Transporting a Libra XT

I recently bought a 2007 Ford Escape and am trying to figure out the best way to carry a Current Designs Libra- which is almost 22 ft long. I’m curious how much strain will be put on the boat with stern and bow tie downs; as well as what effect the downward angle of the roof will have. The Yakima racks I was looking at might only support a third of the length of the boat.

I used to carry it on a custom rack on a light truck, which worked great, but the truck was totalled. Any advice?

Racks and Tiedowns
If the rack spread equals a third of the boat’s length, you should be fine. Ideally, you’d want each rack underneath a bulkhead, but the ideal isn’t always possible.

As for the bow and stern tiedowns, these should not put any strain on the ends – used properly, they are there to prevent strain. The rope tension on the tiedowns should be slightly taut, but not firm. The idea is that it is just taut enough to prevent hobbyhorsing when going over bumps or traveling at highway speeds. They should not be so tight that they are playing a role in clamping the boat down – that’s what the straps and the rack are for.

it’ll be obvious

– Last Updated: Feb-22-12 10:12 AM EST –

if your hull dents in then there isn't enough area for support. The ends of the kayak are strong enough to spear another car, it's where the hull rests that takes the load. After you attempt various hull down or j-rack orientations you might consider more customization like adding padded longitudinal supports between the bars. More bars or pieces of 2x4 parallel to the keel and positioned just right. It's also possible that an upside down orientation might work with appropriate padded forms.
Something to be aware of is the center bulkheads. The hull can take a lot of flexing without damage but the glassed in bulkhead joint may not. I repaired one where the secondary bond simply gave way at the edges of the curved black plastic bulkhead leaving a flexible gap for water to flow forward.
I was cleaning out the kayak with a spray nozzle and saw water fly right past the joint.

Wider spread
If the Yakima solution is giving you a 7’ spread between bars that’s quite good. For an additional or optional support point perhaps a hitch mounted support like the Thule Goal Post or Yakima Drydock would give you another @2’ of spread and/or another point of support.

Just ideas.

Trailex Trailer?

See you on the water,


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Hyde Park, NY