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Roof Rack Recommendations - Chevy E150 Van

dlogan

New Member
I'm going to be heading to FL from Indiana here in a few weeks to visit family, and I figured it was a great time to pickup a Laser, since there appears to be none for sale in my general area, and tons for sale in FL. The big question then becomes, "How to get it home?".

I've been reading a lot about car topping vs. trailering, and I think in my case car topping is going to be the best bet. I've got an Chevy E150 12 passenger van, I'll be driving, so there should be plenty of roof space, but I presently don't have a rack at all.

My question is what people would recommend I get in order to make it easier to safely get a Laser home through this long journey? I've got a few weeks, so I could put something custom together, but I currently have limited access to tools/building space so it would have to be relatively simple.

I've also seen some posts about a "Thull Rack", does anyone have any more details on that?
 

torrid

Just sailing
That would be "Thule Rack". There are lots of online stores where you can select your vehicle type, and it will tell you exactly what to get. A couple of my favorites:

http://www.rackattack.com
http://www.etrailer.com

A big van is ideal for car/van topping, as long as you have enough people to help you lift the boat. Depending on how old your van is, it may have gutters and you can get a fairly standard mount. And get the longest load bars you can find.
 

dlogan

New Member
hmmm... I was looking at this much closer. It seems 96" Load Bar's might be overkill.

It looks like my vehicle is ~80" wide, the standard bars are 65" and a Laser is about 54" wide.

Is there a reason the 96" bars would actually be helpful, or is your advice based on the fact that most vehicles have load bars which are smaller than 65"?
 

Kestrel

New Member
96" is definitely overkill. You don't really need more than 6". That leaves plenty of excess on the ends, while still allowing for the masts to be secured.

I actually just purchased a Laser from down south this weekend, and constructed some wooden mounts for about $30 bucks. Check the "Getting it Home" thread right below yours for a bit more information. I can elaborate on the construction details if you'd like, but it's a stupid simple setup that worked extremely well for me. The boat didn't shift an inch over the 800 or so miles that we drove. I'd use the mounts again in a heartbeat.
 

torrid

Just sailing
OK, I didn't know they made 96". I have the 65" bars, and they aren't quite wide enough. Go with 78", especially since you have a big van.

You'll want to put some padding on the bars. APS sells pads specifically for this, but you can probably use pipe insulation or water noodles in a pinch. I use a ratcheted strap to secure the boat to the bars, but you need to be careful not to overtighten with a rachet. Also, tie the bow and stern to the bumper with rope.

I bungee the spars to the bars (this is where wide bars are helpful), and put my dolly on top of the boat. However with a big van, I guess you can just stick all that stuff in the van.
 

dlogan

New Member
@Kestrel - That looks like a very cool setup. I think I'm going to stick to the Thule rack since I am looking for something more long term (In addition to the long trip). However, its very reassuring that you were able to keep your boat from moving over a long trip with that setup, and the photos you have are helpful in envisioning how I might tie down the boat with straps.

@Torrid - Do you hold the dolly on with the same straps you're using to hold down the boat, or do you use another set of straps? I'm actually likely going to be doing something similar (The inside of my van will mostly be filled with people). I'd think you'd probably attach the dolly separately, but its always good to know a configuration that is known to work. By any chance do you have any photos of how you've tied your's down?

Also, I noticed that you state to tie down the front and back of the boat to the bumper (Which make sense). In another thread someone was saying that primary aim is to keep the boat from moving frontwards and backwards, but there were better "long term solutions". Any idea what those "long term solutions" might be? It won't be critical for this trip, but I'm pretty curious.

Thank-you both for your input, this is all extremely useful!
 

torrid

Just sailing
There's a picture of my setup in this thread. You'll probably also see some familiar advice.

http://sailingforums.com/threads/car-top-transport.19414

I bungee the dolly handle to the Laser's boweye. I then bungee the other end of the dolly to my car's factory roof rack on both sides. You don't have a factor rack, so you'll have to be creative. There's not a lot of weight with the dolly to secure, you just want to keep it from moving.
 

49208

Tentmaker
I realize you are pretty much set with the Thule's, but for others that may find this thread, there is an alternative that's been around for a long time for vehicles with rain gutters (don't believe GM/Ford has changed the profile in 40+ years..)
Quick-n-Easy makes the "feet", you supply the cross members. Typically use any 2x (2x4, 2x6 etc) dimensional lumber for the crossbars. The nice thing is with the 2x, you get much more surface area for the deck to rest on and spend well under 1/2 of the cost. It's a product that works well, got my set in the late 70's, used them to roof top my Laser/Finn etc.. Still have them sitting in the garage and use them on occasion when I have access to a full size van.. Folks with Thistles double up the feet on each corner, and carry those around on the roof (600lbs of Thistle)

http://www.nrsweb.com/shop/product.asp?pfid=3200
 

dlogan

New Member
@Tentmaker - That is another interesting option, and it looks like a pretty good one to me. I haven't ordered the Thule system yet, I'll definitely look into this a little more. Thanks for sharing! The only reason I was "sold on the Thule" is because it seemed the easiest long term option. Sawing a 2x4 certainly doesn't take much time, and is something I can easily do if these things last (and based on the reviews it sounds like they do.

@Torrid - Thanks for the explanation and link to the photo!
 
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