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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:08 am 
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Hi everyone,

I'm nearing the point of purchasing a TI (I have my AI on ebay, so it's probably only a matter of time...). I do mostly solo sailing, but wanted the TI for those occasions when a passenger might come along (and hopefully that would be more often :D ). Since I'm often sailing solo, I need to be able to load and launch the boat by myself. I currently transport my AI on a Thule roof rack on top of my Ford Focus ST (which has a Class I hitch mount), and I use the Thule Slipstream which makes loading and unloading pretty easy. I use the standard plug-in cart for launching, and store the boat on its side in my garage.

I'm currently embroiled in the "trailer vs. car-top" debate. I figure that with something like a Thule Goalpost or Rhino Rack T-Load Hitch Mount, I could get the boat up onto the roof of my car, though it would certainly take more effort than with the TI. I would probably use the Hobie dolly with TI cradles for launching. Or, I could bite the bullet and spend the extra $$ for a trailer.

As I see it, the pluses and minuses of each are:

Trailer:
+ ease of loading/unloading (though I would probably still use a dolly to launch, since many of the places I launch from would be difficult with a trailer).
+ quick set-up/break-down
- COST (this is probably the biggest down-side that I see).
- takes up more space in garage
- more hassle driving/parking/backing up with trailer

Car-topping:
+ COST
+ less space needed for storage
- slower set-up/break-down
- Safety (every shop owner I've talked to has essentially said I'm crazy to even think about car-topping a TI, mainly for safety reasons).

I'd love to hear everyone's perspectives on this and advice one way or the other (I've already read many of the discussions on this forum). Also, do you car-toppers have concerns about safety? Are you folks with trailers able to store your TI on your trailer inside a standard garage bay? what would be the least expensive trailer set-up (assume that I'm purchasing new, not used). Can you use your trailer as a dolly to maneuver by hand (seems like a lot of weight), or do you need a separate dolly for that? Thanks in advance for your help!


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 9:46 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2007 9:21 pm
Posts: 2240
Location: Maui, Hawaii
The TI is a bear on land! Mostly a pain to load and move. But, it is worth it on the water for the extra capacity both in seats and carrying capacity, and the dryer ride than the AI.

Many have come up with different ways to load/unload/move that made it easier for them, based on their particular problems. Think through how you would use it (where to launch/land) and especially how long and what type of conditions to get from transport to water and back. All is doable, but some are much better than others.

I love my trailer, but it is a double wide (8') and a pain on local (Maui) narrow roads and I choose sometimes to not go out vs using it on busy days. Been hit once already. The single TI trailer is much better, but more limited for my multi-Island flotilla. :)

On the other hand, I have only "car topped" my TI twice on my truck with help from a strong tall friend and with good racks and still remember both times vividly (4 loads, 4 unloads). It was not enjoyable. And it was over 4 years ago.

Don't let this put you off. Many have car-topped TI's for a while, but most have finally gone with trailers. Or they have mastered the rigging necessary to do it much easier.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:34 am 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 3:19 pm
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
Have you checked the roof weight limit for your Focus? I only ask because I was exploring options for carrying my AI and my sea kayak on my Corolla at the same time. Exceeded the limit of my Thule roof rack.


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 10:43 am 
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Bicx, it's rated for 165 lbs. My understanding was that the rating has more to do with roll-over resistance than roof strength- is that not the case? I would think that with a third attachment point (ie Goalpost or T-bar) it would distribute and carry the load more easily.


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 11:17 am 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 3:19 pm
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Location: Chattanooga, TN
I'm not 100% sure, but I'd be careful. I believe my roof rack itself had a max limit of 150lbs or so, which may partially be based on how well the feet attach to the car and other similar factors. If you add extra support, maybe that will make a difference.


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 7:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 2:31 pm
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Location: Kailua 96734
I think those ratings relate to the MAX load that is safe to carry in the event of hard braking or a low speed crash. The concern is that bolts will shear above these weight ratings, sending your payload as a projectile. (As if that cyclist wasn't already in enough pain!) :o

They assume that your load is properly secured, evenly distributed, low to the roof and not oversized. Hardly any of these conditions exist when car topping a TI.

Then there's the added dangers of loads lifting (not using front and rear tiedowns) and gusting side winds. So please load, drive and brake accordingly.

Trust me, you don't want it on your record that you wrecked a boat- on dry land.


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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 7:58 pm 
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Joined: Sun May 04, 2014 11:08 am
Posts: 69
Location: Rochester NY
Which post on Ebay is yours? We can see what your AI sells for and see if you get an TI? I picked up the TI because like you, I hope others come along. But I also plan on going out along at times.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 4:57 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:27 am
Posts: 42
Location: Wantirna South VIC Australia
Puzman,
I have had my TI for almost 1 year - love it. :)
I car top for 2 reasons:
1. I tow a camper trailer and so I can't tow a second trailer.
2. I don't have room at home to store a second trailer.

As a few have said if both I didn't have either of these constraints then I would also put the TI (or AI for that matter) on a dedicated marine trailer.

There's also (at least) 3 reasons for that:
1. If you don't have a lifting solution, it is risky for you and the car.
2. When the TI is loaded on the car after being out in sea water (which is most of the time for me) there is a risk that the salt water and sand gets on the car. Even if you leave it to dry first - murphy says it will rain before you get home and hence the salt gets washed onto the car. As a result I'm going to the car wash after every time to thoroughly wash down the car and then spray a protective wax coating on it.
3. To ensure the car and TI are safe even in an emergency stop or swerve situation, the tie down needs to be done very carefully - which takes more time.

However, given I can't use a trailer I am very happy with my solution.
It is actually quite quick to get down from the roof.
I can put the TI onto the car and take it down completely solo - there is no lifting.
I don't have to disassemble the AMA's / AKAs and tie down / store them separately.
With the forward support pole, the dynamic forces of sudden breaking or road undulations with strong head winds are taken care of.

Here's a photo with the TI loaded and the 2nd shows the lifting mechanism, which uses a small 12v ATV winch.
Image

Image

You can see it in action on YouTube:

I hope you find a solution that works well for you.

Regards,
Ian

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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 9:50 am 
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I have wrestled with the same issue. I tow a travel trailer behind my crew-cab pickup with a shell on the back. I had Thule rails and cross-bars mounted on the shell and the cab, with 300 lb weight limits. After purchasing a receiver mounted T-bar that reaches to the height of the back of the shell, I mounted a 12" keel-roller on the top of the T-bar, along with guides/stops on each side of the roller (32" apart) to keep the TI from sliding sideways as it's slid onto cross-bars . I've also mounted a 2" receiver to the front of the pickup so that I can load the TI from the front when the travel trailer is attached to the pickup. Now I'm ready to attach cradles to the cross-bars. I've seen YouTube videos of others loading the TI onto their SUV's and pickups. It's not that hard. If you're fisically limited then you'll need help or mechanical assistance. If you can lift about 90 Lbs. to your chest and push about 70 Lbs. (rough estimations) over your head, then you can load the TI by yourself.

I've seen a couple images of TI Trailer cradles being used with roof-rack cross bars but I can't figure out how to attach the cradles to the cross-bars.
The cradles have 5 dimples (6" deep) molded into them and three of those dimples have U-bolt holes in the bottom of them. If you look at the images of the TI beach cart, you'll see that the cradle rests on the axle of the cart. That puts the top of the cradle, which is in contact with the hull of the TI, 7" above the axle (or in my case the cross-bar). That works for a beach cart or trailer but I can't imagine sliding the heavy TI over the top of those cradles while they sit on top of a cross-bar. I think the U-bolts attaching the cradle to the cross-bar would rip right through the bottom of the cradle. Besides, who wants the TI mounted another 7" above the top of the roof mounted cross-bars?

I think the TI cradles are the way to go for good support (4' long x 13" wide). The catch is that now I have to cut the dimples off the cradles, mount what's left to a 13" wide board, then mount the board to the cross-bars. I might need to use 2 cross-bars per saddle - - Ugh! I might as well fabricats my own cradles using fiberglass and resin.

Anybody got any good ideas?


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 1:59 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 2:31 pm
Posts: 2754
Location: Kailua 96734
The trailer.

If your car is set up for a hitch, this is the no-brainer way to go. The fact is, thule racks and goalposts are NOT cheap and with custom lift solutions you could easily spend $1K on a setup and still have to deal with all the cartopping drawbacks.

You have to register the trailer, but in states like ours, you get special parking privileges at busy launches that are well worth it. You can wash it down free there as well.

On top of that, you'll spend SO much more time on the water, and have no clean up and storage hassles at home. (The TI fits nicely in one of those carport tent canopies). Move right on to cold beers and grilling your fish!

When you "weigh" the options, calculate how much your quality time and spinal column are worth to you.


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PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2014 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 19, 2007 6:14 pm
Posts: 1910
Location: South Florida
I'm a bit jaded--tired of the "car-top vs. trailer dilemma" It has always been and will be a no-brainer (NOHUHU is right!)--a trailer. The only exception is if you have absolutely no place to park a trailer. Look at the contortions people are going through to car-top. Incredible. What do they get for it? A sore back, dings & scrapes on their car, and, if you sail and live near salt-water, you get a rusted out car a few years down the road.

Just my annual, maybe semi-annual, rant.

Keith

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I sail: Biscayne Bay, Everglades to Cape Romano, Ft Desoto, Cedar Key

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex ... It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction." A. Einstein


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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2014 1:11 am 
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Location: Kailua 96734
:lol: :lol: :lol: You're accurately describing my old car. It was cherry before I decided to perch the AI on it.

And I would gladly trade in this sore back for a new one, if I could… :(


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2014 7:23 pm 
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P14WD,
I am interested in your setup. Where did you purchase your roof rack? Is it custom built? Thanks!

Levi


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Feb 04, 2011 6:27 am
Posts: 42
Location: Wantirna South VIC Australia
Hi Levi,
The roof bars are standard Thule Aero bars onto which I bolted my own custom made A-Frame and winch mechanism. Hope that helps.
Regards, Ian

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Dune Tandem Island owner as of June 2013


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2014 5:14 am 
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Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 1:58 am
Posts: 1557
Location: Forster, NSW, Australia
JohninOregon, while I actually use a trailer myself, there seems to be a lot of logic in attaching fore and aft PVC pipes spaced to match the grooves in the TI's hull. They only need to be big enough diameter to keep the centre of the hull clear of the roofrack crossbars.

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2012 Tandem Island "SIC EM"
www.scenefromabove.com.au


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