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Should you tie a bowball down when 1x is on roof rack?

Do you know of any good guidelines for carrying sculling boats on the roof of cars with/ without … read more

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Do you know of any good guidelines for carrying sculling boats on the roof of cars with/ without a full sculling rack?  There has been an incident at our club as the bowball was tied down to the bumper and the strap worked loose and came undone and then got caught under a wheel as the car slowed down and wrenched the boat but tying the bowball down was an insurance requirement and I’m not sure how we prevent it in future?

Trailering – My advice is to always use a full sculling rack plus roof rack – the span on a car isn’t wide enough to support a single scull and you don’t want to break it.

Single scull car roof rack Car roof rack for rowing boat or canoe[/caption]

I tie down the bow using a strap with a metal buckle that I position in front of the windscreen – i.e. not down near the bumper so I can see if it works loose.  I take the end of the tie and use electrical tape to wind it around so it doesn’t flap in the wind.

Buy Car Racks for 1x and 2x boats

For the stern I just put the tie over the hull approx above the rear bumper of the car – it’s just a loop so not tied onto the boat and both this and the front strap are there to prevent the boat flexing up and down too much when the car is at speed.  These ties should be much looser than the ties over the roof /sculling rack i.e. they need to be able to move up and down 5 cms or so.

What do you do when transporting your single on a car roof rack?

About Rebecca Caroe
Rebecca is the host of RowingChat podcast and is a masters athlete and coach. Passionate about helping others enjoy the sport as much as she does. View all posts from Rebecca Caroe

6 thoughts on “Should you tie a bowball down when 1x is on roof rack?

  1. Loose straps can cause an incredible amount of damage if not checked. Even on a trailer boats on the lower racks can be cut in half if a loose strap gets caught in a wheel, I’ve seen it and it’s quite ugly.

    I would never tie a rowing shell down by the bow or stern, I would tie off in the strongest part of the boat in the cockpit. If the car does not have any roof racks then I would strap it through the windows or doors. It’s best if you have to transport like this to use some kind of collapsible cushion to protect the roof and the hull of the boat and keeps the boat from shifting. I like to use pool noodles and packing foam block. You can also buy foam blocks from canoe and kayak shops.

  2. Having the bow secured when driving it on the roof of the car is a condition on my single scull insurance. I have a sculling rack, and the boat is well strapped down to that to secure it, and then the rope for the bow is not about tying it down, but actually about preventing it lift off. If something happens to one of the “proper” ties above the roof that I can’t see when driving. then my boat isn’t going to lift off in the wind and fly like a javelin till it lands on someone or something. When trailering or driving any rowing boats, use high quality ties, check them well before leaving, and then again 5-10min into the journey, and every time you stop thereafter to make sure that they aren’t coming loose.

  3. If your scull is tied down properly, then the bow strap will only reduce the stresses caused by the wind. The more the boat lifts or dives, the more it catches the wind. The bow and stern straps should be tight enough to work in concert to prevent the boat from bouncing, but should not hold it down. I use offcuts from an old climbing rope for this which is softer and nicer to the scull, doesn’t flap like a strap, and is also very slightly stretchy.

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