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Stacking boards on cartop rack
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Joined: 27 Jan 2012
Posts: 224
Location: Farmerville, Louisiana

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deck up? I have transported my Kona from Louisiana to Michigan and back deck down. Every time I go sailing I transport deck down. So I have been doing it wrong. I have rack pads so deck up should work fine. No damage so far. I am visiting family in Florida and I am taking the Start for my nieces and nephews to try.
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Joined: 18 Jun 2000
Posts: 996

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 12:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

However you strap the board down, review it for "what if a strap should break?" Use redundant straps wherever one strap breaking would cause problems. Inspect them periodically during the 10 hour trip.
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Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 585

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No Darbonne, you haven't been doing it wrong. There are many "right ways" to stack boards.
I agree, I like to carry my raceboards (when only carrying one) fin forward and fin down. As was said... this allows the straps to follow the curve / radius down to the rail, to your crossbar. There's no "point loading", which is good. As he said... it is possible, and many have done this... if you load your board fin up and back... well then, you are pulling the strap over the 90* rail, down to the crossbar. And "if you pull hard enough" you can crack or damage the rail.

HOWEVER, I've never done that, and if you're careful it won't happen.
I have a 1993 F2 Lightning World Cup Edition lightweight raceboard. It has sharper rails than a Kona. And it is lighter and much more fragile than a Kona. And I have often strapped it down with fin up and back, which puts point loading on the 90* rails. But I'm careful, and there's no damage on this 1993 board. And I've had it on my van driving through the Gorge at 60 mph into a 25 mph headwind... all is well. You just have to be aware of this and be careful.

BTW - the suggestion of using 2 straps (for at least the front crossbar) is a very good one.

As far as removing centerboards while driving to the beach... I've never done that... but I know that some do, which is fine.
The reasons I don't are -
* I have always been able to tie the board on, even stacked with spacers, without it getting in the way.
* With some raceboards (maybe not Kona's) it is kinda difficult if not impossible (Bic Bamba) to remove the CB after the initial installation.
* I think people do some damage over time, to their CB's or gaskets, by constantly removing them.
* People that always remove them... have to remember "one more thing" when they go to the beach... and many times the CB is left at home. Which is VERY bad, if you're going to a big race.

But anyway, there are many right ways to do this. Just take a lot of time, putting the boards on your vehicle, many different ways, until you find the best compromise for your trip.
Greg -
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Joined: 19 Sep 2007
Posts: 436
Location: Kansas City

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The deck of the board is the strongest part. It has the most layers of glass and is (hopefully) designed for fat, middle-aged, sailors to land jumps on without denting the board. The bottom, on the other hand, is the part of the board that you want to protect, especially the rails; they’re the business end of the equation. I always transport my boards deck up, since the straps conform to the natural curve of the deck better and you don’t risk crushing the rails. Although rare, road debris, gravel, or hail (yes….hail, this actually happened to me once) will not damage the deck of the board, but will damage the bottom. As with all things in life, you should make an effort to protect your bottom.

There is no “better way” to position a stack of boards on your car for aero-dynamics: those were screwed when you decided to put stuff on top.

Kansas City
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Joined: 10 Sep 2000
Posts: 2453

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If not using a board bag, than you really need to protect the bottom of the board so deck up. If using a board bag I put them deck down, nose forward. If you are worried about your rails than time for some more pool tubes. Cut em short & run your straps through them but it is not really necessary. The most secure strap is the forward strap and boards have rounded rails at that point. The back doesn't need to be tightened 3/4 f'ng tight like the front.

The wind tunnel tests conducted by Mercedes Benz actually states nose first, deck down for best gas mileage. I'm not sure how much you save on gas but nose first, deck down is much quieter when I open my moon roof on my van.

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Joined: 12 Dec 1999
Posts: 18303

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As discussed at length in prior threads on this topic, much depends on the sizes of the boards and the vehicle. I try to mount boards belly up and nose first, with the nose behind the windshield, so the boards are behind/under the slipstream flowing up the windshield. If that's not possible, I tie the nose down to the front bumper. Otherwise I've got to believe the lifting forces beneath the nose of the board are horrendous ... on the board, on the straps, on the bar, and on the bar's anchor points, which are puny and not designed to hold stuff down.
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Joined: 10 Apr 2006
Posts: 2008
Location: Killer Sturgeon Cove

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only because it would protrude and rub on the board next to it (if you aligned it that way). Otherwise I'd leave it in.


gregnw44 wrote:
I have a question about something, that each one of you mentioned.

Why, would you remove the centerboard (CB) ??

Thanks, Greg Smile
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Joined: 23 Jul 2008
Posts: 585

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2014 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Craig... and sure, I agree.
And we all have had different past experiences, which shape our opinions and choices...
But I've been around A LOT of longboarders since 1981... and a lot of board stacking on roof-racks since 1985...
And like I said before, with proper "firm foam spacers" you won't have any contact between boards with CB knobs sticking up.
Every novice figures this out, the first time they try stacking boards. I've never seen anyone actually drive away from a shop or beach, like that.

People sometimes used to use rolled-up beach towels... and in recent years, I've seen the pool noodles (much better than a rolled towel). But most the ones I've see, I think are too soft. The best, are the board separator's that are designed for this purpose. They are firm and contoured just for this. They keep CB knobs from hitting a board stacked on top of it... and they keep footstraps from getting crushed (also important).

... good stuff...
Greg -
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Joined: 27 Sep 2011
Posts: 254

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2014 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting, especially the deck up or down debate.
I asked the local windsurf guru a few years ago and he said deck up and tail forward. I never really questioned it too much because it seemed to make reasonable sense aerodynamically but I never considered the other advantage to deck up—avoiding the strap/rail loading point.
I mention all this because recently I was second guessing my memory after the long winter layoff and Googled "best way to transport a SUP on a car top rack".
After a few minutes perusing it seemed the majority recommended deck down tail forward and I didn't come across the strap/rail loading concern associated with deck down.
I agree it's probably not an issue if one is careful or using a bag but it's definitely something to be aware of. Thank you to those who made this point.
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Joined: 10 Apr 2011
Posts: 656

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I transport boards a lot on my cars, using a Thule rack.

For short rides, my Kona goes deck up, front forward. This allows me to leave everything on it, fin, CB and even mastfoot. I store the board like that in my garage.

For longer rides, I remove the mastfoot, possibly the fin too. I will use a boardbag and position the Kona deck down, front forward. (Per Mercedes / Sailboard recommendation). Deck down vs deck up makes a big difference. Deck down is stable while up, the board vibrates more and try to move around.

The board bag protect from road projections but also from straps. I doubt the rails would break, but the EVA very close to the rails gets permanent marking from the straps if transported deck down.

The board bag eventually starts to be noisy from the wind around the CB area, between the car and the board. I use a bungee cord around the board bag to prevent it from flapping.

When stacking boards, I use a 2 firm separators. Since they have square sections, they don't roll, so you need less tension from your straps to prevent the top board from moving around. If I can, I will put the heaviest underneath, but if one is much larger, it will have to go on top. If you put a much larger board on the bottom, you need to put a lot of tension in the straps to make sure the top board will not move sideways, because of the shallow strap angle. (Think of tying a 2x4 plank on top of a 4x8 plywood sheet) So I tie down the narrow board first. And I tie the large one on top independently.

About the straps. It's important to realize that the strength of the strap is limited like a chain by it's weakest link. In the strap case, that weak link is a thin pin that hold the friction mechanism together. Look at it when buying, and add some redundancy in your setup!
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