Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

I plan to transport my MC 16.5 on the roof of my Tahoe this Friday. The trip will be 80 miles and about 30 miles will be on an Interstate.  This is a one way trip.  I plan to use foam pipe insulation over the cross bars on the roof rack to protect the hull.  I will also use the same type of foam insulation on the ratcheting straps where they cross the hull.  Those straps will secure it to the roof.  Does anyone see any problem with this setup at 65-70 MPH?  Again, it is a one-way trip...the boat will be left at the lake.

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RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

A couple of comments Jeff.  In addition to the cross-hull straps (I double mine for a 2:1 mechanical advantage), I'm a big advocate of using tie-downs to the bow (ideally to each side of the vehicle).  I tie down the stern too, when attachment points are available.  Boats (sometimes still attached to the roof racks) do go airborne on the highway, so a belt and suspenders approach provides extra safety.

Foam pipe insulation is easily compressed, which is good and bad.  It conforms  nicely to your boat, but slack in your lash-down system can develop when the boat gets hit with a sharp gust.  It's not particularly durable either, but should be alright for your trip.

Cross-straps should be tight, but not hull-deforming tight.  And it's very easy to cause hull damage by overtightening bow and stern lines with a ratchet.  Just try to use materials without a lot of elasticity, and remove any slack in the system after you've driven a few miles.

Enjoy your trip, and you're time at the lake!


RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

I transported a 12' sailing skiff from Cape Cod to western Connecticut on the roof of my Tahoe with no problems. You definitely want to use bow lines, though. Most roof-top failures involve the rack coming loose from the car, not the load coming loose from the rack. -Wes

RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

Jeff, I car topped my MC16.5 on Sunday for 10 miles on a Thule roof system.  I used their "hull-o-port" J carrier with bow and stern tie-downs.  We (the family) are participating in Paddle Georgia this coming week and I planned on carrying our 16 ft. canoe and the yak on the roof.  Scared the #@*&!$% out of me.  Never went above 45 mph and stopped the truck 3 times in 10 miles to make sure she wasn't going to fly away or rip the rack off the roof.  Drove back with the yak on its hull in the canoe location.  Felt very secure (with bow and stern tie-downs) going 60+ mph. SO - just bought a 4 vessel kayak trailer off Craigslist.  Yes, you can put a price on "peace-of-mind," and it is about $900.

Anyway, with tie-downs, your plan should be fine.

What its worth - Richard


PS - the splash was great.

RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof


I have transported my MC 16.5 on the factory racks of a Ford Expedition for many highway miles.  The boat was strapped to each cross bar, plus bow and stern lines.  I also, on occassion have run one safety strap over the boat and thru the back doors.  Protect your door weather stripping.  I used Malone foam pads designed to fit over factory roof racks, but the insulation should do the trick.

Watch for cross-winds.  I have had no problem driving at 70 - 75 mph, but the boat has rotated some in very strong cross winds - Had to stop twice on one trip and tighten tie-downs.

Heed the wanings about over-tightening bow and stern lines.  You can really alter the shape of your boat.

I have never put padding between the straps and boat, and the finish is still good after 2 1/2 years.

Have a good trip.


RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

I neglected to mention that when car-topping I always set my cruise control to 60 mph. Keep in mind that wind resistence increases with the square of the speed and that 75 mph is hurricane force. Add a moderate head wind and you're talking heavy weather! -Wes

RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

You won't have any problems if you drive on the Interstate with respect to the weather conditions. If it's windy you will need to slow down,  like twofoot, I use cruise control on the interstate to keep me honest. Cross straps along with bow and stern are mandatory for safety. I can drive with traffic on I95 without any issues.


RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

Notice the attachment points for the bow lines in the photo above.  If they're like mine, they are loops of webbing that are attached using the factory installed bolts under the hood that hold the fenders to the framework.  I made mine by heating up a big nail and melting bolt-sized holes in the ends of short pieces of folded webbing.  The resulting loops fold nicely away under the hood when you don't need them, and the tie-down geometry is perfect.  I love 'em!

I prefer separate lines tied to each side, though, to prevent side-to-side motion as well as holding the end down.  And I don't use any mechanical advantage like ratchets - or even trucker's hitches - because of the natural temptation to overtighten end tie-downs.  


RE: Transporting Mill Creek 16.5 on Chevy Tahoe Roof

Thanks guys for all the information.  Tying down the bow/stern seems like the thing to do.  I definitely have tie down points other than the roof.


I will stick with the factory rack though since this is a one-way trip.  I don't see the need for investing in a rack.

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