I mentioned in another thread that my new vehicle (a Mazda CX-9) was giving me Hobie-loading Headaches. In fact, it is about the least suitable SUV for car-topping that I have seen.
Here's the beast:
The Ute possesses a trifecta of loading challenges.
1. A very high roofline/railline
2. Super curved rear glass - and otherwise only curved surfaces such as bulging sides
3. A big round protruding arse that meets the bumper line
4. A severely raked front end which places the roof rack's balance well to the rear of the vehicle
5. A huge curved plastic spoiler on the rear deck incapable of supporting a Hobie
6. A total lack of 3rd party running boards or nerf bars to provide a leg up
7. Nowhere to attach front and rear tiedown straps
8. No trailer hitch.
Ok that's way more than 3 problems,.. but it's indicative of the issues anyone may face with a larger SUV, especially a 7 passenger model. (On the flip side, I can fit a full sized dishwasher with shipping carton inside the trunk, without even folding the second row of seats!
So I beat my head on the wall for a month, and this spilled out. It's one of 3 load assist solutions I just finished. This one could be called the "quick and dirty" design.
It's made from tall custom sized foam blocks, reinforced with spun plastic sidewalls and attached with 4x60lb rated suction cups on aluminum bars/sleeves. The grip is impressive. They are crowned with all weather carpet and no slip rubber mats complete the bottoms. As usual, a trip to the batcave yielded some sage advice and spare parts.
I left enough foam at the bottoms to allow some compression, so the foam could adjust to the steep curve of the glass. Even so - more would be helpful. A minimum of 5" lift was needed to clear the rear spoiler.
"Quick and dirty" ended up being a pretty solid and effective system. Fast, lightweight and cheap. The geometry is ideal and it seems stable enough to support a TI going up and down (though I will be loading an AI).
I'll share some picts of the load test soon, as well as my upgraded PVC roller design.
For now, maybe this universal design will help point other vertically challenged sailers in the right direction.
(Post #1000, what do I turn into now?