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Upgrading My Boat


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Hi All,


I am planning to upgrade my boat from a 10' flatbottom, 80lb Aluminum cartopper to a 12' Aluminum 150-200lb Lund/Sterling/Naden/Sears etc. My only mode of transport is a 2007 Honda Minivan. I am thinking about carrying this new heavier boat on top of the van. I have a Thule Rack system that is plenty robust enough, it's the stock side rails I'm concerned with...


Anybody out there carry a 12' Aluminum rowboat on a minivan? Is this idea safe? Anybody with similar experiences?



HELP ME PLEASE...I really don't want another trailer to maintain, insure, pull, etc.



I appreciate any advice, except the obvious, which is "buy a truck" ;)


thanks in advance,


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There are 4 supports, so if you include rack weight, mud and bugs that's about 55 pounds per support or about 110 pounds per side.

I have no idea if the side rails on your Hondya could support the 110 pounds, but you could probably find out from Honda.

I know that Subaru provided a weight limit for the roof rails on my Outback and they would take your boat just fine.


More importantly, with the bigger boat, you will need to ensure your tie downs can take the additional boat bounce and wind loads

Last thing you want is a flying boat in the middle of the highway.


Another consideration is how to get that 200 pounds up onto the roof.

I have a 17 1/2 foot canoe that weighs in @ about 70 pounds.

I can lift that up myself (with out relying on lifting one end onto the rack and pushing) but just barely.

For more weight you either have to get a rack with a roller bar on the back cross tube that you lift the bow onto then push the sucker forward.

Or, there's a couple of bumper mounted rigs that let you lift the @$$ end up then roatate the front onto the rack.

Either way you need to lift abotu 100 pounds over your head and onto the rack.

You might be young and strong now, but that won't last forever.


If you had to go with a trailer, then you might consider one of those cheap landscape flatbeads. 200 pounds is nothing to them.

I'm actually thinking of gettng one for my Zodiak if I can find one that is max 6 ft wide. My storage spot can't handle wider

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Some additional comments:


1. Way back when, I used to haul my 12 footer on the roof of a Suburban. That's quit a lift, let me tell you. My solution was to build some side rails on the rack, that were oriented in the long direction of the vehicle. With the boat resting on the ground (stern end) at the side of the vehicle, and the bow leaning on the side rail. I could single handedly lift the stern, push the boat up onto the side rail, and then swing the stern around so that the boat was properly oriented on the rack.


2. If you're calculating the load carried by each support, you should factor in some additional load while you're driving. There will be both vertical (downward) and horizontal (backward) force components due to air flow over the boat.


3. If you can swing it, get a trailer. You'll never regret the added convenience.



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Hi Dave and Terry,


I really appreciate your advice, Thank you!


I'm literally stressed out with this decision. There are many pros and cons for both sides (roof or trailer). The biggest con for the roof is I'm scared to death I'm over loading my roof racks...Odyessy's are rated for 150lb weight load...not sure if that is for stock cross bars or in general. My fear is watching the boat tear off at highway speeds, take half my van roof and careen through somebody's windshield...I'm not sure if this is a far fetched fear or not.

I love the convenience of the trailer, but I already tow a 17' RV behind the van to camp in, I'm not sure what the highway rules are or how my poor van will react to towing a 3000lb trailer in tandem with a 500lb-ish boat and trailer.

I don't want to have to leave my RV at home b/c I want to fish or leave the boat at home b/c I want to camp...you know?!


Stay tuned, I'll keep you posted.


Thanks again for your input!


Best Regards,


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I doubt the law will let you do a tandem tow like that, so a trailer is probably out


My guess is that the 150 pound rating is for dead load.

Most of those factory roof racks are attached relatively simply to the sheet metal roof.

So if you really overloaded them (say 300 pounds), you'd probably crumple the sheet metal.


As for tearing out and flying off:

That would depend on the wind load imposed by the boat and and how you tie it down.

I strongly recommend two bow ropes tied down to the bumper or frame at the front

(ideally the tow hooks under the front bumper if you have them)

I say two (diagonally forward in an A shape) as that prevents the bow from whipsawing back and forth in a gusty cross wind

The I'd attach a single stern rope that also goes down to the bumper (or trailer hitch bar) or frame at the back.

Then over the top at each rack I'd use a web strap with a cam cleat on it and a clip that goes under the drip rail.

If you can't get a drip rail cleat, you can tie to the rack cross bar, but that isn't as secure.


I have similar issues to you with my VW van.

I tow a small motorcycle trailer with piles of camping junk in it.

Thus Chiquita (my large yellow canoe) goes on top of the pumpkinmobile.

Makes for quite a parade down the road.


My buddy Roman puts his 17 ft canoe on top of his Exploder.

He modifed his roof rack a bit to do so. It takes wind load without the drip rail clips or bow rope

But then he's a mechanical engineer with a welder.


Edited by dave robinson
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I have 2 things on this topic 1st is, if you tied down to the bumpers as Dave suggested would not most of the wind pressure transfer to the bumpers not the roof rack. 2nd be sure you have a good Insurance agent. If you don't I can refer you to a real good one and he fly fishes.


Tight Lines Always

Dennis S :fishing::fish_jump:

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Perhaps we should have started this discussion with a question or two.

Why exactly do you think you need a boat uprade, aside from the axiom that "you can never own enough boats" (Right Bill?)?

Is it because:

Neighbour Bubba bought a bigger boat and ya just gotta keep up?

Did you gain a 100 pounds over the course of the winter from all them nachos and not being able to fish?

Planning on taking on some bigger water that needs additional freeboard and keel length to keep you upright and dry ?

Buying a much bigger motor to get there faster (or water ski perhaps)?

Want to stand up to fly cast , but the 10 footer is too unstable and so small you keep standing on the fly line?

Have an addition to your fishing party (wife/girfriend, kid, great dane, fishing buddy, extra large tackle box, Bob the dancing bear)?

Gonna go gill netting and need the bigger boat for all the fish you're gonna catch?


Going from a 10' pram style cartopper to a 12 foot aluminum V hull is a step up alright, but does it meet your needs?

You'd hate to go to all that trouble and expense and find out what you really need is a 16 foot boston whaler or a 35 ft yacht.

Edited by dave robinson
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