Title:
Marine fender system
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A marine fender system including an L-shaped member having a spindle on which is rotatably mounted a fender, and an arm portion which is releasably connected to a locking assembly flush-mounted at an edge of a platform proximate to water.



Inventors:
Leonard, Larry (Napa, CA, US)
Lucchesi, Frank (Napa, CA, US)
Application Number:
10/012084
Publication Date:
05/02/2002
Filing Date:
11/29/2001
Assignee:
LEONARD LARRY
LUCCHESI FRANK
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B59/02; (IPC1-7): B63B59/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
VASUDEVA, AJAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Donald Diamond (Napa, CA, US)
Claims:

What is claimed is:



1. A marine fender system comprising: an L-shaped member having a spindle portion of a preselected length, an elbow portion attached at a juncture to the spindle portion, and an arm portion attached to the elbow portion and generally parallel to the spindle portion, the arm portion terminating in an end portion, the spindle, elbow and arm portions substantially coplanar, said end portion releasably connected at an edge of a platform proximate to water; and a marine fender of a preselected length and diameter having a body portion generally cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall having an outer surface, and top and bottom portions, each said portion circumferentially attached to said wall and having a central hole therethrough, said holes being opposed ends of a tube disposed along said axis, said spindle portion closely received within the tube, the fender freely rotatable about the spindle portion, said juncture flexing when a predetermined minimum torque is exerted on the spindle portion due to a predetermined minimum pressure on the fender, so that the fender executes small vibrational motions in the plane determined by the spindle, elbow and arm portions.

2. A marine fender system comprising: an L-shaped member having a spindle portion of a preselected length, an elbow portion attached to the spindle portion, and an arm portion attached to the elbow portion and generally parallel to the spindle portion, the arm portion terminating in an end portion; a sleeve determined by a polygonal outer surface, upper and lower ends, and a bore therethrough, said end portion closely received within the bore and attached to the sleeve; a marine fender of a preselected length and diameter having a body portion generally cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall having an outer surface, and top and bottom portions, each said portion circumferentially attached to said wall and having a central hole therethrough, said holes being opposed ends of a tube disposed along said axis, said spindle portion closely received within the tube, the fender freely rotatable about the spindle portion; and locking means for releasably connecting the arm end portion at an edge of a platform proximate to water.

3. The system of claim 2 werein said locking means comprises a plate determined by generally planar upper and lower surfaces and having a polygonal hole therethrough, and a cylindrical tube of a predetermined length determined by upper and lower ends, the tube upper end attached to the plate lower surface, the tube aligned with said polygonal hole, the sleeve inserted through the polygonal hole in a preselected orientation and received within the tube.

4. The system of claim 3 wherein the fender length is sufficiently shorter than the spindle length, thereby allowing the fender to move longitudinally over a preselected distance.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein said sleeve polygonal outer surface and said plate polygonal hole are hexagonal.

6. A marine fender system comprising: an L-shaped member having a generally linear spindle portion of a preselected length terminating in a threaded end portion, a generally linear elbow portion of a preselected length attached and generally orthogonal to the spindle portion, and a generally linear arm portion of a preselected length attached and generally orthogonal to the elbow portion and generally parallel to the spindle portion, the arm portion terminating in an end portion; a sleeve of a preselected length determined by a polygonal outer surface, generally planar upper and lower ends, and a bore therethrough, said end portion closely received within the bore and attached to the sleeve; a generally planar collar with a central hole therethrough attached to the sleeve upper end, the arm end portion closely received through the hole; and a locking assembly comprising a plate determined by generally planar upper and lower surfaces and having a polygonal hole therethrough, and a cylindrical tube of a preselected length determined by upper and lower ends, the tube upper end attached to the plate lower surface, the tube aligned with said polygonal hole, the sleeve inserted through the polygonal hole in a preselected orientation and received within the tube until the collar contacts the plate upper surface.

7. The system of claim 6 further comprising: a marine fender of a preselected length and diameter having a body portion generally cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall with a preselected thickness having an outer surface, and top and bottom portions each circumferentially attached to said wall and having a central hole therethrough, said holes being opposed ends of a tube disposed along said axis, said spindle portion closely received within the tube, the fender freely rotatable about the spindle portion.

8. The system of claim 7 wherein the fender length is sufficiently shorter than the spindle length to allow the fender to move longitudinally over a preselected distance when a washer and thumb-nut are connected to the spindle threaded end portion.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein: said spindle portion length is about twenty-two inches; said elbow portion length is about eight inches; and said arm portion length is about eleven inches.

10. The system of claim 8, wherein the L-shaped member is fabricated from a unitary piece of type 304 stainless steel round bar, five-eighths inch in diameter.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein said sleeve polygonal outer surface and said plate polygonal hole are hexagonal.

12. The system of claim 8, wherein said plate is attached at an edge of a platform proximate to water.

13. The system of claim 12 wherein said sleeve orientation is such that the arm, elbow and spindle portions are in a plane generally orthogonal to the platform edge.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO EXISTING APPLICATION

[0001] This application is a continuation-in-part of application Ser. No. 09/593,374 (“'374”) filed Jun. 15, 2000, entitled “Boat Fender System and Method,” now pending, incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] 1. Field of the Invention

[0003] The invention relates to marine fenders, and more particularly to a system including a fender which is rotatable on a spindle extending in an arm releasably connected to a locking assembly flush-mounted at an edge of a dock or floating platform, or boat.

[0004] 2. Description of the Related Art

[0005] Our '374 application discloses a boat fender system having a cylindrical fender rotatably mounted on a spindle portion of a U-shaped member extending in a lateral arm portion releasably connected to a locking assembly attached to the stem or gunwale of a boat. Related art references cited therein include U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,998,997, 4,841,893, 5,701,837 and 6,021,729.

[0006] U.S. Pat. No. 2,751,410 to W. D. Marr is directed to a boat-mounted bumper assembly having a wheel disposed to engage the side wall of a dock in a rolling movement. The assembly includes a casing having a cylindrical portion with an axial bore, and a flanged base with a flat bottom face for bolting to a deck. Within the bore is journalled a shaft having a yoke with two arms between which is an axle-mounted rotatable wheel with an air-inflated tire.

[0007] U.S. Pat. No. 3,145,685 to E. L. Kulick, Sr. is directed to bumpers for boats or docks. In one embodiment an elongated channel member is attached to a dock piling, the member extending into the water. Torque rods are fitted into opposite ends of a tubular core aligning cushion rollers disposed end-to-end. The upper portions of the rods are angled outwardly to provide a swinging movement of the rollers toward and away from the piling. When a boat engages the rollers, the rods swing inwardly creating torsion. When pressure is relieved, the torsion returns the rollers to their outward position. In another embodiment a bumper for a side or bow portion of a boat includes a tube with a torsion rod therethrough. The rod cannot rotate so rotation of the tube causes a torque on the rod at one end. Extending from the tube are arms having bearings through which is an axle extending through end-to-end cushion rollers. Under impact, the arms and rollers have a downward swinging action.

OBJECTS OF THE INVENTION

[0008] It is an object of the present invention to provide a marine fender system which permits a fender to be rapidly connected to and disconnected from a locking assembly attached at an edge of a dock or floating platform, or boat.

[0009] Another object of the invention is to provide a system which provides a flush-mounted locking assembly so as to preclude tripping over the assembly when not in use.

[0010] Yet another object of the invention is to provide a system wherein a fender comes into rolling rather than frictional contact with a boat's paintwork.

[0011] Other objects of the invention will become evident when the following description is considered with the accompanying drawing figures. In the figures and description, numerals indicate the various features of the invention, like numerals referring to like features throughout both the drawings and description.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0012] These and other objects are achieved by the present invention which in one aspect provides a marine fender system including an L-shaped member having a spindle portion, an elbow portion attached at a juncture to the spindle portion, and an arm portion attached to the elbow portion and parallel to the spindle portion so that the spindle, elbow and arm portions are coplanar. The arm portion terminates in an end portion releasably connected at an edge of a platform proximate to water. The system further includes a marine fender having a body portion cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall having an outer surface and top and bottom portions. The fender is freely rotatable about the spindle portion. The juncture flexes when a torque is exerted on the spindle portion due to pressure on the fender, so that the fender executes small vibrational motions in the plane determined by the spindle, elbow and arm portions.

[0013] In another aspect the invention provides a marine fender system including an L-shaped member having a spindle portion, an elbow portion attached to the spindle portion, and an arm portion attached to the elbow portion and parallel to the spindle portion. The arm portion terminates in an end portion. The system further includes a sleeve having a polygonal outer surface, upper and lower ends, and a bore. The arm end portion is closely received within the bore and attached to the sleeve. The system further includes a marine fender of a preselected length and diameter having a body portion cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall with an outer surface and top and bottom portions, each portion circumferentially attached to the wall and having a central hole. The holes are opposed ends of an axial tube through which the spindle portion is closely received so that the fender is freely rotatable about the spindle portion. The system further includes locking means for releasably connecting the arm end portion at an edge of a platform proximate to water.

[0014] In yet another aspect the invention provides a marine fender system including an L-shaped member having a spindle portion terminating in a threaded end portion, an elbow portion attached and orthogonal to the spindle portion, and an arm portion attached and orthogonal to the elbow portion and parallel to the spindle portion. The arm portion terminates in an end portion. A sleeve having a polygonal outer surface, planar upper and lower ends, and a bore, receives and is attached to the arm end portion. The system further includes an annular collar attached to the sleeve upper end, and a locking assembly including a plate having planar upper and lower surfaces and a polygonal hole, and a cylindrical tube having upper and lower ends. The tube upper end is attached to the plate lower surface, and the tube is aligned with the polygonal hole. The sleeve is inserted through the polygonal hole in a preselected orientation and received within the tube until the collar contacts the plate upper surface.

[0015] The system further includes a marine fender having a body portion cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall with an outer surface, and top and bottom portions each circumferentially attached to the wall and having a central hole. The holes are opposed ends of a tube disposed along the axis. The spindle portion is closely received within the tube and the fender is freely rotatable about the spindle portion.

[0016] A more complete understanding of the present invention and other objects, aspects and advantages thereof will be gained from a consideration of the following description of the preferred embodiment read in conjunction with the accompanying drawings provided herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0017] FIG. 1 is an exploded perspective view of a marine fender system including an L-shaped member having a spindle portion on which an air-inflated fender is rotatably mounted, and an arm releasably received within a locking assembly.

[0018] FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the FIG. 1 system with the locking assembly flush-mounted at the edge of a dock or floating platform.

[0019] FIG. 3 is a sectional view of the FIG. 2 system taken along the lines 3-3.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

[0020] While the present invention is open to various modifications and alternative constructions, the preferred embodiment shown in the drawings will be described herein in detail. It is to be understood, however, there is no intention to limit the invention to the particular form disclosed. On the contrary, it is intended that the invention cover all modifications, equivalences and alternative constructions falling within the spirit and scope of the invention as expressed in the appended claims.

[0021] Where used herein, the words “connected” and “connecting” mean that the two parts referred to (e.g., an arm and a locking assembly) can be readily separated after being joined together in an interlocking combination. Where used herein, the word “attached” means that the two parts referred to are either fabricated in a single piece, screwed or bolted together, or joined in a combination that would not normally be disassembled. However, other forms of attachment may be suitable, consistent with simplicity of manufacture and reliability of operation.

[0022] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, a marine fender system 10 according to the invention includes an L-shaped member 12 having a generally linear spindle portion 14 having a threaded end portion 16, a generally linear elbow portion 18 attached at a juncture 19 to spindle portion 14 and generally orthogonal to the spindle portion, and a generally linear arm portion 20 attached and generally orthogonal to elbow portion 18 and generally parallel to spindle portion 14, and having an end portion 22. Thus spindle portion 14, elbow portion 18 and arm portion 20 are substantially coplanar. Preferably, member 12 is made from a single piece of type 304 stainless steel round bar, ⅝-inch in diameter. Preferably, spindle portion 14, elbow portion 18, and arm portion 20 are about 22, 8, and 11 inches in length, respectively. Arm end portion 22 is closely received within a bore 24H of a hexagonal sleeve 24 having an upper end 24U to which is attached an annular collar 26, and a lower end 24L. Preferably, sleeve 24 is welded to end portion 22 and collar 26. As seen in FIG. 3, end portion 22 terminates in an end 22E which coincides with lower end 24L.

[0023] System 10 further includes a locking assembly 30 including a plate 32, determined by generally planar upper and lower surfaces 32U, 32L, respectively, having therethrough a hexagonal hole 32H and a plurality of bolt-holes 34. Locking assembly 30 further includes a cylindrical tube 36 having upper and lower ends 36U, 36L, respectively. Tube 36 is rigidly attached at end 36U to surface 32L and disposed so that it is aligned with hole 32H. As shown in FIG. 3, a washer 38 is attached to tube end 36L.

[0024] System 10 further includes an air-inflated marine fender 40 having a hollow body portion 42 generally cylindrical about a longitudinal axis and determined by a wall 42W of marine grade vinyl resin with an outer surface 42S, and generally convexly arcuate top and bottom portions 44, 46, respectively, circumferentially attached to wall 42W at watertight seams 48, 50, respectively. Referring to FIG. 3, portions 44 and 46 each have therethrough a central hole 44H, 46H, respectively, which are opposed ends of a tube 52 disposed along the axis. As described in the '374 application, spindle portion 14 is closely received within tube 52 so that fender 40 is freely rotatable about its longitudinal axis. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, the fender is secured on the spindle portion by a washer 54 and thumb-nut 56 connected to threaded end portion 16. Preferably, the spindle and fender lengths are selected so that the fender has about 1½ inches of play in which to move longitudinally.

[0025] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3, after boring a hole 60 slightly deeper than the length of tube 36 into a platform 62 at a predetermined location near an edge 64 proximate to water, the tube is inserted into the hole and plate 32 is attached to the platform with bolts 66. Fender 40 is deployed by inserting hexagonal sleeve 24 through hexagonal hole 32H in an orientation such that member 12 is in a plane generally orthogonal to edge 64, and continuing insertion into tube 36 until collar 26 contacts surface 32U. FIG. 2 shows the deployed fender in relation to the platform edge. The fender is easily removed from locking assembly 30 by pulling upward on arm portion 20. When the fender is disengaged from the locking assembly, the only portion of the assembly external to the platform surface is the thin plate. It is therefore highly unlikely that a careless or unwary person would trip over the flush-mounted plate.

[0026] A boat hull exerting sufficient pressure on the fender creates a torque on spindle portion 14 thereby creating flexure at juncture 19 so that the spindle portion is deflected inwardly in the plane determined by the spindle, elbow and arm portions. When pressure is removed the spindle portion returns to its unperturbed state. Thus the fender executes small vibrational motions generally orthogonal to the hull as the hull bumps against the platform.





 
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