Car Topping Inflatable Boats

“Car Topping Sea Eagle FastTracks, Explorers, PaddleSki's, Yacht Tenders, & Sport Runabouts.” It’s important to have the correct straps to tie down your kayak. NRS sells kayak straps of various lengths. I buy one inch wide 15' NRS Tie-Down Straps and replace them as they get dirty NRS is not the only supplier of cam-lock tie down straps. The most important point is that you don't attach straps to the kayak. The torque of the cam-lock can damage the kayak appendage to which you’re attaching the strap. Instead, you will be compressing the kayak against the roof rack not tying it to the roof rack. Yakima or Thule rack systems are excellent racks but any properly anchored factory rack will do the job. You will see pictures of both a Yakima aftermarket rack and an inexpensive Honda CRV rack below. First take the long strap and throw it over the top of your Sea Eagle kayak from one side of the vehicle to the other. Proceed to the other side and take the strap end that you threw over and run it under the rack bar next to the kayak and then up and over the kayak to the opposite side once again. Run it under the bar on the other side and through the cam lock on the end of the strap and pull tightly until you see the boat hull compressing against the rack bar. The strap crosses over the kayak twice but never crosses under the kayak Now move to the other rack bar and repeat. When you’re done you can safely drive up to 60 mph with your FastTrack securely affixed to the top of your vehicle. In the pics below you see my Sea Eagle PaddleSki mounted to my Yakima rack. One picture shows the cam lock with excess strap wrapped around the bar to prevent it from flapping in the wind. A second pic shows the strap up and over the kayak and then under the passenger side bar and then back over the top and under the bar and up through the cam lock. Compression of a Sea Eagle 385 FastTrack against bar is noticeable in yet another picture (notice that strap never passes under kayak) and another picture clarifies the final step of strap on left under bar and into cam lock I’m holding and then pulled very tight. Aftermarket Yakima rack pictured. Pictured below you'll see I’m pulling down on the front cam-strap after the strap has passed through the cam lock thereby compressing the Sea Eagle 465 FastTrack tightly against my CRV factory roof rack The final step is to wrap the loose end around the bar to keep it neat and to prevent flapping Larger boats are possible with wide-bar Yak or Thule racks. Sea Eagle 8.10 Yacht Tender/RV Special shown below.Rear strap will be installed after oars are removed and stored inside the vehicle. Always remove any items that can be blown lose! * Please notice that this blog entry reads “Car Topping Sea Eagle FastTracks, Explorers, PaddleSkies, Yacht Tenders, & Sport Runabouts.” These are all high pressure supported fabric Sea Eagles. The low pressure Sea Eagle 330/370 Sport Runabouts and the SE8/SE9/124 MotorMount boats are stretchable low pressure vinyl boats and car-topping options are much more limited. Unlike the rigid supported fabric reinforced PVC Sea Eagle FastTracks, Explorers, PaddleSki's, Yacht Tenders, & Sport Runabouts you should only car-top the low pressure Sea Eagle 330/370 Sport Runabouts and the SE8/SE9/124 MotorMount boats short distances at very low speed and only when fully inflated. The narrow nylon cam-strap bands will noticeably compress the stretchable vinyl 370 (and the SE9) fabric against the luggage rack bars so be very careful not to over tighten. Tighten until it’s difficult to slide your fingers between the strap and the boat fabric and then keep you speed down to 30-40 mph maximum and check load frequently.
Take a look below.
Strap end on left goes under bar and through cam lock as shown above and is then pulled tight compressing boat hull against rack bars as shown below.
Final step in compressing a 15' Sea Eagle 465 FastTrack onto a Honda CRV factory rack
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