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This application claims the benefit of priority from U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/596,078, filed Aug. 29, 2005, the disclosure of which is incorporated by reference herein in its entirety.
1. Field of the Invention
The present invention relates to a method and kit for constructing a small water craft, and the water craft so constructed. Particularly, the present invention is directed to a method and kit for constructing an outrigger canoe.
2. Description of Related Art
Previously, modern outrigger canoes have been only the domain of the Hawaiian boat industry. The length and size of these modern Hawaiian manufactured outrigger canoes makes them difficult and costly to ship to the continental United States. Standard production one and two man outrigger canoes are made of Fiberglass or Carbon Fiber. These materials make the boats costly to manufacture and are thus priced beyond what the average enthusiast can afford.
Generally, an outrigger canoe has a smaller frontal area than a kayak, which greatly reduces hydrodynamic drag, thus increasing top speed. Since an outrigger canoe has a stabilizing pontoon, the outrigger canoe makes for a more stable craft than a single hull allowing the boat to be safely paddled in rougher waters and by less experienced paddlers. An outrigger canoe's waterline is generally longer than that of a kayak, decreasing drag from waves, allowing for larger waves to be “surfed” and decreasing the paddler's overall effort. An outrigger canoe has a smaller cross section, allowing the paddler to place their canoe paddle into the water closer to their body, where they have improved leverage and comfort. If capsized, an outrigger canoe can be boarded from the water without specialized rescue equipment, assistance from others or a skilled maneuver such as an Eskimo roll. An outrigger canoe also offers an open cockpit, allowing the paddler to move their legs and stay more comfortable. Alternatively, a kayak cockpit forces a paddler to keep their legs in an extended position with little room for movement. Long periods of time with the legs in an extended position in which they do not move can lead to muscle discomfort.
Furthermore, the wooden boat kit building business is presently focused on the kayak, and is geared largely to a method of construction advantageous for such a boat. Generally, wooden kit kayak kits use a stitch and glue assembly method, which produces seams in the hull that create added anti roll stability advantageous for a kayak paddler. However, such a design leads to decreased hydrodynamic performance and increased weight, which is less than desirable.
As can be seen, there is a continued need in the art for new and innovative techniques for constructing boats, such as outrigger canoes and the like. There is also a continued need in the art for a kit for making boats that is relatively inexpensive and easy to use. The present invention provides a solution for these problems.
The purpose and advantages of the present invention will be set forth in and apparent from the description that follows. Additional advantages of the invention will be realized and attained by the methods and systems particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof, as well as from the appended drawings.
The invention provides a kit and associated method for making a boat, such as an outrigger canoe. The kit may include prefabricated components made from a variety of materials, including for example, wooden panels, wooden spars, fiberglass, epoxy, metal hardware, manufactured supplies and building materials. With the contents of the kit a person will be able to construct a wooden hulled outrigger canoe. A variety of other materials and techniques may be employed for assembling the boat, as described herein.
It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and are intended to provide further explanation of the invention claimed.
The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated in and constitute part of this specification, are included to illustrate and provide a further understanding of the method and system of the invention. It is noted that the drawings of the depicted embodiments made in accordance with the invention are not to scale. The drawings are intended to depict only typical aspects of devices, kits and systems made in accordance with the invention, and therefore should not be considered as limiting the scope of the invention. Together with the description, the drawings serve to explain the principles of the invention.
FIG. 1 depicts an isometric view of a kit for constructing a boat in accordance with the invention.
FIG. 2 depicts a front view of a completed outrigger canoe made in accordance with a present invention with a user paddling the canoe.
FIG. 3 depicts a side view of the canoe depicted in FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 depicts a perspective view of a completed outrigger canoe made in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 5 depicts a perspective view of a completed outrigger canoe made in accordance with the present invention.
FIG. 6 depicts an isometric view of a cockpit of an outrigger canoe from the rear right of craft.
FIG. 7 depicts the steps of building a kit provided in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.
Reference will now be made in detail to the present preferred embodiments of the invention, examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. The method and corresponding steps of the invention will be described in conjunction with the detailed description of the kit and system.
The devices and methods presented herein may be used for assembling and providing small water craft. The present invention is particularly suited for providing a kit and related construction techniques for making an outrigger canoe. It will appreciated, however, that the construction techniques provided herein may be applied to a variety of water craft, including rowing shells and catamarans, among others.
In contrast to the kayak kits described in the Background section above, in accordance with one aspect of the invention, an outrigger canoe kit is provided having a set of precut panels. If desired, these precut panels may not exceed eight feet in length to facilitate shipping of the kit. Specifically, the shorter length of the precut panels can make shipping much less expensive. These panels can be made from wood. Manufacturing a kit of pre-cut wood is less expensive than building a complete boat. These cost savings can be passed along to the consumer.
Furthermore, the wooden boat kit building business, a market focused on the kayak form, is dominated by method of construction that is counterintuitive to systems and methods disclosed herein. For example, wooden kit kayak kits use a stitch and glue assembly method, which produces seams in the hull that create added anti roll stability advantageous for a kayak paddler. However, such a design leads to decreased hydrodynamic performance and increased weight. As disclosed herein, compared with many other types of small craft, the invention provides many advantages.
The systems and methods of the present invention can provide significant advantages over current outrigger canoe production boats. For example, current single man production outrigger canoe boats are only available made from composite materials such as carbon fiber and fiberglass. The disclosed invention permits construction of an outrigger canoe made partly or even mostly from wood. In addition, current outrigger canoe production boats are almost exclusively manufactured in Hawaii making it difficult for people who do not live there to purchase one due to inconvenient shipping size. Current production outrigger canoes are very expensive due to the composite materials and limited production.
In contrast, in accordance with one aspect of the invention, an outrigger canoe kit is provided made from a plurality of smaller preformed pieces, allowing the outrigger canoe to be shipped in much smaller boxes than an assembled boat. In accordance with one embodiment of the invention, Okoume plywood can be used in construction of the outrigger canoe kit. Okoume plywood has a higher strength to weight ratio than fiberglass, providing an assembled boat with enhanced strength. Moreover, wooden boats offer an antiquated charm over their composite counterparts, which is also attractive for consumers. In addition, an outrigger canoe boat kit can be manufactured for as little as one third of the cost of a production composite outrigger canoe. Such a cost savings can readily be passed on to the consumer.
In accordance with a further aspect of the invention, a construction technique is described employing tortured plywood construction. In tortured plywood construction, two panels are used to create the hull of the boat. These panels are generally attached to each other along keel (e.g., by wiring) and then forced upward and out to be attached at the ends There are a number of advantages afforded by the tortured plywood construction disclosed herein, versus stitch and glue construction common to kayak kits. For example, stitch and glue construction implements multiple seams in the hull, which creates weak points in the craft and increased stresses in the joints. Tortured plywood construction, on the other hand, can provide a single seam hull that increases overall strength by minimizing joints. Tortured plywood construction also includes less material, which can decrease the overall weight of a craft. Tortured plywood construction can also be used to implement the narrow beam and rounded hull design required by the outrigger canoe due to slight bending of surfaces along the canoe's length.
As mentioned above, the invention provides the components necessary to build an outrigger canoe in the form of a kit. The kit is designed with the novice builder in mind, the goal being to make the outrigger canoe easy to construct with a minimum number of tools necessary. The kit can also be designed for different building methods and different levels of building skill. Depending on the time a builder is willing to invest and their skill level, the kit can be oriented towards quicker or more professional results. Building the kit can provide a rewarding and fun experience for the builder of the boat. Further, the kit will yield a boat for less money than it would cost to buy a similar boat.
With respect to the drawings attached, FIG. 1 documents the components of one embodiment of an Outrigger Canoe Kit made in accordance with the invention. The reference numerals depicted in FIG. 1 represent as follows:
1 Hull Panels. Hull panels 1 form the sides of the hull. For manufacturing purposes, panels 1 may be cut using a CNC router, router with templates, or laser cut, among others. In accordance with one aspect of the invention, panels 1 are provided in the form of Okume plywood because it is thin and bendable. However, as will be appreciated by those of skill in the art, other suitable types of plywood may also be used, such as meranti and birch plywood. As depicted, a plurality of panels is used to make each side of the hull of the boat, in this case three panels. Breaking each side up into smaller pieces facilitates making the kit of the invention. The panels 1 can be any suitable length. As depicted, providing three panels 1 to make up each side of the hull represents an advantageous compromise to permit panels that do not substantially exceed eight (8) feet in length to facilitate shipping. It will be appreciated that more or less panels can be used depending on the precise boat constructed and its specific design.
2 Gunwales. Gunwales 2, which may also be formed of wood, allow the deck of the boat to be attached to the hull sides. Larger pieces of spruce lumber, for example, can be ripped to form thin strips of square stock to form gunwales 2. It will be appreciated that a variety of materials, both natural and synthetic, can be used to make gunwales 2.
3 Deck Panels. Deck Panels 3 may be formed from plywood, for example, and are used to form the deck of the boat. For manufacture, the panels 3 may be cut using a CNC router, router with templates or laser cut, among others. If plywood is used, the type of plywood is preferably Okume plywood, but may be any other suitable plywood, as disclosed herein.
4 Crossbeams. Crossbeams 4 may be formed into a curved shape by laminating and gluing strips of wood together on a jig and clamping, for example. For simplicity and efficacy, straight crossbeams may alternately be employed.
5 Pontoon Panels. Pontoon panels 5 form the body of the outrigger pontoon. For manufacture, the panels may be cut using a CNC router, router with templates, or laser cut. As with the other panels, the material used preferably includes Okume plywood, but may include other materials as disclosed herein.
6 Bulkheads. Bulkheads 6 are used to form the cross-sections of the main hull. For manufacture the panels may be cut using a CNC router, router with templates or Laser cut. As with other panels of the boat, the material used preferably includes Okume plywood, but may include other materials as disclosed herein.
7 Epoxy and Filler. Epoxy and Filler 7 are provided to glue parts of the boat together, to saturate fiberglass and reinforce joints. Filler can be used to change the consistency of the epoxy depending on the builder's application.
8 Composite Tape. Composite tape or fabric 8 can be used to reinforce and seal joints (such as copper wire joints) formed during construction. Composite tape can be made from a variety of materials, including fiberglass, carbon fiber and the like.
9 Wire/Cord. Wire or cord, preferably copper wire, is used to wire the hull joints together temporarily until the joints have been reinforced with fiberglass and epoxy.
10 Bolts and Hardware: Bolts and hardware 10 are used to attach the crossbeams 4 to the main hull, and the outrigger to the crossbeams. Using bolts will allow the user to take the boat apart into smaller pieces as needed for transportation and storage, for example.
11 Seat. Seat 11 can be molded of composite or plastic materials, or be made from foam. The foam can be hard or soft, as desired.
12 Cockpit Combing Panels. Cockpit combing panels 12 are used for shielding the cockpit opening from oncoming waves. For manufacture, these panels 12 may be cut using a CNC router, router with templates, or laser cut. As with other panels of the boat, the material used preferably includes Okume plywood, but may include other materials as disclosed herein.
13 Pedals. Pedals 13 are used by the user for steering the rudder of the boat via cable connection. Pedals 13 are preferably made in the form of a precut shape and are preferably made from aluminum or plywood, for example.
14 Hinges. Hinges 14 are used for anchoring the pedals to the hull 101. Hinges 14 are preferably made from stainless steel or other non-corrosive metal.
15 Cables. Cables 15 are preferable made from a strong, non-corrosive material such as stainless steel. Cables 15 transfer the force from the pedals to the cross member of the rudder.
16 Rudder. Rudder 16 is used to steer the boat. Rudder 16 can be made from a molded piece, or built by the home builder with plywood sides and a spar down the center of the rudder;
17 Rudder Axle. Rudder axle 17 can be made of Carbon fiber, Fiberglass, aluminum, or any other suitable corrosion resistant material, as desired.
18 Rudder Axle Tube. Rudder Axle Tube 18 is used to seal the bottom of boat 150 where the rudder axle passes through the boat. The rudder axle tube 18 can be made of carbon fiber, fiberglass or plastic, as desired.
19 Rudder Axle Cross Member. The Rudder axle cross member 19 transfers the force from the foot pedals 13 to the rudder axle cross member, turning the rudder 16.
20 Instructions. A thorough instruction manual 20 allows a relatively handy person with no experience to build a complete boat from the kit.
21 Cockpit hatch plates. Cockpit hatch plates 21 provide access points that allow the user to store small objects such as lunch or a water bottle inside the boat. They also provide a point to sponge out any water that has entered into the boat. Alternately, if desired, large deck hatches are possible for more storage space;
It will be appreciated that the above embodiment of the kit of the invention is merely exemplary and not intended to be limiting. The depicted kit shows some of the possible components of the kit. Additions and subtractions are possible and the aforementioned components are not the soul embodiment of the invention. In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, strip building may be employed. In accordance with this embodiment of the invention, strips of wood are provided to build the hull along with other suitable components. Moreover, other variations of the kit are possible, employing one or more of tortured plywood construction, stitch and glue construction, skin on frame construction and strip building construction, as appropriate. While stitch and glue construction is not the most preferred embodiment of the invention, a kit using such techniques is nonetheless within the scope of the present invention.
FIG. 2 shows a frontal view of the completed outrigger canoe 150 with a person paddling. The main hull 101 may be constructed in a variety of methods as described herein. Tortured plywood, stitch and glue, strip building and planking are some of the techniques, which can be used to build the main hull 101. The rudder 102 (such as rudder 16 in the kit) can be used to steer the boat with foot pedals as disclosed herein or other suitable actuated control apparatus. In shorter embodiments of boat 150, the rudder 102 may be replaced with a skeg if desired. Alternatively, a rudder 102 need not be used at all. The Canoe Paddle 103 in this embodiment is a single bladed canoe paddle. It may be made from a variety of materials such as wood, aluminum, plastic and composite. It may be included as part of the kit or be available separately. If desired, the components necessary to construct the paddle may be included in the kit. A plurality of bolts 104 are used to attach the cross beams 106 (such as members 4 in the kit) to the main hull 101, and used to attach the outrigger pontoon 107 to the cross beams 106. Alternative attachments such as quick release pins or socket joints may be used also. As depicted, the operator 105 is facing forward paddling with a single bladed canoe paddle. The crossbeams often referred to as iakos 106 may be made of laminated wood, wooden spar stock, aluminum, carbon fiber or other material connect the outrigger pontoon to the main hull. The outrigger pontoon 107 may be made of plywood, as described herein, but can be made from other materials. The pontoon 107 may be constructed using stitch and glue, tortured plywood, strip planking techniques or other suitable means of construction. The gunwale 108 (such as gunwale 2 in the kit) may be a strip of wood, which allows the deck to be attached to the lower hull of the boat.
FIG. 3 depicts a completed outrigger canoe 150 with a user 105 paddling from the side. The reference numerals are the same as in FIG. 2. Additionally, the Rudder crossbar 109 (such as 19 in the kit above) connects the cables actuated by foot pedals to the axle which the rudder rotates on.
FIG. 4 depicts a plan view of the completed boat 150. The reference numerals are the same as in FIGS. 2 and 3. Additionally, the rudder axle 110 (such as axle 17 in the kit above) is preferably located in the center of the rudder cross bar 109 traveling downwards within the boat through the center of the rudder 102. This bar 109 can be made of composite, metal or wood. The foot pedals (such as 13 in the kit above) articulate forward and backward on hinges (e.g., hinges 14 in the kit above). Cables are attached to these pedals, and the ends of the rudder cross bar. Moving these pedals turns the crossbar, which in turn moves the rudder. Alternate ways of actuating the rudder are also possible. For example, a bar between the feet can be moved back and forth actuating a rudder. The seat 112 (such as seat 11 in the kit above) can be made in a variety of ways, molded foam, molded plastic and molded composite are some of the options.
FIG. 5 shows an isometric view of the completed boat 150 without the paddler. Items with numbers between 101 and 112 are the same as in FIGS. 2, 3 and 4. The rudder 102 is connected to the rudder crossbar 109 by an axial piece 121, which continues though the rudder 102 giving the rudder its strength.
FIG. 6 shows an isometric view of the cockpit 140 of the boat 150 from the right rear. Items with numbers between 101 and 112 are the same as before. Item 114 is a hatch which serves to vent the front of the hull 101, which is sealed and provides storage for the paddler. The hatch in the picture is a 4 inch screw type hatch. Many alternative embodiments for hatches are possible. The hatch can be relocated to the deck, and made larger enabling the paddler to store larger items for longer trips. The cables 115 (such as 15 I the kit above) are used to connect the actuation of the pedals to the actuation of the rudder crossbar. In the depicted embodiment, the cables 115 are stainless steel and pass under the seat through the rear bulkhead and through the deck ahead of the rudder crossbar. Alternative embodiments are possible.
FIG. 7 depicts a summation of the building process of for the kit. FIG. 7, Letters A-G, represent the building steps involved with a boat builder building one embodiment of the kit. Letter A, of FIG. 7, shows separate pieces of the kit, which will be used to form the hull. The two long pieces thin pieces are the gunwales 2 from the kit. These may be composed of solid spars of wood, which are scarfed and glued together to form gunwales that will span the final length of the boat. The other six pieces are precision cut panels 1 from the kit. These panels are preferably each less than eight feet long making it easy to mail the kit to a builder.
Letter B of FIG. 7 depicts the six panels after they are scarfed and glued together to form two large panels. Later these two sides will form the sides of the main hull 101. The gunwales 2 are also scarfed together and then glued to the top edges of the main hull 101. The gunwales 2 will later form a gluing surface for attaching the deck to the main hull. At this point, the builder will have completed two large panels 201 that have gunwales 2 glued to them.
Letter C of FIG. 7 depicts the two panels 201 after they have been attached at the keel 202. The builder takes the panels 201 and drills holes in along the edge of each panel 201, which is to become part of the keel joint 202 of the boat 150. The holes in each side 201 will be along the bottom edge, which is the opposite side of the gun wale. Each hole will have a corresponding hole in the opposite panel, allowing them to be wired together. Wire, such as copper wire, is then passed though the corresponding holes along what will form the keel of the boat, and the keel is then wired together. At this point, the keel exists 202 in the form of a seam which is wired together. The hull 101 is then spread apart making the angle of the keel joint more obtuse until the angle of the keel matches the angle that will be used in the final craft. This angle is formed by the two flat sides of the hull and the meeting point of the keel 202. If one wanted to measure this angle it would be done in accordance with a plane normal to the length of the boat and parallel with the bulkheads of the boat. The angle is fixed by using various spreader bars 300 to keep the hull apart. This angle is not consistent. It varies along the length of the boat. It will be more acute at the bow and stem and more obtuse in the middle. The keel 202 joint is then reinforced with fiberglass tape and epoxy resin. This reinforcement will force the keel joint to keep the exact angles given by the spreaders.
Letter D of FIG. 7 depicts the torturing step of the building of hull 101. In this step the builder uses ropes or straps to pull apart the sides 201 of the hull 101. The spreaders 300, which are holding the sides 201 of the hull apart 101, are then removed. The wires protruding from the bottom of the boat are sanded off. The boat is then wrapped with ropes or straps 400 along its length. The ropes or straps 400 are gradually tightened along the length of the boat 150. Because the keel 202 is fixed at an obtuse angle by the fiberglass, the boat hull forms a shape with a three dimensional curvature. This step is known as “torturing” the plywood.
Letter E of FIG. 7 depicts the attaching of the deck 210. After the hull 101 has its shape, from the previous torturing step the inside of the hull 101 is fitted with bulkheads 206, cable routing 115, rudder internals and other internal mechanisms of the boat 150. After the internals of the boat have been completed the deck 210 is then attached. The deck greatly increases the strength and rigidity of the boat 150.
Letter F of FIG. 7 depicts the attachment of the crossbeams and other parts. After the deck 210 has been attached, the cockpit combing and seat can be added. The pontoon 107 is constructed using stitch and glue construction. This involves the builder wiring a number of panels together then reinforcing them with fiberglass. The crossbeams and the outrigger pontoon are fitted for hardware. The crossbeams and outrigger pontoon are bolted on instead of glued to allow for quick disassembly when traveling with the boat.
Letter F of FIG. 7 depicts the boat after the builder has completed all of the steps.
The construction method in FIG. 7 is just one embodiment of how the wooden outrigger canoe kit could be constructed. It is not meant to limit the scope of the invention. The wooden outrigger canoe kit can utilize different types of construction methods if the builder requires changes in performance, aesthetics, or simplicity.
For example the kit can let the builder utilize strip building. In this form of construction the builder would build a strong back. Then the builder would use a number of cross-section patterns along the strong back, approximating the shape of the hull. Using strips of wood, the builder would build the hull of the boat along the forms of the strong back, by gluing long thin strips of wood together. These strips of wood would be held in place by the cross-sectional patterns and glued alongside one another orientated parallel with the length of the boat. Eventually the strips will cover the patterns and form a hull. This can be covered with fiberglass for extra strength. This same building method can be used for the deck. The positive of such a building method is the ability to control cross sectional shape. Also different colors of strips can be chosen for aesthetics. In this embodiment of the kit the builder would receive long thin strips of solid wood instead of cut pieces of plywood.
Another alternative construction method is known as stitch and glue construction. This method of building is similar to the tortured plywood method of construction. The builder would receive cut plywood shapes not wood strips. The shapes would then be glued together forming a number of larger longer panels. These panels would then be wired together forming the hull. The geometric shape of the panels forms the shape of the hull. The wired seams are then reinforced with fiberglass. The deck is attached and the hull is fitted out. This is perhaps the easiest building method, but leaves angled seams in the hull known as chines.
Moreover, it is possible to make a wooden outrigger canoe kit by combining different building methods. Also outrigger canoe kits can be made, which add, omit or change steps. It is intended that these variations be covered by this invention.
It should also be appreciated that, while use of plywood has been emphasized herein for cost reasons, any suitable material can be used to form panels of the kit embodied herein, and is clearly in accordance with the invention.
As can be seen, a kit, method and corresponding water craft are provided that allows a home builder to construct a wooden outrigger canoe. These types of canoes have previously been very expensive and only available in Hawaii. Outrigger canoe kits provided in accordance with the invention can make this and other types of boats available to handy capable builders everywhere for a fraction of the cost of an assembled boat. These types of boats have many advantages such as stability and comfort over conventional paddle craft such a canoes and kayaks.
It will be appreciated that the techniques and specifics described herein are for illustration and clarification purposes only. They are not meant to limit the scope of the invention. Other variations than those mentioned are possible and the above example is merely to depict exemplary embodiments of the invention. For example, specific materials, such as Okume plywood, if desired, could be replaced by higher cost materials, perhaps improving on the tortured plywood method and boat performance.
Thus, the methods and systems of the present invention, as described above and shown in the drawings, provide for a kit and associated method and product with superior properties. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that various modifications and variations can be made in the device and method of the present invention without departing from the spirit or scope of the invention. Thus, it is intended that the present invention include modifications and variations that are within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.