View Full Version : Roof mounting a 100 lb. boat
06-05-2006, 11:30 PM
This may not be the appropreate place to post this question, but I have just completed a nicely finished wood boat, and I want to transport it. A trailer won't do because I want to tow my travel trailer. I either leave it home, or get it on the roof of the SUV. There are roof rack from Thule and Yakama that are made for canoes, but I don't think that I can get it up there without scratching the ash and mahogony gunwale. Any ideas?
06-05-2006, 11:38 PM
What sort of boat is it? A picture would be helpful if you could post one. I don't know how wide your gunwales are, but perhaps you could get a couple of bicycle tubes (or tires), split them, and fold them over the gunwales as protection. Either that or find a similar way to 'rubberize' the roof rack so that it won't scratch the boat. Regardless you're going to need a strong friend, I would think.
06-05-2006, 11:56 PM
It is a 14 ft wherry. The beam is 48". There are pictures of it here at Imagestation:
06-06-2006, 12:05 AM
I've got at least three different sets of Yakima racks that I've used far and wide to transport all manner of boats. It's very easy to pad the racks for very little expense using polyethylene foam pipe insulation from your local home center. I agree with Garth, though. At 100 lbs you will need a strong friend to load and unload. I draw the line at about 80 lbs for car-topping, and at about 60 lbs for solo cartopping. I've pressed a 90 pounder to the roof a time or two by myself, but the last time I did it, it got away from me. The boat bounced off the side of the car on the way down luckily with only minor damage to either.
06-06-2006, 12:30 AM
These work well.
If the boat is lashed tightly enough to compress the blocks, they stay put nicely.
06-06-2006, 12:32 AM
check out the close-up view
06-06-2006, 01:18 AM
What sort and size travel trailer? Any chance you could rack or mount the boat on that trailer?
You have a lovely boat with a lot of work in her -- don't risk all that by trying to cartop her by yourself! My boat was dropped by the first owner, and the damage was extensive -- you don't wanna go there.
Somewhere they make truck roofracks designed for aluminum or plastic skiffs -- these usually have a small hand-winch, and a sliding frame that tilts back to allow the boat to be strapped into position. You then winch the boat and frame up forward on the rack and horizontal to the roof. With good padding that design should work and allow single-handed loading/unloading of the wherry.
Here is one design -
06-06-2006, 02:11 AM
When I finished my Whitehall, I used the Yakima rack on my Toyota Van, wrapped with the pipe insullation, four people to lift it on and off the top (it's probably 300 lbs). While I was driving to the water, the other guys where watching from another car and were worried at the way it bounced as I drove (v e r y s l o w l y). I won't be doing THAT again.
06-06-2006, 07:26 AM
I have cartopped 8-16' boats a total of thousands of miles on homemade roof racks. For boats in the 14-16' range and 100+ pounds, I developed a technique for single-handed loading and unloading that involves temporarilu mounting small wheels atop the transom, turning the boat over, getting under the bow, rolling the boat until the bow rests on the after bar of the carrier, picking up the stern, and sliding it forward on the carrier.
06-06-2006, 07:49 AM
Pick up a set of strong racks (my Thule racks carry 70 kg, about 150 lb)
Fit a bar between the centers of both roof racks so you have a H shaped arrangement.
Fit another bar above the front rack, with a bolt at one end through the rack so it can pivot around to rest on the outer edge of the rear rack.
Tilt the boat up from the side of the car, lash it to the pivoting bar, lift the back and spin it around into place on the top of the car.
The pivoting bar rides on the center bar as it lines up on the front rack.
Lash the boat down and off you go. Unload by reversing the procedure.
Sorry I have no pictures, I used it twenty five years ago when I raced 12' skiffs. Works really well, an easy one man procedure.
Maine roll-on works slick for my getting my larger wood canvas canoes on the high vehicle.
06-06-2006, 10:14 AM
That sounds like a good idea, but I can't quite understand how it works with the pivot. Are there any drawing of this?
06-06-2006, 10:20 AM
I have always used homemade racks with 2x4's for the cross pieces, now that I usually carry a W/C, carpet covers the whole length the the 2x.
The 2x's are slightly angled to better support the canoes, getting close to 3 inches of contact length.
The next version will have a thin (1/4 or 3/8) layer of dense foam covered with something; nygahide(sp), canvas, something.
Don't use the round racks, Yakama, yes, you can use the gunwale brackets and cover them with foam, BUT, sometime, someday, somebody will set/drop the boat down hard on them and make very nice, perfectly round, depression/s in your otherwise perfect gunwales. :(
06-06-2006, 01:25 PM
Check the owners manual on the SUV and the data from the roofrack manufacturer to get the capcity of the roofrack ON YOUR VEHICLE. I don't think 100 lbs. will be a problem but you should check. Even with a rack that may be rated to handle 150 pounds on the right vehicle, the capacity on your vehicle may be considerably less. IIRC the big makers like Thule publish the capactity of their roofracks on any model of car or SUV that they can be used on. This number takes into account both the rated load capacity of the vehicle's roof and the load capacity of the roofrack itself. With SUV's a key concern is not adding too much to the rollover risk by placing too much weight high up on the vehicle. For this reason some SUV's may have a lower roofrack load capacity than you might expect.
By the way, as you are discovering, one of the disadvantages of SUV's is that it is harder to get stuff up onto the roof.
I made 1x4 wooden bunks that attach to my roofrack and padded the bunks with indoor/outdoor carpeting. This provides a nice padded surface on which to transport boats as well as other things like plywood and lumber.
06-06-2006, 05:02 PM
I had a 20 ft canoe that I fiberglassed, it weighed 150+ and I carried it on the roof. Tie the ends to the bumpers.
My buddy carried it on his car when we went to Canada... and he drove like a bat outa hell... the speedometer often said 120 ish..
06-06-2006, 05:18 PM
I still think that you should see if you can mount her vertically on the end (or front) of your travel trailer. Some sort of boat dolly can be used to both lever the boat vertical as well as transport it to the ramp/dock.
That boat of yours is really a beauty, and you don't want to risk damaging it!
06-06-2006, 06:40 PM
Sorry, no drawings. The front pivot bar sits on top of the front rack. It is attatched at one end by a vertical bolt (an eye bolt IIRC so it was easy to tie to).
It pivots around this bolt so it can ride on the center bar in the H and rest either on top of the front rack or between the front and rear racks at one end of the H.
It obviously needs to be longer than the distance between the racks so it can rest on the rear one.
Sorry about the lack of images, I'm afraid they are beyond my technical ability. You could buy these things in Oz years ago, but I havn't seen one for a long time.
06-07-2006, 06:03 PM
What Dave and Todd said works for me on a 75 lb. skiff, as I only lift half at a time before rolling the rest over a rear roller, but even then it is not a light boat, especially if the wind is blowing. Also, to invert the boat to load it on the vehicle you risk damaging the side, which is why I do this over grass or some type of ground protection (pieces of foam). I'd suggest a small trailer for ease of use locally as a backup for rowing when you don't need to tow the trailer also. The more work it is to put into the water, the less you're going to use it. One potential problem in using roof rollers is not being able to get the oar lock "risers" over the roller. On my rig, the bow is resting on the front roller by the time the risers hit the rear roller, thus I can just lift the rear of the boat slightly while resting the front on the front roller to get these risers over the rear roller.
Karl A. Hilbert
06-07-2006, 06:44 PM
I have cartopped a Sunfish keel down successfully for years. Here are my reasons for doing so. Please respond gently with reasons why this may not be a good idea.
-Keel stronger than deck
- no flipping of boat
- no greater lift at 55mph than keel up
- width of rack less of an issue as in Jerry's case.
- still drains if driving in the rain
06-07-2006, 07:10 PM
I agree with Steve -- get a small trailer for all the times you are not towing your big travel trailer. Makes using that lovely boat of yours much easier, protects it against possible damage from being dropped, and also makes it possible to completely single-hand the boat -- very important!
Karl -- you are right, some sorts of boats are transported on racks right-side-up like kayaks. I suspect that the reason why most pulling and small sailboats are roof-racked upside down is support issues -- not for the keel but for the sides.
Whereas a dory would probably rack well rightside up on the flat bottom, with only straps or small soft props to hold it upright, something like this wherry would need really firm supports (like angled trailer bunks) to hold it upright on the racks.
And wood hulls can be much more delicate than fiberglass when it comes to side-supports, which is why roller-bunks are not the preferred support method on trailers for wooden boats.
06-07-2006, 07:59 PM
Might note that an issue with carrying 100 + lbs. on the roof of an SUV is that the weight up high can do dramatic things the SUV's stability in abrupt maneuvers. The manufacturers set a load limit for roof racks because of this potential hazard.
06-08-2006, 12:21 AM
My VW Touareg has height adjustment of up to 7 in. built into the suspension system, so I am not concerned with rollover; I can make it look like a low rider. My concern is the 300+ hours that I put into this boat. I think that I will leave it home when I am using the travel trailer, and just blow up the pontoon boat. You guys have convinced me that I will trailer the boat. Any suggestions for a light weight trailer?
Thanks a lot!
06-08-2006, 09:31 AM
Check out the "Trailer time" thread -
For something that nice, I'd suggest buying either a new boat trailer, or rebuilding a used one. The HF Utility Trailer conversion that I did has worked out OK (if you are a cheap bastich like meself), but I've had to replace many of the parts, and still have a rather dodgy trailer.
The Trailex model shown in the thread has gotten a few recommendations, but you'd probably have to modify the bunks from flat to angled supports. West Marine sells trailer bunk supports, as do other trailer suppliers, but you might find yourself having to fabricate something custom to match the curve of your hull (as I did).
http://members.optusnet.com.au/~tc71/mainpic.JPGFor the past 5 years I have transported my ~100lb boat (inverted) on a simple/cheap timber frame that I built.
The boat is strapped onto the padded frame, then the frame is easily slid onto roof racks or a box trailer etc. Because the frame is doing the sliding and making all of the contact there is little risk of damaging the boat. The frame is specifically built to securly hold the boat, and also has hard fixtures that match the racks.
This method also caters for the fact that the boat is slightly wider than the roof racks, on family holidays I also mount the same frame on top of a box trailer.
Also note that on a small boat trailer, the underside of your boat is likely to get a lot of chips from the road.
Larger boat trailers ususlly have mesh to help prevent this but I have never seen this on the smaller trailers.
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