Car top a NE Dory?

�I have been at different styles of boats as a project to follow up my CLC Teardrop. My wife is not very hip to the idea of kayaks, so I am looking at other alternatives. The NE Dory would offer the most versatile craft, but I want something I can carry car top. Is this feasible?

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RE: Car top a NE Dory?

���Sorry, meant to say "looking at different styles of boats. This site is not phone friendly.

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

@ 56” beam & est. 100 lbs (accessories like spars @ sails, oars etc. not included) I trust it’d be a four-hands job getting it ‘topped or off, not to mention the overhang beyond most vehicle’s dimensions.

Before settling on a Waterlust canoe kit I’d been considering both the NED as well as an Annapolis Wherry. Wanting something with sails (not to mention the appeal of a Mirage drive!) made me go the canoe route.

As I drive a MINI Clubman the Waterlust will still (barely) fit on its roof racks & the 17’er’s overhang beyond the 13’ car’s length I hope won’t be a problem. Besides the expense of adding a trailer there’s the storage aspect for one! I can fly a canoe from my garage ceiling, not so a trailer!

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

Yes, at 100+ pounds, that's a pretty tough car-topper.  But most people just envision the standard, one person on each end, both pick up and bring the boat over the edge of the vehicle, parallel, then gently lower it to the ground.  This is the most difficult way to load/unload a heavy boat.  

I have loaded many heavy boats by myself over the years and here's what I do.  I have PVC pipes that fit over my car rack crossbars, cover them with pipe insulation foam.  I take a piece of scrap indoor/outdoor carpet and put it on the ground several feet (but less than the total boat length) behind the tow vehicle.  Then I maneuver the boat so that the stern is over the carpet and the boat is jutting out at an angle past the rear corner of the bumper.  I then take a breath and pick up the bow and place it up and over onto the rear crossbar.  This means you're only picking up about 2/3rds of the boats weight.  Once the bow is safely on the rear crossbar, go back and pick up the stern over your head and slide the whole boat forward on the rolling crossbars.  Once again, you're only picking up a majority of the boat's weight, not 100%.  Then strap down securely and toss the carpet into the trunk.

When you get to the lake, just reverse the steps.  If done slowly and carefully, you won't even mar the finish on the boat and you're free to head out on your own.  I've done this on concrete, gravel, etc.

I've found that this requires less strength and agility than raising a Hobie mast by myself.  Your mileage may vary and of course it depends on the boat, tow vehicle height and personal fitness level.

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

A lot depends on what your car is. My "car" is a Chevy S10 pickup with ladder racks for carrying the boat stuff. I have a 12-ft sailing dinghy with more or less the same beam and weight as the NE dory and I cartop that singlehanded.

I don't think that the extra length of the NE Dory would cause me trouble because the 12-ft dinghy was impossible to lift by myself and I already have extra equipment to lift a long boat. Basically, I made a 2-wheel trolly that fits onto the transom which lets me roll the boat right up to the back of the truck and lean it onto the rear ladder rack at a 45 degree or so angle. Then I kick pre-positioned bricks behind the wheels to chock them and I'm temporarily stable enough to let go (if there's no wind).

Next, I hook a safety line from the front rack to the thwart, which makes it permanently stable. The arrangment with the line is such that the boat can pivot on the rear rack without slipping back off the rack.

Then, I kick out the chocks, squat, grab the transom and lift with my legs. The part of the boat in front of the rack counterbalances the part that I'm lifting. Once I'm standing straight, I lift with my arms until the boat is nearly level about 6 inches above my head. Then I push forward (with the boat getting lighter as more weight is beyond the pivot point) until the stem is resting on the forward rack. At this point the heavy work is over and it's just a matter of adjustments and tying down

A trailer is obviously easier. This process also can raise hell with gunwales. The rear rack needs to be slippery. Mine is covered with a PVC pipe. But it should handle a NE Dory and you never have to lift more than half the weight of the boat. Again, this depends on the kind of car.



RE: Car top a NE Dory?

   This YouTube video makes it look pretty easy.

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

   I decided on a trailer for my skerry, but check out the Keri-Tek car top system. It’s made in Europe somewhere but they have a Florida supplier. It looks like one person could lift the NE Dory and it is gentle on the boat.

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

   That’s “Kari-Tek” and they are made in the UK. 

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

But available here:

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

This was one of the first questions I asked when I started my NE Dory adventure. I travel with a truck and travel trailer combo so a boat trailer is not really an option. I received about the same responses you have, but actually a bit more negative. I chose to ignore all the naysayers and plunge ahead. No regrets. Yes, it will depend on your car, can your car hold 100+ lbs on its roof rack? Mine is a Toyota Tundra pickup with flat ladder racks. And my truck has an off road package, it is really tall! On the topic of ladder racks, if you intend to carry the Dory upside down, she is too wide to fit between the uprights of most ladder racks. I found one that had no uprights so she fits fine. I can load and unload my Dory solo, but much prefer to have a partner. The hardest part is rolling the boat over. Here is the sequence I use.

I park the boat dolly parallel to my truck with just enough room for me to pass between the boat and the tailgate.

I lay out a cargo blanket on the ground to cushion things.

Roll the boat onto the blanket, upside down.

I place a cheap furniture dolly from good ol harbor fright under the transom.

Now comes the fun part, while my wife or daughter stabilizes the transom, I lift the bow and rest it on the rear ladder rack.

Then I just lift the transom and give it a gentle shove!

A few ratchet straps and off we go.

If you are truly using a “car” and the car can take the weight on its rack, I would think it would be a breeze to car-top a Dory.


RE: Car top a NE Dory?


RE: Car top a NE Dory?

Ok that last one didnt work. YOu should be able to see this pic.


RE: Car top a NE Dory?

   And the way you've got it loaded, it makes a great aerodynamic spoiler for your travel trailer. Probably improves your gas mileage!

RE: Car top a NE Dory?

My plan is to cartop my NE Dory far and wide, as I've done for years with canoes.

The Sienna roof bars are rated for 150lb max. I bought and modified a Reese Towpower Hitch Mount Canoe Loader. The mod is to make the top crossbar wide enough to accommodate the dory. We finished the dory late last summer and didn't get a chance to use it much, but I did have a few trial runs and the cartopping looks good.

The advantage of the hitch loader is that it pivots, so I can lift one end onto the loader, tie it down, then swing the bow around to the front of the van. What the hitch loader also brings to the equation is that it takes (about one third?) of the load off the roof bars.

With this setup I can single-hand it. Here's a picture of the prototype. The plan for next summer is to set up more finished crossbars (PVC pipe? Aluminium square tube?) on the roof rack and the Reese loads, rather than the 2x4 scraps you see in the picture. Also implement gubbins for attaching the ropes and straps to the bars.

PS: if anyone's wondering, we didn't get all of the sailing components done last summer, so it was launched as a row boat only. You can see some of the fitments in the boat, but still no rudder and whatnot. That's a project for easter break!

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