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2018 AOTY/DOTY Entry

Topic: kayak wanted off the car...on the highway  (Read 2198 times)

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  • no kooks please!
  • Sea Lion
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  • Location: th' Doon, CA
  • Date Registered: Jun 2005
  • Posts: 7375
OK, I am kinda embarrassed by this. On my way through Santa Maria last week with my newish tarpon on the yakima rack (hully roller & saddle, straps but no bowline attached) I hear a slight flapping noise, start to pull over on the 101, and I see my boat and the rear rack bar fly off into the fast lane. A "Holy S**T" moment ensued, while I pulled off the highway. Fortunately Poseidon must have been looking out for me a little, because at that moment the yak flew off there was no following traffic, and the boat landed in the median after one bounce. I manged to jerry-rig the yak back onto the roof with about 10 straps (It was NOT going to come off again unless I wanted it to) and got home to inspect the damage. Only a little road rash to both the yak & the rollers, both are still serviceable only a little more "seasoned" looking.
The culprit (besides myself not attaching the bow line) turned out to be the attachment point of the front yakima strap. On my old bronco I always just looped a strap around the roof rack bar (its a permanent basket type rack), but on the pickup with the new yakima setup the strap goes through a little T-shaped piece of hardware that "locks" into a slot in the Mako saddle. The T fitting got tweaked out of the slot, the boat torqued enough to yank off the rear rack, and voila, kayak was free and momentarily airborn. Moral is, always double check the strap attachments and use a bow line if you are concerned. I got really lucky that no one was behind me for a few miles.
After close to 20 years of shuttling kayaks this is the first time I've ever had one come off in transit. I think this will be the last time too.
pronounced "Pie-see-in"
"Every day is a fishing day, but not every day is a catching day"-Countryman
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Randomness rules the universe. Perseverance is the only path to success..but luck sometimes works too.


  • Sea Lion
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  • ling cod will eat ling cod which will eat ling cod
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  • Location: peninsula
  • Date Registered: Nov 2005
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dang man! that is scary! i used to race motorcycles and once i was following a trailer with race bikes and one fell off the back in front of me. its always insteresting when something falls off a vehicle especially at speed. i hear a lof of these sit on top kayaks are built pretty damn well and can withstand some abuse. thats also a testament to quality there i must say.



  • Sea Lion
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  • 35" and ~25lbs of halibut
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  • Location: mountain view
  • Date Registered: Jul 2005
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my one-of-a-kind paddle peeled off my truck while on 280, and the paddle leash snapped.

Did not have time to look for it, had to leave it.  :smt010

Those 70mph winds can be tough on gear in a pickup.

john m. airey


  • One life, right? Don't blow it.
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  • Location: Placerville, CA
  • Date Registered: Jul 2005
  • Posts: 12401
That is another reason I switched from the Mako Saddles to the Land Shark Saddles. Land Shark saddles do not have the  groove for the strap to rest in like the Mako's do. They are a lot more user friendly and will not destroy the bottom of a fiberglass boat if you ever decide to haul one.

Fuzzy Tom

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  • Date Registered: Jul 2005
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You were almost as lucky as I was when I took off without lashing down my 10 ft surfboard, checked out the swells and decided to go out, going back to the truck, I realized my board wasn't there, went into denial: must have left it at home, drove home, no board, oh shit!, backtracked, no board, checked along the route, knocked on likely doors, gave it up for lost.  What are the odds that someone's going to find a surfboard and try to find the owner?
  I hardly ever read the want ads, but that week I happened to, and saw my board in the lost and found, a county road worker had found it about two blocks from my house, it didn't have a single ding in it!  I think it kind of floated off the truck and landed softly on the road, I doubt if scientists could duplicate it.  Since then, as people drive off from surfing areas, I check their tiedowns, and I've saved a couple people the same sinking feeling.

Davey Jones

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Man, was going to write a topic also, but just last sat at mendo someone left their straps in the parking lot and I was calling the guys to see if someone left it there as they went to the fish weigh-in. My straps were coming loose during the whole time I was on the road. If I had words of wisdom it would be to buy another set of straps, Strap down the kayak, attach another rope to handle the forward and rearward movement of the yak on the rack and maybe even locking it up on the rack; just because at 70mph or anywhere it could hit someone and hurt them. Never know if the car that avoids a yak on the road has children; we sometimes don't think along those lines.


  • Sea Lion
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  • Location: Marin, CA
  • Date Registered: Jan 2005
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I was driving down to 24 hours of Adrenalin on 280- four bikes and two wheels on the roof of my vanagon.  I hear a "bonk" look up in the rear view mirror to see a front wheel LAUNCH up out of site, come back down, bounce 20 feet into the air...and slowly bounce down- going 70mph. Two cars change lanes to pass this wheel.
It starts to slow to about 50, and changes lanes from fast into middle, then after another few hundred yards into the slow lane. Finally, going about 30 it exits onto the shoulder....

I took the next exit doubled back, and pulled off where it was leaning against the fence.  it was still perfectly true. Not a scratch. Way to go Gravy!

my little team of two did 22 laps that weekend...12 on that wheel.