How not to load a boat in high winds

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The dénouement to the most recent Assateague trip can now be told.

By the time I got around the putting the Monarch on the roof racks it was dark. And had gotten windy. And I was ready to get rolling down the highway and get home before midnight.

I wasn’t thinking, or planning, I was just doing. I had padded Loadstop brackets on the crossbar that work well with the shape of the Monarch hull and cockpit coming.



I had a Thule Load Assist bar on the back crossbar.


Unfortunately in moving gunwales brackets around when toting different boats the Loadstops were not on the same side as the extension bar. This had not been a problem when loading or unloading the boat in no-wind conditions.

Even more unfortunately in my haste I tried to put the Monarch on the racks from the downwind side of the truck. Do you see a problem coming?

As I was scurrying to get a belly line in place the wind blew the Monarch off the roof racks. I tried to catch it – not easy to do when you are at one end of a 17 foot boat the other end is suddenly airborne - and still have the bruises to prove it. I managed only to assure that it hit rudder first.

Fortunately the only damage was one bent control arm, which I later managed to bend mostly back into place, and everything is still intact and workable.

Confession – If I had been thinking I could (probably should) have turned the truck around so I was at least loading from the upwind side, but in those winds it might well have blown off the far side of the racks, and I couldn’t have sacrificed my body to break its fall

I had a lightweight canoe blow off the roof racks years ago when I was trying to solo load in high winds. Does anyone have a tried and true methodology for dealing with that? With two people it’s not an issue, but loading solo in windy conditions, well, fool me twice….
 
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I have the short dubble bungee straps with balls on then on my canoe thwart. As soon as I load my boat I fasten one to the rack bar to secure the boat while I get my straps. I once warned an owner of a brand new 14# Hornbeck about this,he ignored the warning and ended up chasing his brand new boat after it blew off the racks and tumbeled across the parking lot.
 
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Mike - The Coho can be a problem on windy days. I find it's best to have the rig facing into the wind. I'll have the straps already in place, doubled over the bar at the inside gun'l brackets and draped over the ends of the rig. Makes for a quicker tie-down.

ETA: I like Turtle's bungee idea. Gonna have to add that to the routine.
 
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I find it's best to have the rig facing into the wind.

Facing INTO the wind. Dammit, that would have helped a lot. I really was stupid hurried.

I could have done that at Assateague’s spacious landing. The previous up, up and away was a narrow shoulder side of the road and I didn’t have much choice about vehicle orientation.

ETA: I like Turtle's bungee idea. Gonna have to add that to the routine.

Me too. I’ll have to see if there is something to hook a bungeeball around near the crossbars on the decked boats. With the open canoes I’m sure there is a thwart or seat frame available, and I usually have a bungee ball or two on hand.

I once warned an owner of a brand new 14# Hornbeck about this,he ignored the warning and ended up chasing his brand new boat after it blew off the racks and tumbeled across the parking lot.

We had a 70’s Old Town “Rushton” model that weighed 18 lbs. We stopped on a windy lake one afternoon and I looked up to see it blowing end over end down the sandy beach. That canoe was ever after known in family parlance as “The Leaf Boat”.

That reminds me, I need to pack the spiral dog stake. The next few trips may not offer much in the way of boat anchors in camp.

 
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With a canoe you can just tie a thwart to one of the rack bars to hold it until you get the straps/ropes secured. I don't know if you can do that sort of thing with a kayak.
 
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I leave the bungees on the thwarts and use them to secure paddles ect while on the water. They are always right there to secure to the thwart. If the spacing works,I leave 2 on the bar to stop fore and aft shifting while driving. Light boats!-I once helped a couple retreeve their canoe that blown off the beach. Now,even though I get funny looks,I always tie my painter to something when the boat is unloaded and on shore.
Turtle
 
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With a canoe you can just tie a thwart to one of the rack bars to hold it until you get the straps/ropes secured. I don't know if you can do that sort of thing with a kayak.

That is what I did with the lightweight canoe in the previous episode. It was all I could do to hold the canoe on the racks with one hand while getting a rope knotted around a crossbar and thwart with the other.

My one-handed knot tying skill are lacking.
 
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I was thinking about this, because my Coho doesn't have thwarts that line up near my roof bars. If I run a long bungee from yoke to thwart in the center of the boat (both directions, maybe?), I can let the bungees slip beneath the bars before rolling the outside gun'l up and over. Hmmm....
 
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I've never had bad weather at the take outs; call it just plain bad luck. Seems a waste of nice weather to head home in, rather than an extra day or two on the water. I did once struggle with an early morning load up at home. All the gear in, my wife enjoying a final cuppa in the kitchen while I "toss the canoe on top", except the blustery conditions instead tossed me around the yard. Stubbornly holding on, I staggered like a drunken sailor all over the backyard trying to angle myself towards the opening in the fence and out to the drive. Just as I'd "take a stab at it", a gust would come up and send me veering off on another stumbling ramble lap round the yard. Third time lucky though. Next time I'll just ask for help. The last kitchen cuppa tea can wait.
 
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That is what I did with the lightweight canoe in the previous episode. It was all I could do to hold the canoe on the racks with one hand while getting a rope knotted around a crossbar and thwart with the other.

My one-handed knot tying skill are lacking.

I get that. Try wrapping the line a couple of times - that should provide enough friction to do a proper two-handed knot.
I've known a couple of guys who can "throw" a bowline - i.e., tie it with one hand. I never could learn how to do that.
 
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3 years ago I went for a day paddle on one of the many lakes up here. Beauty day. Blue skies, warm temperature and nothing but a light breeze. I caught a few Walleyes, explored a few bays and was working my way back. Looked up and a few small puffy clouds had begun to form. I continued to work my way back not doddling because I know how storms can come up quick. 15 minutes later those small puffy clouds were considerably bigger and beginning to stack. Now there was some urgency to my paddle stroke. I also decided to paddle closer to shore and I don't regret that decision one bit. Only a few minutes after I could hear a crackling sound that went on for a few seconds followed by the loudest thunderclap I have ever heard or ever want to hear again. I didn't see any lightning but it could have been because my eyes were closed.
Urgency turned into desperation and I turned around the point and made the choice of b-line across the bay or twice the distance by shoreline. I opted for the quickest way out and began a racing stroke. When the thunder had gone off it was still mostly sunny, but now the sky had turned completely cloudy and the winds were picking up. It may have only taken me 5 minutes to cross the bay but the weather was absolutely wild by the time I hit the other shore. The rain was coming down or up, it was hard to tell and the winds were now howling. I dragged the boat onto shore and unloaded my gear into the back of the truck PDQ. Now the storm was at it's peak and here I was trying to get the canoe on the racks of the truck. It took everything I had to get it up there then had to somehow hold on to it while strapping it. I honestly say I have no recollection of how I did it but do recall the feeling of the canoe being pulled hard from my shoulders.
I got the boat tied down and by the time I made the 30 minute drive back to town it was sunny again. Other than the initial crack of thunder there was no other and recall people around town talking about the loud single crack of thunder that afternoon.
I was in deep forest cover when I was loading the canoe and think that if I was in a parking lot somewhere the canoe and me would have been gone. I also think if I was faced with that same situation again I would leave the canoe on the ground and wait it out.
 
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Well it was a bit blowy today. I never load canoe facing into the wind.. I load the canoe from the rear and angle the truck so the rear is toward the wind. That way the wind cant catch it as a sail as it could have ( and would have ..40 mph wind gusts in Okefenokee today) The plus is that I have already the rear straps ready and don't have to even leave the ladder to secure at least the windward end snugly.. Now to say that walking the canoe from the water was a "breeze" well it was a bit of a tottery gait.

In a past life I have had a heavy poly kayak take flight onto the hood.. not pretty.

I wish I had unloaded the boat so easily the day before. I have a tag line from the bow to the hood and I remembered (! I don't always) to untie it from the hood loop. Then almost all the way down the loop for the truckers hitch got caught between the knob and the body of the Loadstop. The canoe stopped mid air.. It was a bit of a fancy juggling act to get the rope disentangled without dropping the canoe.
 
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Loading from the rear with the wind to your back is a good option. I've done it a lot with my RX and vinyl gun'l boats. But I don't like sliding wood gun'ls over the bars. A little scuffing would be better than an uncontrolled flight though.
 
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I have had pretty good luck in tying either my bow or stern line to the car first depending on wind direction, then while holding the opposite line, I'll walk the boat around to the rack. I try to loosely judge how much line I need before walking the canoe around. Once I get the boat up, I keep as much downward tension as I can while walking to the other side and tie down the loose painter. Then I make adjustments as necessary and throw over the belly straps.
 
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