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Wood roof-rack for Tacoma

Benswingin

New Member
First post, just joined today. Heading to Lake Moomaw. My wife bought me a sunfish for $50. I was scared to open the sail bag, but turns out the sails are new. Lucky me! Boat has been sitting turned over in the woods in a pile of leaves for 3 years. I built a wood rack for it a couple of nights ago. (Very difficult!)

My goal is to have the 2 canoes also at the lake and Once there, build a Pontoon deck for them out of 2 pieces of plywood and 2x4’s. The sunfish would then Tow my family Aboard the ghetto-catamaran around the lake.

My plan is, during Transport, the rack will sit on top of the two canoes with the sailboat right-side up on the rack. Getting the sunfish up there seems to be the biggest problem I’m facing. Bought Some para cord & couple pulleys and I’m hoping to rig some sort of situation up to a tall branch and hoist the boat in place, and hope that there’s a similar situation where I’m going!
Another problem was the hull. It had some places where I could see fiberglass. 7-holes, a can of bondo, and 6-beers later hopefully has that fixed as of last night. Going to “lightly” sand all the dirt off of the gel-coat and wax this evening as it’s extremely oxidized and dirty.
Am I crazy? I’ll try and keep updating with pictures as this develops. Leaving Wednesday and feeling short on time. This should be entertaining, at least. Please don’t go easy on me guys, let the insults fly, idgaf. I’m gonna be the one laughing when I’m sailing my $50 sunfish by the bluffs, ice-cold beer in my hand, while my wife grills hot dogs on a charcoal fire 20’ behind me on a pontoon boat that was built in an hour.
 

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my2fish
I've never tried to tow anything behind my Sunfish, but I have a very strong feeling you'll not have much luck towing that much weight.
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
You won't be able to tow that much weight even in a 20 knot breeze and the drag from those canoes will be too much to overcome. Your roof rack is probably not capable of safely having that much on the roof. Hope you are not planning to tie it all down using paracord - it would be the wrong choice for attempting to keep it all in place as it is designed to stretch. Other than that you are good to go.
 

wjejr

Active Member
Hi Benswingin,

Executive overview: Don't do it.

Summary report:

I did once tow my children's two kayaks, with them aboard, side by side or "side by each" as they sometimes say around here. It did sorta work, but I think the others are right, what you are proposing is just too much drag, besides where are you going to tie the towing line to?

The only thing on a Sunfish strong enough to take that kind of a load is the mast, and obviously that's a problem if you are sitting in the cockpit. When I towed the kayaks, I held onto the lines with one hand and steered and trimmed, not so successfully, with the other. I think I had the tow lines under the bridle. The whole event lasted but a couple of trips up and down a very small lake as my arms were more than a little tired.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Nice job of forming wood to the hull. :cool:

I tried to tow a canoe with two adults aboard. We barely made any headway.

I'd treat the two canoes as a Hobie 16 catamaran, locate a sail, and have two independent sailing vessels. :)
 

Benswingin

New Member
Nice job of forming wood to the hull. :cool:

I tried to tow a canoe with two adults aboard. We barely made any headway.

I'd treat the two canoes as a Hobie 16 catamaran, locate a sail, and have two independent sailing vessels. :)
Thanks! That was definitely the difficult part.
I’m going to cover the rails with some pipe insulation this afternoon. This 2nd sailing vessel is my favorite Idea so far!
 

Benswingin

New Member
Hi Benswingin,

Executive overview: Don't do it.

Summary report:

I did once tow my children's two kayaks, with them aboard, side by side or "side by each" as they sometimes say around here. It did sorta work, but I think the others are right, what you are proposing is just too much drag, besides where are you going to tie the towing line to?

The only thing on a Sunfish strong enough to take that kind of a load is the mast, and obviously that's a problem if you are sitting in the cockpit. When I towed the kayaks, I held onto the lines with one hand and steered and trimmed, not so successfully, with the other. I think I had the tow lines under the bridle. The whole event lasted but a couple of trips up and down a very small lake as my arms were more than a little tired.
“side by each” eh?? you may be correct. I did a similar thing Last year tying two kayaks together (Front to back, though) towing, and hauling serious ass across the lake. I have a video somewhere. I guess that’s why I’m optimistic, but it is a lot more weight. I just tied the rope up to the “bridle tiller?” The thing that hooks to the boom and main sheet. You’re saying that I’m risking pulling that out under the stress of towing? I suppose tying to the mast could be an option, although probably very cumbersome hopping over a new rope. The line Would probably run into the tiller as well.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Yup.

Tacoma--about the size of my Nissan pickup--upon which I "cartop" my Sunfish. I scarcely know it's up there, but Sunfish crosswind-vulnerability is minimal.

Take short trips. :oops:
 

Benswingin

New Member
Update, had to go across county to get my other canoe. Pro tip, don’t let friends borrow boats for river trips unless the water is high. Green canoe was in shameful condition, scraped up to the max and several huge cracks where the gel-coat is just gone completely exposing raw fiber glass. I’ll patch it up as best I can with the time I have. Couldn’t get the Volvo up the 1/2 mile driveway so had to walk up and carry down. Biggest “portage” to date. Said Friend got bit by a copperhead last week so I guess he’ll get snakebite-sympathy, but NEVER AGAIN!

decided to forgo the sanding because the hull cleaned up fairly well with some hot soapy water and a 3m green scrubby. Got a coat of turtle wax from the shed put on. Fixed some hot pipe insulators to the rails to soften things up and they stuck pretty good. 2 Boats in place. Just need to put heft sunfish up there-I don’t think I’ll need to use Ropes and pulleys to load boat, especially if I can get a second pair of hands sometime tomorrow, but have them in case. Tomorrow: change oil in vehicles, strap everything down and pack. About a 2.5 hour drive. So much to do!!

Most likely I’ll be using ropes AND straps, it does get windy in the mountains! More to come
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Dang... You had matching hulls. :oops:

Lacking a second pair of hands, put a stepladder next to the truck.

The down-side is, you'll need a stepladder upon your arrival. :confused:
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Dear Lord just buy a trailer...or rent a uhaul trailer for a day. And Yes you're crazy, but it's not some kind of a challenge to prove it.

That Sunfish weighs 140 or more, How much are the canoes? And what is the roof rack rated for? If you don't care about your car you better care about the other vehicles around you.

And ps we cant use the word ghe___ here, verboten. :)
 

Benswingin

New Member
Yes, I think I will acquire a trailer. I think I will have spent more time rigging this rack situation than the actual camping and sailing I’ll be doing.

finally got it up there, and yes it looks crazy. Not finished roping it down yet. Storm has come in, I’ll have to wait till morning to completely load down the bed with gear including 7-2x4s, 2 pieces of plywood, and firewood. Should fix that “high center of gravity” problem.

Il try to attach a video, found the one I mentioned from last year towing kayaks. I’m bringing an extra sail things to fashion a tiller and might try to rig it up on the pontoon if it is in fact dragging to much in the water.

Sorry about the G-word lmao. What I should have said was:
>low income/intelligence below poverty line REDNECK catamaran
Will post final pic loaded down tomorrow before we head out. Cheers

IMG_0543.MOV
 

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Benswingin

New Member
Made it back!

The rack worked well. I was able to slide the sunfish up there from the side fairly easily. The ride there was a little nerve wracking just because it was a new system. That being said, it would’ve taken an act of god to shake any of those boats loosewith the amount of ropes and straps. The sunfish rack put a certain amount of pressure from the corner on the rear Hull of the red canoe (see pic) so much that I switched sides on the way home for fear of cracking it. I don’t think I will be running this roof setup again simply due to this problem alone. But as Danpal said, the rack will be perfect for a trailer, or even for solo trips on the truck (without 2 extra canoes).

Thanks L&VW for the catamaran suggestion, it was a real hoot! Took about an hour. I found an old kayak sail and fashioned a tiller/rudder from some wood scraps.
Sailed fine, turning not so much. I think a centerboard of some sort would’ve improved things a great deal.

After mother in law slept on it, I took the mast down and put a shade up. Towing the “S.S. Tow-Tilla” with the sunfish was frustrating, partly because the lack of wind, but mostly the amount of drag and strafing or being pushed sideways due to lack of momentum. Got to some pretty impressive speeds at times, but tacking and changing direction was a real struggle. It was a lot of boat to pull with 5 people, 2 dogs and a baby + chairs & coolers. Strange how the Tow-tilla would track very well and stay on course while the sunfish would be pushed to the side. I think 1 canoe loaded down could be towed, not 2 and a pontoon setup, lol. If the wind was different, I’d try again.

The lines overlaying the map pic show the routes

Black Cross-The bluffs, pretty cliffs across the lake
Blue-my proposed ideal route
Red-our actual route
Green-when we gave up sailing and started paddling!

Im really happy having tried and especially happy seeing the sunfish, which I had pretty much given up on, cleaned up and in the water.
 

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