To carry your shell on top of your car, you will need good modern racks, because of the boat’s length. Remember your investment, and don’t scrimp on cheap racks designed to carry surfboards that are a third the length and a fraction of the weight. Yakima and Thule make excellent rack systems, with saddles that fit the shape of these shells. They even have units that attach to aerodynamically shaped (no rain gutters) cars. Burnham Boat Slings, Hudson and others make car top carriers designed specifically for rowing shells.
Set the rack’s crossbars as far apart as you can so that you can balance the boat evenly as you do when storing it on the ground, with the crossbars dividing the shell roughly into thirds. On many vehicles this may not be possible but make every effort to install the crossbars as far apart as possible. (If you cannot get a minimum of 6’ distance between the crossbars and you travel long distances or frequently with your shell, you should consider one of the car top carriers mentioned above). Strap the boat down securely, but not so tightly you dent the hull. Before using your straps, check to ensure none are frayed or have begun to tear. Remember gel coat can be easily scratched, so be sure to keep all metal parts of the straps away from the shell. If you are taking a long trip, check now and again that the boat is still secure. We recommend that a safety line be tied from the bow and stern of the shell to the bumpers or towing hooks of your vehicle.
Since these boats are quite long, there’s always some question as to what’s legal. Laws and attitudes vary from state to state; check the applicable local laws with the State Police. Most state require a flag on the back of the shell.
If you choose a cover for your shell during transport, we recommend that the cover be lined or quilted, as an unlined cover is likely to be torn or chafed by the straps and can even abrade the gelcoat finish of the boat.