Roof Topper Tips

Submitted: Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 10:55
ThreadID: 55469 Views:3809 Replies:5 FollowUps:8
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Gday, heading up the Kimberly and top end and want to get a tinny to put on the roof rack. There are a couple of concerns if anyone has some tips please:

1: we want a small light one 10-12 foot to make it easy to lift onto the rack, is this big enough with crocs around? The missus is scared sh..less of crocs (I am too).

2: what is a good sized outboard? around the creeks I suppose only a small motor would do, but there will always be some chop to go through getting to mangroves or on lake argyle. Is a little 4hp motor sufficient? what size should i be looking at, bearing in mind we want to reduce weight and cost.


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Reply By: bruce - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 11:17

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 11:17
Sssshh..but I think I have just what you want...if you have not already teed one up , and depending on where in SA you are and if you actually want it / them...I am not very far away and the price will be reasonable...bruce350atripperdotcomdotau.....flat bottom 10ft very light weight..very, very good condition and very good motor....have not decided yet which one is to go...6hp johno or 7.5hp evinrude..but probably the johnson...cheers
AnswerID: 292290

Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 11:31

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 11:31
Thanks for the offer Bruce, but I'm actually in the Pilbara at the moment. Working up here saving money for travelling. Will have a whole dry season to go 4wding and fishing!

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Reply By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 12:29

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 12:29
I wouldnt get anything under 12" with a 15hp.
If a croc wants to get into a 16'' he will, but the bigger the boat the better your chance. The trick is not to put yourself in a position where one wants to. But 10"...not me!
As for motors...It depends on what you want to do.....Putter around in a couple of esturies, you might get away with a 4hp.
But 2 people and a bit of gear with the tide running against you and a head wind.......Id rather my chances in a canoe !

While in Kalbari recently they were hireing little tinnies with about 4hp's on them.....4 people in the boat, no wind, bugger all tide movement and my daughter and I where overtaking them in our canoe!

Try hiring a couple first and see what you think.

AnswerID: 292302

Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 13:44

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 13:44
What do you mean "if a croc wants to get into a boat he can"?
I didn't know crocs were known for getting into/tipping over boats? Are they known to do that or just scare the crap out of people as they swim by?
What position could you put yourself in where a croc would want to join you in the boat?
I openly admit I need to learn more about their behaviour.

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Follow Up By: Hairy (NT) - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 14:18

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 14:18
Generally they just scare the crap out of you but I know of a few close calls where people have done silly things like cleaning their fish over the side and a big gecko pokes his head up and rests it in the side of the boat..... or go in to have a better look at them (in breeding) and basically getting a bit too friendly .....hence bigger is better.
It is a third hand story but an old bloke in Darwin who Ive been fishing with reckons his mate had one land in the boat.....Apparantley fishing the same spot to often and throwing scraps in, while in a little tinnie..

Just keep your wits about you and stay away from them.
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Reply By: Member - lyndon K (SA) - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 13:22

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 13:22
Just bought a 3.75 Mako Craft Topper Tracker, will be using it with a 15hp. As said,with strong tides get a 15hp.
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Reply By: mowing - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 17:48

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 17:48
If it was me I would not use anything under 60'. This is the only way I would know that there are no crocs in the water bigger than the boat! Those little suckers haven't survived all these years by ignoring every opportunity for a feed!!

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Reply By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 18:38

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 18:38
Barnsey, a 12 footer is fine, but I wouldn't go much smaller in croc country. Our first rooftopper was a 3.5m (about 12 foot) Stacer Seasprite. Big enough to be comfortable, high enough sides to feel safe and deep enough V to handle a bit of chop.

I would not go for a flat bottom punt. Although they are nice and stable at rest, they typically have low sides and you will get very wet and uncomfortable if there is any chop in esturies or bigger lakes.

I also recommend a 15 HP outboard. The Mercury weighs 35 KG and the Yamaha 36 KG from memory, so not too heavy. With a 15 HP on a 12 foot boat, you can get on the plane quickly with 2 people and gear on board. A smaller motor might struggle to do that. We have never had trouble with crocs, but it is nice to know you can 'get the hell out of Dodge' if you want to.

My wife was real worried about crocs at first, but while still cautious (highly recommended) she is now quite comfortable in the boat when they are around.

With a 12 footer, loading by hand is not difficult if you put rollers on your rear bars right at the back of the vehicle. I used to load and unload the Stacer by myself.

Set your bars up (possibly add a 3rd if you don't have one), so you can carry a basket under the boat. You can carry all your light, but bulky stuff in thier like fuel tank, seats (recommended) life jackets, crab and red claw pots, etc). I load the boat, then lift one side and prop it up to pack the stuff underneath.

We have now upgraded to a 3.75m Quintrex and 20 HP motor, but we spend a lot of time in the boat and cover a lot of water in some places, so I went for a bit more speed and comfort.

If you have not done so, check out the Roof Toppers article on this site.

Norm C
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Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 19:31

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 19:31
Thanks for that Norm. Just a couple of points, if you have a basket on the roof bars how can you slide the tinny over it?

I was thinking of tying the outboard (and fuel tank, life jackets etc) into the bottom of the tinny before loading it, I am struggling for other space. Would that be an option or would that make it too heavy to lift? I was planning to get a little winch mounted on the bull bar to pull it up.

Thanks again

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Follow Up By: Member - Norm C (QLD) - Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 20:33

Wednesday, Mar 12, 2008 at 20:33
Barnsey, there is no problem getting the boat up with a basket, when the basket is empty. At the worst, the front thwart will rest on the basket for a while until it gets to the front end.

I'd rather use a basket than try to tie stuff (particularly the motor) into the boat. Apart from the weight getting it up, you might be in trouble if whatever you use to hold the motor in gives way. Big dent in roof and a stuffed motor?

I have a friend who uses his winch to help load his boat. Works fine, but make sure there is something to ensure the boat does not slip off sideways as it is loaded.

Norm C
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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 09:48

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 09:48
Sorry to but in but there are other options off course. My travelling companion always lifted his boat over the basket it was all to do with the angle of the boat. This involved considerable muscle and none of us are getting any younger. The other way is what I use,

Kind regards
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Follow Up By: Member - Barnesy - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 10:54

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 10:54
Thanks Beatit. I have seen these tossers but they are too expensive. Several grand, they are good though.

But I am interested in that frame holding the motor in the tinny though. How is it sucured to the inside of the tinny? Or is it part of the frame of the tosser? That is exactly the type of thing I want to store the motor.

Does the spare tyre on the rear door get in the way of the boat as it's being loaded?

What HP is that motor and how have you found it performs in tides/chop etc?

Thanks again

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Follow Up By: Member - Beatit (QLD) - Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 12:38

Thursday, Mar 13, 2008 at 12:38
G'day Barnesy,

I know not cheap - but has been very reliable.

The frame was made by the guy that made the rack however all the retaining bits were done by me. The frame mates up with 4 tabs on the tinnie floor to which it is bolted for travel. It has worked veryy well so far.

There is a "T" piece that goes in the towbar receiver to keep the tinnie at bay.

Like others I have a 15 HP that has been perfect for 2 on board and that includes plenty of exposed water - weather permitting off course.

That is Kalumburu (landmass) in the background.

Kind regards
FollowupID: 557895

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