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Sunfish on top of a Chevy Caprice?

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
I am sure roof cross-bars with the right feet were made for that car, but whether they still are available is a good question. Mr. Dabolina, how did you end up with a Chevy Caprice (wagon no less!) in The Netherlands??
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
I've cartopped Laser & Minifish on an Oldsmobile and a Toyota Camry, no worries. Padding down first, boat topside down & securely lashed, spars either up top or in the car (possibly jutting from a window). For padding, I've used camping pads, rubber mats, blankets, an old sleeping bag, whatever was handy at the time... if you want something more permanent, you can buy those adhesive-backed traction pads. Pool noodles might work if you secure the boat every which way to prevent rolling, and you're only traveling so far... you could run lines through the pool noodles and tie 'em in place (open car doors first). Again, secure the boat every which way, those industrial carabiners make great clip-on anchors under the vehicle for lines running fore & aft. :cool:

Can't remember if you have a dolly, but you're gonna want one for cartopping... pull the dolly out of the wagon, set it alongside the wagon, then flip the boat right down onto the dolly. Reverse the procedure for loading the boat back atop the wagon. That's for two people, if you're solo there's another way to load & unload the boat, but it takes more time and you have to be careful... better to sandbag some passerby to help ya. Wait for someone fit, you don't want anyone to drop your boat. With that wagon of yours, cartopping will be easy, for starters there's more support for the boat... always cartop with the bow toward the front end of the wagon. Once you've secured the boat, check to make sure all other gear is in the wagon before you leave. ;)

I still remember having to run back to the house one time to grab the rudder & tiller which somehow got left behind... luckily the launch site was only a mile from my house, and my friend watched the boat while I drove home to grab the gear. Just remember to check, since it's easy to overlook things if you're excited about going sailing, LOL. Moi, I'd always bring lunch & beer too, but that's another story. The important thing is to have all the necessary sail gear with you when you arrive at your launch site. Another bit of advice, just go easy when you're cartopping, no driving like 'BULLITT' or 'VANISHING POINT'---otherwise your boat will somehow vanish from the top of your wagon, UNLESS you've properly secured it, LOL. :rolleyes:

CHEERS!!! AND HAVE FUN SAILING!!! :cool:

P.S. I recommend separate webbing or tie-down line for your boat, rather than using lines from the boat itself... develop a system that works and use the same system every time. You'll probably find metal eyes under the wagon chassis where you can clip those industrial carabiners; I used some of those carabiners with measured lines permanently attached to help secure my boat atop the Olds & Camry. Webbing straps and tie-down line from WallyWorld did the rest. If you run a line down to the rear end of the wagon chassis, mind the exhaust pipe, you don't want securement line anywhere near the pipe once it gets hot. Also, you can add eyes to your boat for better securement, I added two solid metal eyes bolted through the rail on each quarter to make the whole process quicker & easier. :D

Edit: I'm throwing in a shot of the industrial carabiners I used under my Olds & Camry... Arizona sunset shot is an added bonus, LOL. :)

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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Whaddya know? I found a video clip from 'VANISHING POINT'---we'll use it as an instructional video, do NOT drive this way while CARTOPPING, LOL. :eek:


Always liked the 1970 Dodge Challenger in that movie, I'd love to own it... :cool:

One more instructional video... remember, kids, do NOT drive your vehicle this way when CARTOPPING, BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! :confused:

 
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Hahaha, thank you guys for all the tips and good advices. @beldar boathead, I've purchased this great vehicle 18 years ago and it still drives like a brandnew car, allthough it has 275.000 miles on the clock! These wagons came standard with roofrails and they still work fine. I wasn't sure if the car could carry the wieght but now I know that this is no problem at all. So, once it stops raining here in the Netherlands, I'll put my sunfish on top of my car and head for the lakes or the beach. Thanks again guys
 

RogerMusser

New Member
In the mid-70s I brought home, from purchase, a Sunfish, on top of a 1970 VW Beetle. The boat rested on wooden boards attached with clips and big suction cups. I stopped several times to check and adjust the straps and lines. I think that I logged about 90 scary minutes of car-topping. It wasn’t long before I bought a trailer from Sears.

I must have been a lot stronger back then, now it’s a bit of a chore to launch and recover a Sunfish at our sailing club’s floating dock which is less than a foot above lake level.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
Every time I think I have figured out the best way to transport, something seems to go awry. When I got my Trailex trailer, I thought it was the end of my problems but issues always seem to happen that erode my confidence in transporting. Tie downs loosen up, ropes break even when they are fairly new. I'm going to look into higher quality equipment.
 

Dearmad

New Member
Every time I think I have figured out the best way to transport, something seems to go awry. When I got my Trailex trailer, I thought it was the end of my problems but issues always seem to happen that erode my confidence in transporting. Tie downs loosen up, ropes break even when they are fairly new. I'm going to look into higher quality equipment.
If your ropes are failing you, man, better equipment might not be the answer. Simple prayers direct to a higher power might help more. WTF, ropes breaking?! They from the 60s?
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
For the lunch money, no doubt... might wanna "enhance" the suspension on that trailer, Norcalsail, or provide better support for the boat. At the very least, check trailer tire inflation, tires that are rock hard can add to the problem. That boat is too goldurned nice to let it get beaten up by a trailer. :confused:
 

Wavedancer

Upside down?
Staff member
Every time I think I have figured out the best way to transport, something seems to go awry. When I got my Trailex trailer, I thought it was the end of my problems but issues always seem to happen that erode my confidence in transporting. Tie downs loosen up, ropes break even when they are fairly new. I'm going to look into higher quality equipment.
What exactly is the problem?
All I use is a strap that attaches to the holes in the rear bunks of the Trailex trailer and a piece of shock cord to tie the bow to the front handle of the trailer.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Every time I think I have figured out the best way to transport, something seems to go awry. When I got my Trailex trailer, I thought it was the end of my problems but issues always seem to happen that erode my confidence in transporting. Tie downs loosen up, ropes break even when they are fairly new. I'm going to look into higher quality equipment.
You might want to have a professional trailer shop look at the suspension. (The suspension, I'm guessing, is too taut).

Some YouTubes show a single shock absorber (modification) attached at an angle--from axle to frame.

I'd previously mentioned a trailer that transported a recent Sunfish purchase. I'd absent-mindedly left a Vise-Grip (loose) on the deck, and it made the trip home without its having budged. That stout trailer had a single 1/4-elliptical spring at each end of the axle. (A rare sighting for all my years). I'd look into retrofitting a pair to your trailer, or take the advice of that expert.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
What exactly is the problem?
All I use is a strap that attaches to the holes in the rear bunks of the Trailex trailer and a piece of shock cord to tie the bow to the front handle of the trailer.
I think I might need to use better tie downs. The trailer itself seems fine and I usually don't have problems doing the hour drive to Tomales Bay. But I had a rope break on me when I took it to Mt Shasta which was surprising. I retied it it broke again. Also, one of my tie downs broke which was strange. Maybe I need better quality devices which I will look into when I get home. Im currently in northern Wisconsin and am having a great time. Two of my neighbors bought Sunfishes since last summer and we had a nice little regatta yesterday.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
If your ropes are failing you, man, better equipment might not be the answer. Simple prayers direct to a higher power might help more. WTF, ropes breaking?! They from the 60s?
That's what's weird, they're fairly new. Nothing bad has happened as I use four contact points. I think it's just cheap stuff and I need some heavier duty tie downs.
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
What exactly is the problem?
All I use is a strap that attaches to the holes in the rear bunks of the Trailex trailer and a piece of shock cord to tie the bow to the front handle of the trailer.
My Trailex SUT 220 is new but I bought a cheap tie down pack at Home Depot but the rope I don't get. I use the tie downs on each side through the dagger board trunk and these never fail. The front tie down is always fine.The failures are always in the back. It's not a huge problem but a bit surprising.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Show us your crummy tiedowns so we can pick on them :)

Ratchet straps....don't overtighten.

Don't use the cam straps, they come loose. Ask me how I know...

1535-2-x-8-cam-buckle-strap-w-flat-snap-hooks-motorcycle-tie-down-straps.01.jpg
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you may be running that tiedown rope over an edge... under load the rope can part, especially if you hit a big bump in road work or whatever. Even a 90-degree edge can cut cheap rope, might be better off using webbing all around. Another thing, knots can untie themselves if they're flailing in the breeze (or the wind of passage on the highway). :confused:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
My Trailex SUT 220 is new but I bought a cheap tie down pack at Home Depot but the rope I don't get. I use the tie downs on each side through the dagger board trunk and these never fail. The front tie down is always fine.The failures are always in the back. It's not a huge problem but a bit surprising.
When one considers that a trailer uses the hitch ball as a hinge, it's not surprising that the back gets whiplash. (The back reacts most strongly to every pothole).

That trailer, as constructed, is trying to "beat-up" your Sunfish, IMHO. :(
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
When one considers that a trailer uses the hitch ball as a hinge, it's not surprising that the back gets whiplash. (The back reacts most strongly to every pothole).

That trailer, as constructed, is trying to "beat-up" your Sunfish, IMHO. :(
It crossed my mind that hauling it in the back of my truck on an air mattress might be a better choice...
 

norcalsail

Well-Known Member
Sounds like you may be running that tiedown rope over an edge... under load the rope can part, especially if you hit a big bump in road work or whatever. Even a 90-degree edge can cut cheap rope, might be better off using webbing all around. Another thing, knots can untie themselves if they're flailing in the breeze (or the wind of passage on the highway). :confused:
This is what must be going on Cactus. It's generally on longer trips. I'm going to look into the straps Signal posted. It's cool to be in the boathouse in Wisconsin. The boat is right underneath me already in the water.No transport necessary! I had to show off...
 

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signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Wait, what straps? DO NOT use the straps I showed in post #22, the cam doesn't hold the webbing.

We have had good luck with ratchet straps, but they can be cranked down too tight as well, 2000 pounds of force. You ought to be able to get a finger under the strap after it is snug. That kind of strap could also bend roof rack crossbars or pull rail out of roof if cranked too hard.
-Also need to pad the ratchet if it is contacting the boat or car.
-Secure end of strap so it doesn't flail and rub the gelcoat or car paint.
-Bonus Tip, Secure blocks, bridle, etc so they don't rub the gelcoat or car paint.

I bet you could carry another car on top of the Caprice but nowadays most roof racks are rated for 150 pounds, so on newer cars I wouldn't put much else up there.
 
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