Rolling kayak rack

Our Rule #1: Make as few holes in the boat as possible, especially on horizontal surfaces.

With above rule in mind, we set out to make a kayak rack. We started with 2 closet poles cut to fit across the PH roof. The supports, in the shape of snails, are made from mahogany scraps, as are the base pieces. Cut a channel groove (1/8″ deep) into the base to accept the snail. The dimensions (shown below) are quite arbitrary. We cut a 1 1/2″ hole 1″ down from the top for the pole and two smaller holes for attaching lines.

Paint the snails, base, and poles white with two coats of exterior boat paint and glue some white rubber material to the bottom of the base. The rubber will prevent the snails from scratching the boat and provide some non-skid traction as well.

Buy 2 lengths of PVC pipe to fit over the closet pole. Decide where the kayaks will ride and cut the PVC pipe so you have three sections for each pole. The pipe have two purposes. First, they roll as you pull the kayaks across them and second, they act as spacers, keeping the snails in place.

Allow a little more than an inch of free pole at either end after the snails and PVC pipe are in place. Drill a hole through the diameter of the pole large enough to insert a 4″ bolt. Insert one end of the line in one of the lower holes, run it up and around the pole completely once then out the lower hole. Secure the two ends with a square knot around the hand rail (see photo).

We secure the kayaks with lengths of white bungee cord to the poles fore and aft.

The kayaks fit under the bow rail through the first “hole” on either side of the bow. To lower one into the water, we first make sure the painter is securely attached and running free, undo the bungee, flip the kayaks over, roll them forward and through the bow pulpit on the opposite side of where they’re stored–i.e., the starboard-stored kayak enters the water through the forward port-side bow rails. Reverse the procedure when pulling them out of the water.

We’ve used this design on our 26′ Nordic Tug and then made it larger for our 32′. It has served us well.

Ruth Jansson & Bette Conner
Annie B – NT 32-172