|As a manufacturer,
we've seen many canoes brought in for fiberglass repairs
over the years. One thing has always remained constant...
By a huge margin, most canoes are not being paddled
when they get damaged. Many boats that we see in for
repairs have "flown" off a vehicle at highway
Tying your canoe down properly
is so important that all of our staff are instructed in the
proper way to do it. Most important are the straps over the
sides of the canoe. These are the ones that actually hold
the canoe on the rack (not the bow & stern lines as most
people think). If using rope, use polypropylene or natural
fiber rope - DO NOT use the cheap yellow nylon rope that is
so commonly seen. This awful stuff is difficult to work with,
doesn't hold a good knot, and won't coil or lie flat. Better
yet, use cam straps! These wonders are amazingly quick and
easy to use and with the one-way cam, have no chance of loosening
off. NEVER use stretchy bungie cord for securing your boat
to your vehicle. These won't give you a solid connection and
have been known to break or "let go" at most inopportune
times. Whether you use rope or straps, ensure that they go
around your roof rack right next to the gunnels of your canoe.
You want no possibility of side-slipping. Tighten these attachments
very snug! We joke with people, saying to tighten the straps
until you hear the first crack... then back them off a bit!
you have adequate spread between racks, this alone should
secure your canoe to the racks. Now... are your racks firmly
attached to your vehicle? Driving at highway speeds creates
a great deal of lift inside an up-turned canoe. A lot of force
is trying to pull your racks off your vehicle. Use quality
roof racks like Yakima or Thule racks. They may not be cheap,
but you do get what you pay for...
The bow and stern lines, which
ideally would run as an inverted "V" from bumper,
up to canoe stem, and down again to bumper, are safety lines
that ensure that even if the main straps fail, or if the rack
comes off the vehicle, your boat should stay put long enough
for you to stop driving. The bow and stern lines shouldn't
be extremely tight, but just snug.
A final word on working
A knot that is very useful for
making a rope very tight is the Trucker's Hitch. Learn it
and your life will become much easier...