Cartopping boats

dan mulholland

Concerning John's challenge,  I've been dealing with this, too.  For the small, lightweight rowboat I use, I set up a roller that has a base that slides into the slot between the liftgate and roof, so the boat could be "rolled" on and off.  Even with this, though, there is still a need to catch and roll the boat over when unloading.  The main problem was/is that strapping the boat down, even with carpet padding, scratched off the varnish on the rub rails, and, given the wood used, this  is a problem- it mildews to black and has to be "oxycleaned" and so on to refinish. 

So, I pulled the Bolger cartopper off a trailer (see a trend here?) and put the rowboat on it.  It seems silly to use a comparatively heavy trailer to haul almost no weight, but it is so much easier.   I set up hold downs on the boat so there are no straps hitting varnish.  The trailer never goes in the water, either; just pull it off the trailer to launch, and lift the bow on and pull it out when retrieving. I built a small cover structure for it ( covered with tarps, of course), so I can roll the trailer and boat into the mini garage easily.