Whew . . . .

So, met my bud yakjak at our favorite river take out yesterday, loaded his Argosy on my Thule rack next to my boat to head up to the put in, tie it up and, oh, wth, throw some bow & stern lines on his Argosy. We’re not going far, but it’s easy enough, why not? Get about 2 miles up the road and the bow of his Argosy, on the rack on driver’s side, shoots far enough right that I can see the left gunnel from my side window, and it’s not on the rack anymore. Over to the side we go, get out to see what happened and find that the strap that one of us (“one” of us, which I think might have been me) mistakenly looped around the outside of the Thule foot had a bad angle and popped off the end cap releasing the strap to the wind. Wowser! We could have reinvented flight with a new aircraft, made of Royalex and run by a new airline called Wenonah! That is, but for the bow line which held nicely, thank you very much.

Anyway, thought I’d throw out the reminder to those that are perfect and know they’ll never need any bow & stern lines. It happens folks. To the best of us (not that I resemble that in any way).


Glad nobody got hurt
I think everybody who has these incidents should post them, because (a) it reminds us to be careful about how we tie our boats, and (b) maybe somebody will come up with better rack, cradle, and tiedown designs and methods.

Also make sure anything hard that might come loose is tightened before you transport.

When I was rooftopping a Prijon Twister on a road trip, one of the bolts fixing the thigh straps vibrated loose and went flying in the gusty winds. I only knew it because I heard the sound of the bolt whacking the fiberglass topper (it chipped the finish). I quickly pulled over to find out what had hit. The boat was fine though one strap was now dangling by one end. I was incredibly relieved nobody was behind or to the side of me. That bolt could have cracked their windshield, at the least.

I try to avoid visiting and yakking
while tying on boats.

Once I got so engrossed with conversation I forgot to tie on the boat at all…

I found out soon enough the error of my ways.

No multitasking?
That’s…that’s unAMERICAN!

I don’t like people who never shut up while driving (either them or me). Aside from the possibility of being too distracted to avert a disaster, it’s downright irritating in itself.

Getting sidetracked while performing some tasks is dangerous; securing kayaks on a vehicle or trailer is one of those tasks. Too bad it seems to be such a natural time to blab.

Rob Bean, pls thank your parents
What a small world it is! After the bolt flew off I pulled up to an auto parts store in a very small eastern CO plains town. The extremely nice owners re-opened the store for me. They had just closed shop around noon, didn’t have an identical proprietary Prijon bolt (no surprise), but they provided something that did the same job. Refused to take any payment for it.

We all went to lunch at the town restaurant, and it turned out they knew more than a little about paddling from having a son, Rob Bean, who raced kayaks and now races canoes.

So this is a belated public thank you to Rob Bean’s parents, for their much-appreciated kindness.

I occasionally take people out paddling and always refuse the offer of help in securing the boats. I lost a cockpit cover recently on a highway. I found a piece of the clip that secured the cover to a bungie line, in the cockpit afterward. Plan on running an exra strap for the cover in the future.

same here
A friend of mine goes paddling with me on occasion, but I always tie the boats myself. Both are mine, if either one flies off I would just rather it was my fault not his.

Of course if one ever does fly off, I might think differently about that;)

Bow and stern.
My rack can hold whatever I put up there: Well so I was told.

I have had racks come loose from the car at least twice with no incident; I have had a rack collapse onto the roof of the car when I had to brake (carrying 3 kayaks (but it was a cheap rack) I had a rack collapse onto the top of my car when I got rear ended once, I had a strap holding the paddles (carbon) on my roof let go releasing the paddles at speed. I had a boat come loose when a strap failed on the way out the highway once.

On one occasion my wife drove home with a capella on the roof and after 5 or so KM turned sharply into the driveway sending the capella onto the lawn.

No boats were ever damaged in any of these incidents and the cars have a life expectancy that is well exceeded by my boats.

I normally put bow and stern lines on the boats (loosely) to protect other motorists and separate mishaps and accidents from disasters.

The roof rack and one side of my car parted company last week when I was carrying a ladder.

Stuff happens. (The boat had bow and stern lines secured so there was never any real risk. (scratches)

A friend had a pair of canoes leave his SUV because of an anomoly with the manufacturers work. It happens. He did not have them tied down so no scratches to the SUV. Luckily there were no other cars around and damage to the boats was minor.

I like bow lines because
They remind me that there is a boat up there and I should avoid the low parking garages and other things that rip up your car roof.

Strap advise
I once lost the front strap at interstate speeds and drug a boat off the back but no real damage. Even with w/w boats and no bow lines I allways run the straps through the security strap or one of the grab bars on each end.

Had a cam buckle break
It broke when I was tightening the strap and the buckle was pressed against a protrusion. They are made of cheap metal and could probably crack/break without warning.

Always have at least 3 points of attachment on your boat when driving in case one fails.

It can happen

– Last Updated: Oct-13-09 3:04 PM EST –

It happened to my dad and I once after a fishing trip. We put the Jon boat on top of the van, tied the bow line and forgot the main tie-downs. We drove a few miles before seeing the side of the boat in the side mirror, hanging out over the edge of the car where it shouldn't have been. Must have been a break in the normal routine that made someone forget to install the tie-downs, but without that bow line, we'd have lost the boat for sure.

I agree with Frank too, that without the front tie-downs, I'd probably run the risk of forgetting that the boat is up there and drive into my garage or some other place with too little clearance.

I once took out a Dunkin Donuts drive through bar with my tule J rack. I guess 9’ is not enough height.

Nice little dent on my roof.

Going inside I have found is quicker.

Easy to add a strap to the cockpit cover
I envied the built-in strap that my husband’s Seals cover came with, so I added one to my Snapdragon one. Bought a Delrin QR snap-buckle, a few feet of narrow nylon webbing, and some adhesive nylon tent-repair patches. A friend with an industrial sewing machine sewed a short piece of webbing in the middle outer face of the cover, running parallel with the long dimension of the cover. I applied the tent-repair patch to the inner (coated) side to seal the seams. Ran the webbing through that short piece and added the fastener ends, and VOILA, done.

Just make sure to tighten the webbing if in a rainstorm, because the webbing stretches. Maybe polyester webbing would be better for that.

canoe trailer
I have a canoe trailer that holds eight canoes. When I was young and dumb we too it out and was going down a country road I looked back and the trailer was not there! It was barreling down the road behind us! It was a scary experience but we make it out with just a slightly bent tongue. I also had one come off my truck during high winds.

but we got stuck in Boston Common Parking garage trying to get out…we got in OK.

Quite embarrassing having to unload…and the line behind us thought honking would help speed it up.

Was it user error?
I know two people who had trailers depart from the tow vehicles, but both were due to user error. Wonder how many separations are from actual mechanical failures?

My mantra when hitching up is “PLEC”:

Place (coupler on ball–make sure it’s fully seated!!!)

Lock (coupler to ball)

Electrical (connect)

Chain (put chains into loops)

I once forgot to chain up–no prob, because the noise alerted me immediately.

I once forgot to connect the electrical wiring–didn’t get in trouble but this could be dangerous (trailer brake lights don’t function).

Forgetting either of the first two is very, very bad but so far I haven’t done so.