Yakima bowDown saddle break

Has anyone had their saddles break at the connection on bottom? Mine did, kayak went flying on the interstate. new racks less than a year old. Kept on Toyota in garage. Only used on weekends. Big plastic bottom hook broke completely off.

Thanks for posting. The cause for

– Last Updated: Jul-31-11 11:33 PM EST –

the breakage needs to be determined. If you haven't done so already, I would report to Yakima. I'm sure they put the part in question through tests, but evidently there was some unforseen factor in your case.

One question I have is, did you have the boat snubbed down very hard with the end ropes? Also, were you carrying a bunch of gear inside the boat?

I still have some old Yakima cradles that served well for many years. They don't always make misteaks.

i am scared of this
I always look at my plastic saddles before I leave and wonder when they will break. For this reason I always attach the kayak to the car or rack independently from the saddle. That way if it breaks I might have time to stop. Call yakima I’m sure they will be excited.

Ryan L.

Me, too.

– Last Updated: Aug-01-11 10:12 AM EST –

I have Yakima Mako saddles, and in addition to the straps that came with the saddles that attach the boat to the saddles, I add a 2" NRS strap to attach the boat to the front crossbar.

Edit: Soongerirl, that wasn't you on I-5, was it?

Nix the Yakima straps
Like sissy said, use an NRS strap over the yak and around the crossbars so you’re not trusting the plastic of the saddle to keep your yak where it belongs. As for your breakage incident, I suspect manufacturing defect. My Yakima saddles have been on my truck for about 10 years now and it is always parked outside.

Tie the boat to the load bars!
As a former Thule dealer, the single most frequent (and important) piece of advice I gave my customers was to tie the boat to the load bars, not the carrier. Regardless of what the manufacturer says. Load bars are metal and are attached by metal to the vehicle. At the very least, it saves wear and tear on the carriers, at best, it will prevent a potentially expensive and lethal accident.

Sometimes this advice was before the fact, sometimes (unfortunately) after. And yes, I have heard of instances where load bars or their mountings failed, but they’re much less frequent.

If your straps aren’t long enough, get new ones or extenders.

And I continue to be amazed at how many people loop a single length of strap around the boat to secure it. At the risk of stating the obvious, the correct way to strap a boat is loop the strap under the bar on one side of the boat, run both sides up & over the boat, loop the non-buckle end under the load bar on the other side of the boat and then feed it through the buckle. I find it works best if you work from inside to outside, especially if you’re carrying more than one boat :wink:

Tie downs
I don’t think I was clear enough in my first post. Still I’ll about it all. Yes I did have it tied with 2 staps to the rack as well. Not on the bow but stern. That is why it drug behind my car not loose. Where it broke pulled the stapes that were on the racks loose as well as a

The 2 that were on the saddle and rack. This is all good advise. I’m now looking into a trailer. My broken parts are being shipped back with claim forms. I’m hoping to get my money back and some damages to my boat as it was tied according to the mfg instructions in the manual. The extra 2 were not in mfg book .

Nothing in or on top
I have 2 kayaks one in saddle dagger12," had dagger 9 on foam. Both tied to racks . Where thebhard plastic broke All broke loose, the wind, drag torques the rest loose. Safety stap through the front strap and tied backto the middle rack kept it behind, very scary stuff. I always double check them and have never had issues before even in mountains hih wind

Keep us informed
Please let everyone know how it turns out with Yakima.

Do you mean the clip that holds the tower to the car broke?

Dats why it’s always smart ta…

– Last Updated: Aug-02-11 8:39 AM EST –

use bow an' stern tiedowns on all boats ta de car an' not ta de racks.

Any rack no matter how secure yer reckon it be, kin fail!

(Ah's seen it happen more than a few times)


No bow lines?
But stern lines?

Claim denied.

Yakima bowdown breakage
Yes claim is in progress with Yakima. The blowdown plastic piece broke completly in two. I took it to get out-doors for inspection before sending to dealer. Clear manufacture break down. Also found out the bowdown’s I have are new only been mfg for 1 year, not the old type.

Can I be a nudge andask more?

– Last Updated: Aug-06-11 2:16 PM EST –

I am still a tad confused. And I'd like to have a good sense of exactly what was attached to what for the sake of our own precautions. We don't use saddles, stackers instead, but obviously other parts of this arrangement gave way as well.

Do I have it right that you had stern tie downs, but no bow lines? I don't understand why anyone would have their backup where you don't see it driving, but I've seen this setup going down the road.

Were there lines run from the stern of the boat to somewhere fixed on the car, under the bumper or the rear trunk?

Did you just have the straps that often come as a part of the saddle, that go thru it and over the boat, or did you have straps or ropes that ran over the boat and around the cross bars OR the car's front to back rails?

Were the saddles on the the car's original crossbars, or on third party cross bars mounted to towers sitting in the channel for or directly on the car's front to back rails?

It doesn't seem like this could have happened as dramatically if there was a set of straps holding the boat directly to the cross bars and the cross bars were solid. Towers can go, but you usually get obvious signals that it is time to replace one when it won't tighten down well or seems to have moved after a drive. But most original factory crossbars are weak and could break if enough torque, much sooner than the third party crossbars would.

I’ve been puzzling over this, too.
I watched the video on the Yakima site, and the way the strap is attached to the top of the bow-down and around the cross bar only on one side–yes, if the bow-down broke, the boat would go flying, with no line attached from the bow to the front of the car.


Same thing with the Mako saddles and the straps that attach to each saddle and then across the boat without going around the cross bars. If that saddle comes loose, there goes your boat.

When I have my boat tied down with a strap around the bar, across the boat, and around the bar, even if the saddle weren’t screwed on the pressure from the boat would hold it in place, so I don’t understand how the OP’s boat came off if she had it strapped to the cross bar.

I guess I’m still confused about exactly what broke. I’d like to know, though, as I was thinking about getting the Yakima Bow-Down system.

I have mako saddles. Yes the boat only attaches to the saddles. That’s why I use a bow line and another strap around the actually rack. I don’t usually use a stern line because it wouldn’t really do much because my rack has a six foot spread.

If you use the mako saddle and hully roller combo then the stern of the boat would be secured around the rack. Add a bow line and you’ll be good.

I’m confused by this claim as well. The physics of it don’t make sense.

Ryan L.

I was confused so I called yakima
I have hullraiser J racks and when I saw the pic in the catalog/website it show the strap going over the boat and attaching to the bar on both sides of the boat. However the downloaded and printed instructions say to attach the strap to the Hullraiser (at the top) and then around the tower or bar. Because of this discrepency I called yakima and the tech said to follow th printed instructions (strap to top of hullraiser and bar), not the photo. If you see their website for hullraiser the pics will make more sense.

As I said…
…don’t listen to the manufacturer. They. are. wrong. Run the straps round the loadbar on both sides of the boat. Run the straps through the top of the cradle if you want, but they’re not called LOADbars for nothing.

tie down
I have Mako saddles, and I strap the boat to the saddles with the supplied straps. I also use a bow tie down to the front tow hook on my 4X4 truck, and a stern tie down to the tie point in the rear of the box. Setting the front saddles slightly inboard of the rear aligns the bow with the front tow hook, and the stern with its tie point.The rack holds the boat up, and the bow and stern lines hold it down. The straps of the rack just prevent side to side movement.

No way would I trust a plastic saddle to keep the boat on the truck in wind at 60 mph. After reading this thread, I am going to get another set of straps, and also tie the boat directly to the cross bars.

So the tech said to use only one point of attachment to the load bars? That sounds imprudent. So maybe you have to unstrap or restrap as an extra step if you do what trilliumlake says - at least you still have the boat.