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Details of Bow and Stern Lines for Kayak, Canoe, etc on the roof: Tow eye? Attached Hood Loop? Quick Hood Loop? Hitch? Attaching some other way?

I plan to frequently haul sea kayaks, a white water kayak, or a canoe on a MYLR with a tow hitch and Tesla roof racks. I will always use bow and stern lines. This post is seeking information to help me decide where and how I am going to attach my bow and stern lines to the MYLR. My EDD is this month, so I am trying to purchase those things I'll need almost immediately.

For stern lines, I personally hope to use my $1,000 tie-down point, the tow hitch. However, I have never actually seen the Model Y tow hitch. I've read complaints about the plastic cover. Would just leaving the cover off be reasonable? Any other gotchas or tricks to using the tow hitch? Any experience reports appreciated.

There are a number of options for bow lines, many of which would also work for stern lines.

Tow eye.
  • Positives:
    • One comes with the car.
    • It would certainly be more than strong enough.
  • Downsides:
    • The owner's manual notes: "The front tow eye cover is connected to the vehicle's black negative (-) terminal." Powering that wire releases the frunk latch if and only if the 12 volt battery is too dead to do the job. So need to deal with that wire somehow if using tow eye for a bow line.
    • Having the tow eye installed somewhat defeats the purpose of having a bumper. The tow eye is attached firmly enough to tow the car. Bump something with the tow eye, and something is going to break.
  • Questions:
    • How do people who use the front tow eye deal with that wire, and the attached cover?
    • Do you leave the tow eye installed all the time?
  • Any experience reports welcome.

Bolt an attached hood loop somewhere under the hood.

Quick Hood Loop. Basically a loop of webbing that generally goes through some tubing which gets trapped when you close the hood.
  • Examples:
  • Positives:
    • Cheap
  • Downsides:
    • Given Tesla's instructions about how to carefully close the hood with two hands, a bow quick loop might not be a great match.
    • If you open the hood, the loop comes loose.
  • Questions:
    • Anyone use these with the hood or hatch?
  • Any experience reports good or bad?
Anyone want to offer details of other bow or stern line tie-down options?

Before posting this, I searched the forum. If these users are still around, I would appreciate them posting more details.

@smatthew would you expand upon your comment about the locking loop on the hood?
Hood loop works great for trunk, not so great for frunk.
For the frunk, just put the strap through the locking loop on the hood.
in thread What are my best options to carry a kayak or surfboards on/with my Tesla Model 3, 2022? I did not yet buy the Tesla cross bars.

@Bill135 more details about your front and rear tie downs would be wonderful. Especially where do you attach the loop strap to the frunk?
Carry two kayaks. No big deal. Use one Malone cradle and pads on the other side to carry the other kayak flat. Tie the rear off to the tow hitch and the front off to a soft double loop strap attached the frunk. I use cut pool noodles to protect paint at the contact points. Carrying kayaks really impacts range, especially anything over 60, probably adds on the order of 100-150 watt/ mile. Photo doesn’t show rear and front tie downs.
in thread Portaging Kayaks?

@Jrzapata I could not tell from your picture how you were dealing with the wire connected to the front tow eye cover.
in thread Model 3 with 5 bikes

Thanks everyone! If I just waited until I took delivery, some of this might be clearer. However, I'm certain you can understand my impatience. Hopefully this thread will also be useful for others in the future.
 
OK, first leg to a supercharger, efficiency was 298 Wh/mile. Temperatures in the 70s, little to no wind, 87 miles. 55-60 mph. Had problems adjusting the boat, but we figured it out. Second leg was more efficient, even though over a mountain pass and higher speeds 55-65 mph. 282 Wh/mi. 111 miles. Overall we drove 198 miles, used 57kWh, for an efficiency of 289 Wh/mi.
Once we found the right saddle positions on the rack, the boat stayed straight, during the first part of the trip is was far from aerodynamically optimal. Those Big Catch saddles from Yakima do not fit their Tesla rack very well. Their T-nut adapter kit would probably be best, but they were out of stock everywhere.
20220603_172646.jpg
 
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If your boat is that long, you may want to consider an extension bar boat carrier, like this:
(if the boat is also wide, would need the wide V option)
Yeah what I found on this trip was that the short distance between saddles wasn't so much the problem as how well the saddles conformed to the hull shape. If the boat is centered and balanced, and the contact with the saddles is solid, even the 24' baidarka car-tops smoothly. I plan to make some foam wedgies (?) to improve the fit of the saddles....
 
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OK, first leg to a supercharger, efficiency was 298 Wh/mile. Temperatures in the 70s, little to no wind, 87 miles. 55-60 mph. Had problems adjusting the boat, but we figured it out. Second leg was more efficient, even though over a mountain pass and higher speeds 55-65 mph. 282 Wh/mi. 111 miles. Overall we drove 198 miles, used 57kWh, for an efficiency of 289 Wh/mi.
Once we found the right saddle positions on the rack, the boat stayed straight, during the first part of the trip is was far from aerodynamically optimal. Those Big Catch saddles from Yakima do not fit their Tesla rack very well. Their T-nut adapter kit would probably be best, but they were out of stock everywhere. View attachment 812683
Return trip, driving more confidently faster, and with rain and wind, brought the overall efficiency down to 290 Wh/mi: 534 total miles, 155 kWh used. Lowest efficiency was the final 88 mile leg with wind, elevation gain and some rain: 28 kWh, 316 Wh/mile efficiency.
 
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My second sea kayak trip used my new Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier.
Third I ordered a Yakima JayLow Kayak Carrier, because I don't trust those short Thule screws, and unlike Thule the Yakima website was willing to say some of their "universal" kayak racks would work with the Tesla Model Y rack. Note that Tesla reportedly collaborated with Yakima when designing the rack.
IMG_20220607_190445330_HDR.jpg

I will say the JayLow is much faster and easier to install and remove from the bars than any of my previous carriers. Unfortunately, they do not sit flat on the aero bar, but they do seem very secure.
IMG_20220607_190514867.jpg

The only thing I miss from the Thule kayak racks are the loops used to keep the kayak tie down straps near the top of the carrier before they are tightened. Yakima provides much longer tie down straps than Thule instead, which works well enough.

By the way, remember the Tesla front and rear bars are not the same length. So mount the front carrier about an inch closer to the center of the vehicle to keep your kayak in line with the direction of travel.

I also mostly love the bow and stern line system. They use webbing with sewn in loops, linked with a plastic buckle to a short webbing section with another sewn in loop. So there is nothing hard to scrape the car. There is also a section of tubing to protect your car if you need to drape the webbing over a corner. Fortunately, that is not required with my frunk loops.
IMG_20220607_190532148.jpg


The other end of the long webbing is secured through the fastex ladder-slider buckle hanging from the boat. We tried this, but the frunk webbing kept slipping out, the line got loose at 45 mph or so.
I was also confused when the webbing slipped in the buckle during my departure checks. Thinking I had not threaded the webbing correctly I checked the directions, and discovered a simple stopper knot was required.
IMG_20220607_190541495_HDR.jpg


I ended up using both the new Yakima lines at the bow.
I do normally use two bow lines regardless of whether I am carrying one or two kayaks. That started about a decade ago after the second time I drove under a parking garage at work forgetting a kayak was on top of the passenger side. While dual bow lines may be only a slight improvement for attaching the kayak to the car, dual lines have been a huge improvement at reminding me there is a kayak up there.
The main downside is that the webbing definitely obscures your vision more than two thin ropes. It may be a bit more of a reminder than I really want. However, I was mostly used to the webbing by the time I arrived at the put-in, and Autopilot didn't seem to mind.
IMG_20220608_104655561_HDR.jpg

I reused the old Thule ratchet for the stern line, since the metal hook was easier to attach to the hitch.
IMG_20220508_161819601_HDR.jpg

For those interested in efficiency numbers, the "Since last charge" reported 53 mi 15 kWh 281 Wh/mi for the trip to the put-in, possibly also including the Cabin Overheat Protection during the paddle. Then I remembered to reset trip A, which reported my return trip as 52 mi, 15 kWh, 280 Wh/mi.
 
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If you have the space for a watersports trailer, I highly recommend the Malone MicroSport in conjunction with the V style kayak carriers. This was very stable for us on a 800 mile round trip from GA to FL cruising at 65 mph. We're limited by the speed rating of the trailer tires. I used to carry these on the roof of our Honda, but I decided I didn't want a permanent rack on our Y for aero reasons.
That's really cool! Could that trailer hold a Hobie Cat sailboat you think? Wife and I are moving to Cumming, GA soon and looking forward to water activities on Lake Lanier.
 
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That's really cool! Could that trailer hold a Hobie Cat sailboat you think? Wife and I are moving to Cumming, GA soon and looking forward to water activities on Lake Lanier.
I don't know how to transport a Hobie Cat, but we have 2 Eddyline Sitkas on top and 1 Hobie Lynx on the bottom. Next to the Hobie, we have a Thule MotionXT XL cargo box. The bottom bars are 78" wide and the top bars are 50" wide. If you can break down your Hobie, you may be able to carry the various pieces with just the bottom bars without buying the 2nd tier add-on. We kayak on Lanier frequently, so you'll probably see us on the lake eventually. :)
 
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I just back from a trip where we had our canoe strapped on the roof of my MYLR. We used loops under the frunk and trunk lids. That worked fine. The major problem for me was that the canoe in the camera view really affected the autopilot. FSD would do strange things like weave back and forth in the lane. Even on cruise control it would slow down all the time because of “low visibility.” It gave me forward collision warnings sometimes too on the way there. When we came home I set the boat about a foot farther back and it helped with the forward collision warnings but not the other issues.
 
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I have just been experimenting with hauling a 24' double kayak on my 2021 Model S (in Alaska). I plan to drive it 200 miles and take a ferry...
I was concerned about two things: 1) stability 2) range impact. The longest leg between charging is ~120 miles, but I didn't want to arrive with only 10% charge...

As for stability, we used the racks from Tesla, which are made by Yakima, and the Yakima "BigCatch" saddles. The rack is rated for 165 lbs, and the saddles for 150lbs; our boat weighs about 90 pounds. The rack mounting points are only three feet apart (90 cm), so I carefully measured where the balance point of our boat was and set the saddles 18" (45 cm) fore and aft of center, I also centered them side-to-side on the rack, guessing this might improve aerodynamics.
I never was much for bow and stern lines attaching a kayak to a roof rack, they can put too much stress on the boat if you are not careful. I have car-topped this boat up and down the Alcan (to Alaska from Seattle) several times without ever using bow and stern lines, and never felt the least bit concerned. However, once we got the 24' beast on top of the Model S, it was clear that bow and stern lines would be needed to stabilize the boat. There is just too much front and rear overhang from the racks to hold it from bouncing up and down too much. The flex in the bars of the roof rack was also a little disconcerting, but hey, the rack is supposedly rated for 165 pounds, and flex is a great design characteristic: our skin-on-frame kayak relies on it over ocean swells (nylon over aluminum tubing lashed together in Alueut style)!

So I was in your dilemma, but maybe a bit more extreme version of it! How to secure bow and stern? The BigCatch saddles come with nylon webbing with a loop and a fastex ladder-slider buckle on one short strap for attachment to the boat (loop the buckle end though the loop and the carry handles on the kayak and cinch down with the buckle hanging), and a long one with only a loop and a short length of plastic sheathing-like clear polyethylene tubing- to protect the car paint for closing in the hood and trunk. The other end of the long webbing is secured through the fastex ladder-slider buckle hanging from the boat. We tried this, but the frunk webbing kept slipping out, the line got loose at 45 mph or so. The frunk wouldn't close properly with the webbing secured to the metal loop on the hood.
So, we installed the front tow-eye (reverse threads!) and didn't worry too much about those wires. If my interpretation is correct, they won't be carrying any current, unless you have jump-start cables attached to them! The liftback held the stern line securely, but still, it seemed an inelegant solution that needed to be re-secured every time the liftback was opened. I ordered another tow-eye by searching the web and finding one at an auto parts store in the San Fernando Valley (P/N 1077570-00-D, the same for Model 3, and refresh S, and probably Y). I'll use it in the back to secure the stern. The nylon webbing has a loop sewn in the end, the user simply loops the other end through both the tow-eye and the sewn loop and cinches it down. Since the entire webbing strap needs to be threaded back out upon dis-assembly, I decided to purchase some stainless-steel snap rings, like carabiners but used for commercial halibut fishing, to clip the loop end of the webbing to the tow-eyes.
Be very careful not to tighten the bow and stern lines too much! A little bounce is not a bad thing! The stern line counteracts the bouncy forces on the bowline, and vice-versa, which really minimizes movement even when the lines are only just snug.
Since I won't be doing this a lot, I'll remove the tow-eyes and pop the plastic covers back in place for most of my driving.

My brother-in-law tells a range-anxious tale of car-topping a Christmas tree on his Model S, so I was very concerned about reduced range with all this stuff on top of our car. I had been driving around town without charging for a little while to gauge baseline efficiency without the racks and kayak. I got the car in October, so haven't put many summer-type miles on it. (I was skiing last week, it's just starting to be spring here now!) I drove 88 miles and had an efficiency of 228 Wh/mi. I loaded up, adjusted, blah blah blah, and drove 24 miles over the same roads I'd put the 88 miles on. Efficiency with the kayak on top on this quick, uncontrolled experiment (weather was *pretty* similar throughout) was 264 Wh/mi. Speeds not much over 50 mph... I was very pleased. Although my wife looks somewhat uncertain about this whole experiment in one of the pictures, we both agreed that the 200 mile trip with this arrangement seems highly doable. We'll definitely be flagging the stern, because it overhangs 5'4" from the rear of the car. The front overhang is less than 3'.

Hope this helps you and anyone else trying to push the limits...
Thanks for your very detailed post, so helpful. I am trying to decide between purchasing an Ioniqi 5 and a Model Y. The possible difficulty of loading and carying a 20 ft double kayak was holing me back from the MY. Your posts looks like the MY is a definite possibility with a tow hook for the front and a roller device on the back windshield. Here in New Zealand the base models of both are very similar in price, I thing Hyundi really overcharge us!!
 
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Thanks for your very detailed post, so helpful. I am trying to decide between purchasing an Ioniqi 5 and a Model Y. The possible difficulty of loading and carying a 20 ft double kayak was holing me back from the MY. Your posts looks like the MY is a definite possibility with a tow hook for the front and a roller device on the back windshield. Here in New Zealand the base models of both are very similar in price, I thing Hyundi really overcharge us!!
You'll have no problems with a 'normal'-sized (double) kayak. The fit of the BigCatch saddles to the car is a little sketchy, but after caeful adjustment, they held up just fine on our long trip. Model Y is awesome too- comfortable and roomy. I drove one for 6 weeks visiting National Parks and driving most of the way RT across the US (without the kayak on top!).
 
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