Roof Rack

I thought about adding this to the trailer/roof rack post, but it probably would be lost in the fray. Anyway, I happened to see a car with a rack that might, or might not have been used for transporting kayaks, or canoes that was unique from any other that I have seen. I’m a trailer guy myself, so I have not paid that much attention to roof racks. The one in question consisted of two crossbars attached to the car roof and then a long square aluminum beam with a couple of saddles on it attached to the crossbars. It caught my attention because it seemed to me that it answered the issue of saddle spread where most auto roofs are relatively short compared to boat length. The beam allowed the saddles to be placed anywhere and would even allow for more than two saddles for optimum support. With that ability to spread the saddles and have more than just two, it also seemed to me that it would lessen the advantage of placing the boat on edge–as in J-hooks. Just for curiosity, has anyone seen, or know of such a rack.

those are common for race boats
In seattle I see lots of those used for racing boats and rowing shells on shorter vehicles. Several of my surfski buddies use that system. Some are store bought others are home made from aluminum square tube and some bolts.

Google: rowing shell roof rack

Made one for my single scull back in '65
to move it from Boston to Philly. The car in question was a rented Chevy station wagon, so the spacing on the supporting crossbars was generous.

But on our Accord sedans, Yakima crossbar spacing is under 40 inches, and a longitudinal beam with wide spaced saddles might need addition support so as not to waggle. The cheapest solution might be carefully adjusted end ropes, two at each end for triangulation, tied to the ends of the longitudinal beam, not the boat. The rope should be polyester so it doesn’t relax when wet.

Most kayaks and canoes can tolerate close spaced support, as long as the saddles or cradles hit where there is support underneath, like kayak bulkheads.

The EZ-Vee from Kayak Pro

– Last Updated: Jan-02-13 1:44 PM EST –

Concept has been out there for a while

Kayak Pro

Yeah - for sculls
Hence the weight bearing capacity of the longer bar may be a question mark for kayaks. But they sure do look nice.

I wondered if it might be for something
Yeah, I thought maybe the rack looked like it would fit something like a rowing hull–more so than a kayak with the type of saddles it had. With the right kind of saddles though, it would be good for extra long kayaks on short roofs. A telescoping beam would make it even more adaptable.

Check out goodboykayaks dot com

I Second Cliff’s V Bars
Have two of them on my vehicle, and my skis are rock solid-little, if any flex. The KayakPro V bars have quite a bit of ‘give’ due to their smaller cross section and difference in material. I easily transport my wife’s Epic Endurance as well. 30 seconds and you’re loaded up and on the road. I will never go back to saddles and straps again. Plus, you can find your vehicle easily in parking lots. (And they make a hell of a Christmas tree hauling device to boot!) :wink:

The Kayakpro EZ-Vee works extremely well for kayaks. The bar doesn’t telescope, but the saddles can be moved, so same difference. The saddles fit the profile of my kayaks well, a couple of tourers, an SOF and a Struer. I do add pipe insulating foam to the saddles.

Per the comment below, kayak weight is not an issue - they are very strong, the EZ-Vee has an x-shaped extrusion inside the tube and welded construction, nicely done. The Goodboy racks are pretty good too - less expensive, bolted, not as finished-looking and hold the boat several inches higher.

In action (7 years and going strong, no problems):

These racks are easy and fast to use, very secure and the boats never move. FYI I am a mechanical engineer and fussy about hardware and such.

I’ve used my EZ-Vees to carry quite a lot of lumber and ripped plywood on my Mini, as well as a rolled up carpet, it works really well.

I didn’t find the EZ-Vees to flex that much more than the Good Boy version, but then my boats are all pretty short. I could see that it would be different on longer boats. The Good Boy uses 2 inch square by 1/8 thick aluminum tube - the EZ-Vee has 1-1/2 inch square by 1/8 thick tube with an X-shaped internal reinforcement.

Not many bulkheads < 40" apart.
My load bars are only 40" apart.

I didn’t like the Malone Sea Wings for
any hull that didn’t have a deep V hull - the support was in the weakest part of the hull between the keel and the hull/deck seam, but my saddles were only about 38" apart.

Might do better at 8’ apart.

I tend to forget that my plastic decked
boats have interior longitudinal walls. My Necky didn’t have one, but I custom cut one that I shove in for travel purposes, to prevent hull denting on the racks.

I’m thinking of adding a trailer hitch with one of the vertical bike carriers, fitted with a crossbar. I’d like to carry my tandem canoe shifted well back on the roof, so that the inverted bow doesn’t channel so much air rushing up the windshield, and so that the rest of the canoe is back in the already-disturbed air.

Question on EZ-Vees
Do you find that you really don’t need front and rear tiedowns? I also wonder about using bungie cords to tie the boat down. From the other threads about tieing boats down to the roof of a car it seems that that is two things that you don’t want to do.

Tie downs

– Last Updated: Jan-03-13 4:11 PM EST –

As you can see in this picture (also linked above), I tie the nose of one boat to the tow ring on the front bumper.

The carriers and cross bars make a very rigid unit - the front tie-down keeps the nose from bouncing up and down. Only one tie is needed as there is no side to side wiggling at all.

I use bungees as a quick tie-down, but also NRS cam straps at each end of the boats, as you can see in the picture. The bungees are nice in that they secure the boat quickly on windy days, and if you're just driving away from a ramp or some other short distance, they suffice. They're furnished with the rack, but there's no rule that says you can't supplement them with straps.

A surprising number of people get hung up on this aspect --- sure, the makers of Kayakpro and Goodboy depend on the bungees alone, which are quite beefy, but I think many like me add straps. It's certainly no reason to doubt the usefulness of the rack itself.

I’ve seen this setup…

– Last Updated: Jan-03-13 5:52 PM EST –

It looks pretty good in person.

I’ve Seen Them
But wonder if saddles or cradles are available for supporting the boat upside down?

That looks nice.
The boat is beautiful, too.

Just An Observation Today
Of how 21 ft plus solo outriggers were transported prior and after a windy (30+ kt.) open ocean race: Most were car/pickup topped upside down on padded Xbars with at least three (3) canoes resting side by side. Some were pointed forward and some were pointing backwards on the vehicle. None were tied down at the front and no saddles were used. Using saddles was the popular way to transport, but in high wind, upside down works best.