherever you have them hooked. Once a bow line is on the loose, it often find its way under a wheel, and the result is usually disastrous for the boat.

I’m with Magooch in preferring rope and a few good knots. Once you know your knots, its quick and easy to solidly tie down your boat. Why mess around with gimmicky solutions? Maybe there is a reason we don’t see the two-bar and s-hooks system in common use (but it does sound ingenious).


Yes…it’s for farm use. Canoe rode on top of the car almost daily for years on very rough terrain using this system. It works perfectly…

Bar does not obstruct vision…they’re 2 inches long and wafer thin.

I’ll keep looking to see if someone is familiar. Just looking for someone who might remember such lines… Many in my area used them back in late 70’s and early 80’s.

No thanks …

– Last Updated: Sep-07-16 4:01 PM EST –

What OP is trying to describe sounds like way too much hassle to me. I surely would NOT use such a system.

Especially wouldn't use that system if I were cruising down the interstate/cross country at 70 mph, and catching some cross wind.

Two NRS straps on each canoe, quality rope for bow/stern tiedowns.

But to each his own.........good luck.


A modern touch…

– Last Updated: Sep-07-16 9:18 PM EST –

something like this, tied off securely of course.
If you want to pursue what you describe, take a couple bars of metal and drill the holes. I'm a bit concerned about it cutting into the fabric of the rope when faced with vibration.
Edit: Before y'all shoot me for the link, it's what I would use for a bow and stern line, secured with knots, boat held to roof racks with straps.

If you want a front tie down
Assuming you want them for transportation most canoes have either a molded handle in the bow or a some sort of bar. Get a pair of these (See link below)and close your car’s hood on them. Then run a cam strap through the handle wrapped around twice (or whatever the canoe has in the front) and you have a solid front tie down.

It’d be a lot faster…
to just use ropes with knots than try to assemble something no one can recognize. Unless you want to take a while figuring out how to transport the canoe.

The device sounds like.
Some small sailboats use a simple device consisting of a piece of wood maybe 3" by 1" by a quarter inch thick with a hole drilled near each end that allows maybe a quarter inch line to pass through the holes as a boom vang hold down. It is extremely simple and effective, but I wouldn’t trust it to keep a boat on my vehicle.

Google “Tent line tensioner” lots of things show up that sound like what you are looking for. I am with these guys though, I wouldn’t use anything like this with a boat on a car.

A rather quik and simple system
I wouldn’t use it as a truckers hitch and rope are as simple and much more reliable. However it does have the advantage of hooking to a steel bumper and not trying to find some way to attach bow and stern lines under the car or hood or trunk. The plastic bumpers on new cars wouldn’t be suitable for this system.

Here is how you would make what you are asking about.

Your metal bar will have 2 holes one near each end of the short bar. You tie a knot in one end of the rope and run the rope through the hole in one end of your tensioning bar. You then slide the closed end of the s hook onto the rope all the way to the bar. Now you feed the rope through the other hole in the bar. You now slide the other s hook on the rope. You then feed the rope through one of the holes in your other tensioning bar. now you slide the last s hook onto the rope then feed the rope through the remaining hole in the second tensioning bar and knot the end of the rope so it won’t pull through the hole.

There are better more secure ways of doing what you want, and I wouldn’t advise using your system even if it worked for you in the past.

How my system of stern and bow lines work. I take a long enough rope so I can double it I take the bend in the middle of the doubled rope and wrap it around the lift handle or loop at the end of the canoe and pass the two free ends of the rope through the loop formed by the bend in the doubled rope. No need for your middle s hook and much more secure. I now use the free ends of the rope to tie off using a truckers knot at each rope end. This knot allows you to tension the rope tightly. Google truckers hitch if you don’t know how to tie this knot.

For tie down attachment points I use a web loop bolted under each side of my hood and extending up between the side panel and the side of the hood. I do the same thing at the trunk. These are folded under the hood and trunk when not in use putting them out of the way and out of sight.