Royalex, Tie-Downs, and Warping

While at the Ozark Roundezvous, I saw that PJC’s borrowed Mad River Guide had huge indentations in the hull where a previous user had strapped it down on a vehicle. By “huge” I’m talking somewhere in the neighborhood of two inches, serious enough that it was the first thing I noticed about the boat. Has anyone else seen this happen? Is it common, or just the result of severe misuse of tie-downs?

With my own Royalex boats, I noticed straight away that when the sun beats down, the hull gets pretty soft (I bet a lighter color wouldn’t get so hot), so I’ve always avoided using much downward pressure on the straps. Actually, if you use any decent method for limiting side-to-side motion of the boat, there’s no need for high tension in the tie-downs at all (because if the boat lifts even the slightest bit, the straps will be as tight as they need to be to keep it from going any farther).

I’m curious how careful one needs to be about this, but since I’ve only seen one other Royalex boat that was warped this way, I have a suspicion that the answer is “don’t worry too much”. I’d still like to hear about whatever you folks may know.

two inches!?
Wow who cranked those tie downs, Superman?

I use 2x4 racks with no cradles or stops, and cam straps. I make sure that the straps are snug on the sides of the boat(s) and I pull them tight. (I weigh 190 lbs). I generaly use bow and stern lines for backup only.

My boats don’t wander and I’ve never seen a roylex boat deformed by the straps.

Oh yeah I’m in New England so 95+ airtemps are a rarity. Could be different where it gets warmer.

Can’t imagine straps that tight
both of my Royalex boats have surface marks on them from the abrasion of the straps but no physical distortion. I use cam straps or poly rope tie downs. I like tham tight but can’t begin to deform the hull. I suspect there has to be more to the story or desert quality heat involved.

I could see it.
I was transporting a royalex vagabond, used 3/8" rope and left permanent marks. I could see the same happening with a big canoe on a hot day. Clips limiting side/side motion is definately a good way to ensure the straps aren’t overtightened.

Lost Half Brother/Sister?
Sounds like whoever snugged up those straps might have some of my dad’s genes in 'em. :slight_smile:

I use cam straps on a dark green Bell Northwind Royalex Boat all the time in south central Texas. We do heat right down here. I have the Yakima gunnel brackets on my bars but still snug things up darn near “dad tight”.

I’ll keep a closer watch on it though.

Straps vs ropes
Maybe not quite on topic but here goes:

One reason I like straps is that they put much less stress on the boat hull than ropes. Generally each 1" strap is looped over the boat twice, making for 2" of load bearing width. The people I know who use ropes tie 1 end to the bar and loop the rope over the hull once and tie it to the bar on the other side. With a 3/8" rope, this makes for only a total of 3/8" of bearing width on the hull. Guess which one is easier on the hull?

The only advantages of ropes IMO is that they’re a bit cheaper and slightly faster to tie. Personally, I’d rather have a safer boat.

As an aside, if you use something such as Yakima load stops or gunnel brackets, you don’t have to cinch things down as tight…

I guess I’m from the old school. I prefer ropes to webbing that stretches and buckles that can break or malfunction. But, that’s me. If you use ropes, one way to avoid deformities might be to use a section of a pool float tube. Run the rope through the hole in the tube. It should help and, to address the problem, if it is one, of ropes being too narrow, it’ll widen the area covered by the tie down. The gunnel bracket on the Yakima racks reall work well to stop side to side movement. I’ve had mine since the early "80’s and love them.

ratchet straps for me
but I take care not too over tighten em.