Rack bar spread less than cockpit length

I’d like to put racks on my 2000 Toyota Solara. Yakama recommends Q towers plus Q stretch kit. The max distance between bars on my vehicle with this setup is 30”. The cockpit length on my big guy Tempest 180 is 36”. I know I’m not supposed to strap across the combing.

Is it ok to strap at an angle from the bar to just outside the combing? Other suggestions?

Is a 30” bar spread ok for carrying an 18’ boat? I could add saddles if I had to.

I’m checking with Thule also for max spread between bars on my vehicle. I suspect their answer will be similar to Yakima though.


Paul S.

Get kayaks with shorter cockpits!
My A3 only allows 27" spacing (no more - no less - specific rack placement - German engineers). Really solid rack and saddles helps. I was concerned as last car was 36" - but I’m beginning to think this is at least as stable if not more.

I’ve carried kayaks from 16.5’ to 21’ surf ski. The WS Sparrow Hawk, VCP Pintail, and my almost 20’ SOF all have ocean cocpits which helps. The ski has no coaming. My QCC has a 30" and the slight angle to run the strap either side of it is fine.

Several have been hauled 80-90 mph, and some 100 mph lumber too (embryonic qajaq and GPs) on runs up from Miami. Like I said - solid rack.

36" coaming gets into something else, but depends on you setup. Probably OK.

It shrunk.
Web site says 36". I measured mine though, 34" inside dimension, about 34.5" outside dimension. That’s the best I can do on short notice.

Paul S.

Bar spread
I have a VW which also has specific places for the towers to mount. I’ve never measured the spread but it’s about 2" shorter than my NDK’s cockpit. The rear edge of the coming lines up with the rear saddles and the front is about 2" in front of it, but I’ve driven a few thousand miles that way and never had a problem. However, 6" is a much bigger difference!

Regardless of how you do it, 30" or so is a very short bar spread. The front bar will be a long ways back and there’s plenty of lift on the front of a long kayak especially when the bar is at or behind the front of the coming. I wouldn’t go anywhere without good, solid bow and stern tie downs. It’s less of a problem (think of leverage) with shorter boats and longer bar spreads, but I’d probably still do it there too. The bow and stern tiedowns keep the rack attached to the car…

L It’s a start! NM

I had same problem with 2002 taurus and drilled up thru door frame and used stainless steel screws barely big enough to fit. Ask machinst to test driill barrel of bit. Took tremendous force to install 2 screws under each door frame. No leaks and lots of span for 21 ft t-bolt or glider at 75mph on interstate. And no one tailgates but will hurt resalae. Boats cannot blow off or someone could die.