Car Racks for Sunfish sailboats

Thread starter #1
Hey all,
I'm a product design student at the University of MN and also a sailing enthusiast. I am designing a boat roof rack/topper and conducting a short survey to find how out how interested people are in my ideas. Here is my survey: Small Boat Transportation
I would greatly appreciate if you would take the survey! It should only take a couple minutes. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thanks!
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#2
Simple, fun to participate, and nicely presented. :)

Questions:
You've used a Sunfish as an example: isn't a Sunfish too heavy for design #3?

In example #2, why not include a bridle to:
1) raise the boat deck-up,
2) reduce the strain on the bow handle, and
3) use the pointy-end to guide the boat "on tracks"?

In each case, why not suggest the manner of effort? Hydraulic, hand-crank, cables, gravity, leverage, manual, electric, wrench, girlfriend? (Winch or wench). ;)

.

.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#3
First, let me congratulate you with the fact that you've all the right things:
- designing several models/options
- ask around at the right spot (here)
- presented it very explanatory

Sadly, what you have in mind, already exists... But at a price! 900 euros in Europe. And TBH, I've never seen one 'in the wild'.

Btw, what bothers me more is the fact that a lot of roof racks nowadays are so close together. In my old 'Volvo-days', I was able to spread the front and rear bar as far as possible to make it as stable as possible to hold a boat on the roof. Nowadays, my Honda CR-V has fixed points, pretty close together. When I put my boat on the roof on those bars, I'm always afraid that I will end up with some sort of see-saw when driving. "Oh, but then you should run a (teether)line from the bow to the towing point in the front bumper!" Uhhhh, no. It's a Honda, these don't come with a towing point in the bumper (neither does the EU version of the Toyota RAV4 for that matter...

 

LaLi

Active Member
#4
Nice ideas, but as Menno just showed, the best alternative (number 1) has already been invented (and refined - the "steps" are really unnecessary) by the Poles! It has appeared more than once before on these pages, but I haven't seen it being sold anywhere for a long time, and I also recall that the price tag was definitely on the high side. Would you have to go to Kraków to get one...?

It's a Honda, these don't come with a towing point in the bumper
I remember you mentioned that earlier, and I am still thinking, how do you tow it then?

_
 
Thread starter #5
Simple, fun to participate, and nicely presented. :)

Questions:
You've used a Sunfish as an example: isn't a Sunfish too heavy for design #3?

In example #2, why not include a bridle to:
1) raise the boat deck-up,
2) reduce the strain on the bow handle, and
3) use the pointy-end to guide the boat "on tracks"?

In each case, why not suggest the manner of effort? Hydraulic, hand-crank, cables, gravity, leverage, manual, electric, wrench, girlfriend? (Winch or wench). ;)

.

.
Thanks for the response - super helpful. Yeah design #3 seems a bit flimsy to me as well. It would probably need to be significantly beefier to take the weight of a Sunfish. I like your suggestions for #2. I am thinking of making a modified version of it like you suggested. And yes, each design will probably require some kind of motor, hydraulic, etc. which I didn't really make clear. Then again, I want to keep things as simple as possible while making it as easy for the user as possible.
 
Thread starter #6
First, let me congratulate you with the fact that you've all the right things:
- designing several models/options
- ask around at the right spot (here)
- presented it very explanatory

Sadly, what you have in mind, already exists... But at a price! 900 euros in Europe. And TBH, I've never seen one 'in the wild'.

Btw, what bothers me more is the fact that a lot of roof racks nowadays are so close together. In my old 'Volvo-days', I was able to spread the front and rear bar as far as possible to make it as stable as possible to hold a boat on the roof. Nowadays, my Honda CR-V has fixed points, pretty close together. When I put my boat on the roof on those bars, I'm always afraid that I will end up with some sort of see-saw when driving. "Oh, but then you should run a (teether)line from the bow to the towing point in the front bumper!" Uhhhh, no. It's a Honda, these don't come with a towing point in the bumper (neither does the EU version of the Toyota RAV4 for that matter...

Thanks for the reply. Yeah - especially on smaller suv's like the one I showed a Sunfish is pretty big. And figuring out how to properly secure both the rack and the boat on top of the rack will be a whole other issue to tackle.
The rack in the video is pretty similar to design 1 and 3. The next step in the process is to do a thorough check online to make sure I'm not accidentally copying anyone too closely. I will do patent searches as well to make sure. That said, I'm hoping to make a consumer-level product for weekend boaters that won't break the bank which it sounds like this existing product is not.
 
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Thread starter #7
Nice ideas, but as Menno just showed, the best alternative (number 1) has already been invented (and refined - the "steps" are really unnecessary) by the Poles! It has appeared more than once before on these pages, but I haven't seen it being sold anywhere for a long time, and I also recall that the price tag was definitely on the high side. Would you have to go to Kraków to get one...?

I remember you mentioned that earlier, and I am still thinking, how do you tow it then?

_
Good point. I guess the point of the "steps" was just to bring the boat up a bit higher to make the final lift a bit easier. It might also make it slightly easier for a single person to raise the boat up - if you have two people the whole process is obviously much easier but I think a rack/topper that gives you the mechanical advantage could be useful regardless.
 

thieuster

Active Member
#8
Nice ideas, but as Menno just showed, the best alternative (number 1) has already been invented (and refined - the "steps" are really unnecessary) by the Poles! It has appeared more than once before on these pages, but I haven't seen it being sold anywhere for a long time, and I also recall that the price tag was definitely on the high side. Would you have to go to Kraków to get one...?

I remember you mentioned that earlier, and I am still thinking, how do you tow it then?

_
I have a tow bar/hitch (whatever you want to call it) at the back for a trailer. But some cars (like my town-runabout Volkswagen) has round-shaped small 'port' in the front bumper. When you open it, you can insert a pin with an eye at the end. Just in case your car won't move under its own power. That gizmo is missing on the Honda. Granted, there's a contraption under the bumper near the front wheels. But running a line from there, up to to the bow of the Laser, will jeopardise the front bumper; at least it will damage the paint!

Further: what LaLi and I already noticed, the Polish solution is pretty expensive. But when you look at the construction (I sent them an email through FB and got a nice brochure from them in return) it's hard to imagine to make a less expensive unit and still make a profit. The whole contraption in the brochure looks like something I've seen when people want to transport their wheelchair on top of their car.

@ Parker: PM on its way!


Menno
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#9
I routinely car-top my Sunfish(es) about 1500 miles.

Carried upside-down and backwards, I threaded a 1/16" diameter S/S cable through a 2-foot garden hose section. The bottom end was secured from the center of a chain bridle stretched between two stationary points underneath the truck. The top end was attached to a 3/8" bolt through the Sunfish's gudgeon. The hose was then threaded through a short length of "swim noodle" to protect the truck's finish. (The reason for the thin S/S cable was to avoid the distraction of any heavier a line).

Here, I'm using materials "at hand" to drive my Sunfish purchase across a highway—but you get the idea :cool: :

Parker, did you see these "food-for-thought" ideas in a recent Sunfish-cartopper thread?

I have an idea!
 

Attachments

#10
There was an article in a recent Windward Leg edition bu Mark Kastel about car-topping a Sunfish. He offers some good information. It should be available on the class website.
 
Thread starter #11
I routinely car-top my Sunfish(es) about 1500 miles.

Carried upside-down and backwards, I threaded a 1/16" diameter S/S cable through a 2-foot garden hose section. The bottom end was secured from the center of a chain bridle stretched between two stationary points underneath the truck. The top end was attached to a 3/8" bolt through the Sunfish's gudgeon. The hose was then threaded through a short length of "swim noodle" to protect the truck's finish. (The reason for the thin S/S cable was to avoid the distraction of any heavier a line).

Here, I'm using materials "at hand" to drive my Sunfish purchase across a highway—but you get the idea :cool: :

Parker, did you see these "food-for-thought" ideas in a recent Sunfish-cartopper thread?

I have an idea!
Thanks so much for the feedback! Your solution looks great. Super secure. No I had not seen that thread - some really great ideas there.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
#12
The only difficulty I found with my little truck's mounting was that my various Sunfish were subject to 18-wheeler buffeting, and can shift on its axis CCW a few degrees. While it doesn't seem very substantial, the relatively thin S/S cable basically disappeared from the driver's seat view—and will be using it again.

Thanks for the reply. Yeah - especially on smaller suv's like the one I showed a Sunfish is pretty big. And figuring out how to properly secure both the rack and the boat on top of the rack will be a whole other issue to tackle. The rack in the video is pretty similar to design 1 and 3. The next step in the process is to do a thorough check online to make sure I'm not accidentally copying anyone too closely. I will do patent searches as well to make sure. That said, I'm hoping to make a consumer-level product for weekend boaters that won't break the bank which it sounds like this existing product is not.
While scouting for self-driving cars, I noted that Consumer Reports magazine has photos of roof racks for their fairly large fleet of autonomous cars.

Utilizing what appears to be the little cars' door frame gaps, a suitable roof rack could be devised for Sunfish.

Fullscreen capture 1182018 91326 AM.bmp.jpg

While I didn't give your design #1 much credit, I'm starting to agree with it. And I recommend that others here contribute to your research that begins in your post #1.

If your ideas catch on, there are going to be a lot of cheap trailers coming onto the market!

.
 
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