Roof racks and spacing for carrying kayaks and canoes.
Canoes and kayaks vary in length and in general the longer the boat the longer the spacing should be between the bars. However, as the boats tend to go to a vee shape towards the ends so do not sit well on flat bars if the length between them is too large.
My bars have 95cm between them and boats sit well either flat or on their sides. This does not have to apply if you have cradles to sit them in but again 95 – 100cm is ideal for sea kayaks in cradles or river kayaks flat or on side.
Racing boats are often carried in V shaped carriers with extra length but most general-purpose kayaks sit well with 95cm spacing.
Your spacing of 65cm seems a little close but will depend on how your kayaks sits at that spacing. A 3m kayak may bounce and pitch up and down as you go over bumps. Car and roof rack spacing maybe for general luggage (eg suit cases).
The width referred to in previous emails is the width of the bars and it helps to have bars that stick out a little.
Try to avoid trendy sculptured bars (see photo below) recommended by some manufactures. The curve and plastic fittings at the end mean that kayaks do not sit well and in practice you cannot fit many kayaks on the bars!
I recommend the Thule aero system below – with an extra 10cm on either end it is ideal for carrying several kayaks.
A final word – roof racks are only rated for a maximum 75 or 100kg of weight on top. Crashing or breaking at speed with kayaks on can mean they tear the roof rack off, brake the straps or slip out and hurtle through the rear window of the vehicle in front like a missile. You would not want to be responsible for a major accident on a motorway or other major road. Consider strong tie downs front and rear to tow bars or towing eyes.
Let’s be safe while transporting kit.