United States Patent 3669053

A water vehicle has a hull which normally rests in the water. When the vehicle comes up to high speed, it is supported at each of its four corners by any suitable means, such as hydrofoils, pontoons, or the like. A tongue is individually associated with each of the rigid interconnections and the tongues are pivotally interconnected to simultaneously turn both the front and back supports. The hydrofoils or pontoons are tipped to act as underwater ailerons to assist in banking and turning.

Application Number:
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Filing Date:
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B1/22; (IPC1-7): B63B1/28
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US Patent References:
3459146HYDROFOIL WATERCRAFTAugust 1969Prior
3267897Hydrofoil craftAugust 1966Picker

Primary Examiner:
Farrell, Andrew H.
Parent Case Data:

This is a continuation-in-part of my earlier filed application, Ser. No. 58,300, filed July 27, 1970 and entitled "Steering System Especially For Water Crafts".
I claim

1. A water craft comprising a hull for supporting the weight of the craft when stopped or traveling at low speeds,

2. The craft of claim 1 wherein there are two of said hydrofoils held in spaced parallel relationship at the front end of said hull, and

3. The craft of claim 2 and means including a ball and socket joint in the bottom of said hull for transmitting steering motion to said hydrofoils.

4. The craft of claim 3 wherein said steering means comprises a column passing through said ball and socket joint and having a tiller action with respect to said hydrofoils.

5. The craft of claim 1 and means for turning said hydrofoils in a horizontal motion while tipping the surface of said hydrofoil in a banking motion.

My invention relates to improvements in vehicle steering and more particularly -- although not exclusively -- to water crafts such as power actuated crafts or sail boats.

In general, the invention provides new and novel steering means especially well adapted for use in hydrofoil or pontoon boats. More specifically, the invention has particular application to vehicles which are difficult to maneuver or control when tight and quick turns are required. For example, the water craft here shown is adaptable to extremely high speeds, and is particularly useful in areas such as crowded resorts where there is a need for tight maneuvers under conditions wherein normal high speed boats can not operate.

In particular, the invention is concerned with banking the water craft during tight turning.

Accordingly, an object of my invention is to provide a new and improved means of steering a boat, and overcoming the frictional resistance at the contact between boat and water.

Another object of my invention is to provide a means of steering any type of water craft, especially during high speed forward movement. Still another object of my invention is to provide a device of the described type that is particularly well adapted for foils or pontoons.

A further object of my invention is to provide a means of banking the water craft during very sharp turns.

One of the most important requisites for the operation of any type of water craft is that the operator should be able to steer the craft during its forward movement, with the least amount of effort and skill. The invention provides for accomplishing this steering through use of tandem coupled pontoons, hydrofoils, or the like, which enables the craft to overcome frictional resistance at increased speed by raising above the surface of the water over which it is traveling. The steering is at both ends of the hull to enable tighter maneuvering. While the craft is resting in the water, the hydrofoils may be tilted to bank it during very tight turns.

The device is simple in construction, easy to manipulate, and may be made adaptable to many different types of water crafts and other vehicles.

Other and further objects of my invention will become more apparent as the description proceeds, when taken in conjunction with the drawings, in which:

FIG. 1 is a top plan view of an inventive water craft powered by an outboard motor and equipped with four hydrofoils or pontoons;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view of the assembled device shown and taken along line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a schematic view (taken along line 3--3 of FIG. 2) of the pontoons or hydrofoils showing the steering arrangement in a left hand path;

FIG. 4 is a similar schematic view of the pontoons or hydrofoils arranged in a straight forward path;

FIG. 5 is a similar schematic view with the pontoons or hydrofoils in a right hand turn position;

FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view of the steering gears coupled for operating only the front pontoons or hydrofoils (taken along lines 6--6 of FIGS. 1 and 2);

FIG. 7 is a cross-sectional view of an alternative embodiment; and

FIGS. 8 through 11 show various positions of the hydrofoils as they act as ailerons while the water craft banks and turns.

Similar reference characters indicate corresponding parts and features throughout the several view. More particularly, the reference character 10 generally indicates the hull of the water craft, which may have any convenient design. It many be constructed of any practical material, such as wood, plastic or metal. The hull 10 is shown with a bow 11, stern 12, front seat 13, and rear seat 14. However, the arrangement of the seats has little importance to my invention.

In FIGS. 1 and 2, an outboard motor 15 is shown attached to the stern 12 in order to propel the water craft 10 in its travel and to steer the craft while the hull is in the water.

There are four support means at the four corners of the craft, here shown as pontoons or hydrofoils. Two support means are shown as hydrofoils 16 in front and two are shown as 17 in the rear. If desired, the rear hydrofoils 17 may be mounted in a stationary manner; however, a pivotal mounting may also be used. The two front hydrofoils 16 are rigidly interconnected and supported by members 18 leading to a pivoted plate 19 (see FIG. 6). Likewise, the two rear hydrofoils 17 are rigidly interconnected by members 18. The drawing shows that the front hydrofoil support is equipped with a bevelled gear 20 which is turned by the pinion 21, attached to the steering column 22. The steering column may be attached to the bow 11 in any convenient and efficient manner. The column 22 is shown as equipped with a steering wheel 23, which is controlled by the operator of the craft. This arrangement turns the hydrofoils 16 to the right or left to guide the path of the craft.

If desired, the rear hydrofoils 17 may also be pivotally mounted for steering the water craft in a manner shown in FIGS. 3, 4 and 5.

By referring to FIGS. 3 to 5 inclusive, I show a means of steering the rear hydrofoils 17 in relation to the front hydrofoils 16. There is a tongue or lever member 24 which is integral with the pivot plate 19 supporting the front hydrofoils 16. Another tongue or lever member 25 is integral with the pivot plate 19 used for supporting the rear hydrofoils 17. The lever or tongue member 24 is provided with a vertical pin 26, and the tongue or lever 25 is equipped with a longitudinal slot 27. The pin 26 passes through the slot 27. As the front pivot plate 19 turns, the front tongue or lever member 24 swings, and the pin 26 in the member 24 slidably moves in the slot 27 of the rear tongue or lever member 25. This action swings the rear tongue or lever member 25 in an opposite direction with respect to the front tongue or lever member 24. Thus, the rear hydrofoils 17 point in an opposite direction as compared to the front hydrofoils 16. Thus, means are provided for steering the craft at bow and stern with little movement of the steering wheel 23 by the operator.

From the above description, it will become apparent that the arrangement as covered by my invention provides a steering device that is well adapted for tight maneuvering. The hydrofoils help to eliminate frictional resistance at the surface of the water. As the speed of the craft increases, the hull raises above the water and rests on the foils. The linked arrangement of the tongues or levers provides ease of steering while the water craft is so poised above the water.

FIGS. 7-11 show an alternative embodiment wherein the steering occurs with the hydrofoils 16 having freedom of movement along three mutually perpendiculr axes. More particularly, the drawing schematically shows the steering column 39 as having a ball and socket joint 40 at the point where it passes through the hull. Actually, the ball and socket are here intended to generically disclose any suitable gearing giving a similar degree of freedom of hydrofoil movement.

The driver sits in seat 13, braces his feet against a foot rest 41, and grasps the steering wheel 42. By a combination of tiller motion, up and down motion, and steering motion, the hydrofoils may be pointed, turned, or tilted in almost any direction.

Thus, for example, FIGS. 7 and 8 show the hydrofoils 16 in a horizontal position such as might be used when the water craft is traveling in a straight line. When the water craft is moving and turning at relatively slow speed, the full weight of the hull 10 is resting in the water, and the hydrofoils 16 may be tipped in an aileron like movement (FIG. 9) responsive to steering forces applied to the steering wheel 42 and column 39. This hydrofoil turning or tipping assists in counteracting any skidding which might occur as the boat makes tight turns. If the boat is turned in an opposite direction, the turning and tipping is in an opposite direction, as shown by dashed line at 18a, and 39a, for example.

As the craft acquires higher speeds, the hydrofoils tend to lift some of the craft's weight out of the water. For a certain speed range, (FIG. 10), the hull 10 is partially lifted out of the water so that the hydrofoils will cause the hull to bank somewhat in response to the movement of the hydrofoils.

Finally, the craft comes up to the speeds where hydroplaning occurs (FIG. 11). At these high speeds, the tilting of the hydrofoils will cause the hydrofoil on one side, bearing the greater weight, to bite into the water slightly by more than the other side. This greatly assists in reducing skidding.

Although I have shown a specific arrangement of the parts and features constituting my invention, changes may be made without effecting the operativeness of the device. Therefore, the claims are to be constructed to cover all equivalents which fall within the spirit and scope of my invention.