Title:
Ground anchors using tines and compression plate
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A ground anchor for beach anchoring of vessels comprises three spaced parallel tines (10) pointed at one end and secured in spaced relationship at the other end by a mounting member (14, 24, 34). The mounting member includes one or more vertical or horizontal plates (16, 26, 40) and an optional stabilizer (28) which coact with the tines (10) to induce overlapping zones of compression in a sandy soil mass to reinforce the soil against movement of the anchor when horizontal tension is applied to it from a hawser attached to a moored vessel.



Inventors:
Burns, Peter Robert (Moonee Ponds, AU)
Application Number:
10/989960
Publication Date:
03/31/2005
Filing Date:
11/15/2004
Assignee:
BURNS PETER ROBERT
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B21/26; (IPC1-7): B63B21/24
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
SOTELO, JESUS D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
David Pressman (San Francisco, CA, US)
Claims:
1. A ground anchor, comprising: a plurality of tines having tapered free lower ends, a mounting member, the upper ends of said plurality of tines being attached to said mounting member so that said tines are generally parallel and spaced apart, a loop or aperture attached to or part of said mounting member for enabling a hawser to be attached to said mounting member, said mounting member comprising a compression plate positioned to compress the ground when said tines are inserted into the ground and tension from a hawser is applied to said loop or aperture in a direction generally perpendicular to said tines, whereby said anchor will resist pullout due to compression of the ground by said tines and said compression plate.

2. The ground anchor of claim 1 wherein said compression plate is generally parallel to said tines.

3. The ground anchor of claim 1 wherein said compression plate is generally perpendicular to said tines.

4. The ground anchor of claim 1, further including a second compression plate so as to provide two compression plates, said compression plates being positioned perpendicular to each other so that one is parallel to said tines and the other is perpendicular to said tines.

5. The ground anchor of claim 1 wherein said compression plate has two opposing surfaces, is generally parallel to said tines, and said upper ends of said tines are attached to one of said surfaces, and further including a top plate which is oriented normal to said tines and is attached to said compression plate so that said anchor can be inserted in the ground by applying downward force to said top plate.

6. The ground anchor of claim 5, further including a plurality of end members attached to said compression plate at a normal angle to said compression plate and parallel to said tines.

7. The ground anchor of claim 6 wherein said loop or aperture comprises a loop pivotally attached to said end members.

8. The ground anchor of claim 6 wherein said top plate has a pair of wings extending above said end members so as to limit pivotal movement of said loop.

8. The ground anchor of claim 5, further including a horizontal stabilizing member comprising a front plate having a pair of side ends and a pair of side plates attached to said side ends and normal to said front plate, said side plates being pivotally attached to said end members so that said front plate can be pivoted parallel to or normal to said tines.

9. The ground anchor of claim 8 wherein, when said front plate is pivoted parallel to said tines said side plates extend up above said font plate and have free upper ends that are pivoted to said respective end members, and wherein said loop or aperture comprises an aperture in said front plate.

10. The ground anchor of claim 1 wherein said compression plate comprises a flat member which is oriented normal to said tines, and wherein said mounting member also comprises a flat vertical member having opposing faces and upper and lower edges which is (a) oriented parallel to said tines, (b) has one opposing face attached to said tines, and (c) has its lower edge attached to said compression plate so that said vertical member is attached substantially perpendicularly to said compression plate.

11. The ground anchor of claim 10, further including a top plate attached to said upper edge of said vertical member, said top plate being oriented normal to said tines so as to provide a pushing surface.

12. The ground anchor of claim 11 wherein said loop or aperture is attached or part of said top plate.

13. The ground anchor of claim 11 wherein said top plate is rectangular and said loop or aperture is a loop attached said top plate.

14. The ground anchor of claim 11 wherein said top plate is has a pointed or tapered end and said loop or aperture is aan aperture formed in said pointed or tapered end.

15. The ground anchor of claim 1 wherein said tines are curved so that their lower ends point in a direction that is at an angle with respect to their upper ends, and so that said bottom ends are offset from said top ends in a direction parallel to said direction.

16. A ground anchor comprising a mounting member and a plurality of spaced, parallel tines having pointed bottom ends and top ends attached to said mounting member, and a loop or aperture attached to or part of said mounting member for enabling a hawser to be attached to said mounting member, said mounting member comprising a compression plate having a flat surface or face, said flat surface or face being oriented with respect to said tines such that when said tines are inserted into soil or sand, pointed ends first, up to said mounting member, and a hawser is attached to said loop or aperture and pulled in a direction generally normal to said tines, said compression plate will tend to compress said soil or sand, whereby said ground anchor will have superior holding ability.

17. The ground anchor of claim 16 wherein said compression plate is generally parallel to said tines.

18. The ground anchor of claim 16 wherein said compression plate is generally perpendicular to said tines.

19. The ground anchor of claim 16 wherein said mounting member comprises said compression plate, a connecting plate, and a top plate said compression plate and said top plate being oriented generally perpendicular to said tines, said connecting plate being oriented generally parallel to said tines and attached to said tines and connecting said compression plate to said top plate.

20. The ground anchor of claim 16, further including a second compression plate so as to provide two compression plates, said compression plates being positioned perpendicular to each other so that one is parallel to said tines and the other is perpendicular to said tines.

21. The ground anchor of claim 20 wherein said compression plate has two opposing surfaces, is generally parallel to said tines, and said upper ends of said tines are attached to one of said surfaces, and further including a top plate which is oriented normal to said tines and is attached to said compression plate so that said anchor can be inserted in the ground by applying downward force to said top plate, and further including a plurality of end members attached to said compression plate at a normal angle to said compression plate and parallel to said tines, said loop or aperture comprising a loop pivotally attached to said end members.

22. The ground anchor of claim 16 wherein said tines are curved so that their bottom ends point in a direction that is at an angle with respect to their top ends, and so that said bottom ends are offset from said top ends in a direction parallel to said predetermined direction.

23. A ground anchor comprising a mounting member and a plurality of spaced, parallel tines having pointed bottom ends and top ends attached to said mounting member, and a loop or aperture attached to or part of said mounting member for enabling a hawser that extends in a predetermined direction generally perpendicular to said tines to be attached to said mounting member, said tines being curved so that their bottom portions are offset in a direction parallel to said determined direction.

24. The ground anchor of claim 23 wherein said mounting member further comprises a compression plate having a flat surface or face, said flat surface or face being oriented with respect to said tines such that when said tines are inserted into soil or sand, pointed ends first, up to said mounting member, and a hawser is attached to said loop or aperture and pulled in a direction generally normal to said tines, said compression plate will tend to compress said soil or sand, whereby said ground anchor will have superior holding ability.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application is a continuation-in-part of parent application Ser. No. 08/923,443, filed Sep. 4, 1997, the full disclosure of which I incorporate by reference. Further, this parent application claims priority of Australian application 36,761/97, filed Sep. 4, 1996.

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates generally to anchors, specifically to ground or mooring anchors for recreational watercraft, off-road vehicles, and light aircraft.

2. Prior Art—Anchors

Ground or mooring anchors are used to anchor a vessel floating in the water to a beach or the like.

Most recreational watercraft, from small dinghies to pleasure craft of up to approximately 15 meters in length, carry one or more stern or sea anchors designed to engage a sea bed. In sheltered waters, it is possible to anchor such craft adjacent to water's edge with the bow anchor secured to the sea bed and a stern or mooring anchor embedded in the sand of the beach and connected to the stern by a hawser, e.g., of hemp or plastic.

The stern or mooring anchor is positioned on the beach some distance from the water's edge and thus usually is elevated above the water. Thus the angle between the hawser and the ground or water is generally very small. Even though the angle is small, most anchors, such as those sold under the trademarks Danforth by Tie Down Engineering of Atlanta, Ga., CQR by Lewmar of The U.K., or the like, do not have effective holding power in loose sand. Even though the tension applied to a hawser due to wave or wash action, even by large pleasure craft, is only of the order of about 5 kg, the constant tugging can loosen or pull out and drag even a heavy anchor over the surface.

The above anchoring and fixing of vessels is a well-studied problem. Thus there are quite a few prior-art patents in this field.

Sandberg, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,224,892 (1980), shows a sea anchor. However, the projections used to engage the sea floor have a blunt shape and relatively short length that provides relatively little resistance to forces exerted by the hawser. The main advantage of this anchor seems to be its foldability for easy storage.

Fisher, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,732,105 (1988), shows another sea anchor with several flukes; however it has poor resistance to hawser tension when used as a mooring anchor.

Starr, in U.S. Pat. No. 493,901 (1892), show a sea anchor comprising a fluke pivotally attached to a top-plate (crown A) and a bifurcated shank (FIGS. 1-2).

Latham, in U.S. Pat. No. 57,339 (1866), shows an anchor comprising three tines pivotally attached to a bifurcated shank (FIGS. 1-2).

Lewis, in U.S. Pat. No. 298,867 (1884), similarly shows an anchor comprising a tine that pivots inside and out of a bifurcated shank (FIGS. 2-3).

Spedden, in U.S. Pat. No. 347,972 (1886), shows an anchor comprising a fluke pivotally attached to a top-plate and a bifurcated shank (FIGS. 3-4).

McDougall, in U.S. Pat. No. 445,816 (1890), shows a blade pivotally attached to a bifurcated member, which is in turn attached to a hawser.

Neal, in U.S. Pat. No. 957,621 (1909), shows a similar anchor with several blades in the same configuration.

Duncanson, in U.S. Pat. No. 730,009 (1902), shows an anchor comprising two tines pivotally attached to a shank (FIGS. 1-2).

Bunje, in U.S. Pat. No. 657,263 (1899), shows a mooring anchor comprising a plurality of tines attached to a square block. It doesn't have a compression or stabilizer plate.

Myers, in U.S. Pat. No. 1,497,693 (1921), discloses an anchor comprising another fluke attached to a bifurcated shank, quite similar to those of several earlier patents described above. A crown (FIG. 6) in normal operation digs into the sea floor, mainly for the purpose of assisting the attached fluke to quickly rotate into position.

Bowers, in U.S. Pat. No. 3,505,969 (1968), shows an anchor comprising two flukes pivotally attached to a base plate (FIGS. 1 & 3).

Eberline, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,545,318 (1984), shows an anchor comprising four tines and a pivoting plate (FIGS. 1 & 2). The tines extend from the plate's edges. Eberline's is not buried in the sand. Its operation is actuated by the presence of a sea floor obstruction of suitable size; in absence of such an obstruction the anchor will not hold.

The foregoing patents involving pivoting flukes seem to suffer from the disadvantage that sand, rocks, or other material stirred up from the sea floor can become jammed in the pivoting mechanism and cause the anchor to lock up.

Danieli, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,756,128 (1987), discloses a ground anchor (FIG. 1) with stabilizing and compression plates and an attachment means for a hawser (FIG. 1). It has only a single spike.

Johnson, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,431,123 (1994), describes an anchoring apparatus having a body which is secured to the ground surface by a rod driven through an aperture in the body. A driving device with a hawser attachment mechanism is used as a handle to drive a rod (optionally with a spade-like compression plate) into sand. A loop-like member at the end of the driving device is then slipped over the protruding rod, thereby indirectly securing the hawser to the rod. It has two moving parts, 25 and 27. If these become jammed or weakened through wear or the presence of foreign matter they could render the apparatus inoperative. Its rather complex design makes it somewhat costly to manufacture.

Militello, in published patent application 2003.0024460, shows a beach anchor comprising a triangular member with a hole for a hawser and a hand hold for facilitating insertion into the beach. However this design has relatively low holding ability due to its simple design and since its hawser hole is too low for the anchor to be pushed in deeply.

All of these anchors are relatively complicated and/or have relatively poor resistance to hawser tension and thus are not maximally effective in mooring a vessel, or are subject to entanglement or breakage, or have other disadvantages that make them less than optimally suitable for use as a mooring anchor.

Prior Art—Staking

A related area of prior art is that where ropes and lines are connected to stakes and other anchoring devices for attaching objects to the ground.

Mazur, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,870,884 (1957), shows a ground anchoring device in which three spikes are driven through apertures in a plate. A hawser is then attached to a bar rigidly mounted between two parallel ribs on the top surface of the plate. When the hawser angle is higher than horizontal, a situation that Mazur envisions, the plate does not interact with the stakes to improve anchoring performance. Where the hawser is attached to a boat and the hawser slopes down from the anchor, i.e., the boat is significantly below the level of the anchor, the hawser can rub against the edge of the plate (FIG. 4) due to wave motion, causing the hawser to wear.

Roberts, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,243,795 (1991), discloses a staking device for aircraft securement. Three stakes are driven into the ground at various angles through bores in a cylindrical hub which sits on the ground. The hub has a loop affixed to its top, allowing a hawser to be tied to it. The stakes are driven through the hub, fixing the block in place.

Lee et al., in U.S. Pat. No. 4,315,387 (1980), discloses a ground anchor stake device. It has of straight and curved tines, the two sets of tines being pivotally attached to each other. The straight tines are first driven into the ground at an angle, and the curved tines are pressed into the ground in front of the straight tines.

Horowitz, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,936,194 (1989), discloses a simple boat-tying stake with a handle.

Travioli, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,460,112 (1993), discloses a rack intended to be placed on a beach near the waterline, to which a boat's bow is attached. The rack has a single sand-embedded plate. The whole assembly is somewhat complex and ungainly, and is the roller (FIG. 2) becomes jammed, it could abrade the bottom of the boat due to lateral wave motion. A separate tool, such as a rock or hammer, is needed to drive the plate into the ground since the plate (FIG. 2) has a narrow upper lip to which it is not convenient to apply hand or foot pressure.

Wendling, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,800,843 (1987), discloses a multi-stake tether with a swiveling top for tethering animals. This swiveling capability is not relevant to mooring and anchoring applications.

Mestas, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,960,064 (1989), discloses a single stake boat ground anchor, including a small underground-deployable stabilizing ‘wing’ to increase resistance to being pulled out of the ground. The wing, however, is small, relative to the stake, so that it lacks optimal stabilizing effect.

Kinsey, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,679,369 (1985), describes a device using a series of stakes driven into the ground at the same angle. The stakes are made equidistant by using a series of spacer bars, each with a hole at each end to fit around a stake. Adjacent spacer bars are separated by a cylindrical collar fitted around their common spike. The final stake also has a collar, flat against the ground, to which a hawser is attached. Assembly of the device is somewhat complex. Its holding power is mainly due to the use of several stakes. The spacer bar arrangement assures that the force exerted by the hawser is distributed equally among the stakes. There is a potential for losing or misplacing the various components if they are stored carelessly. Speed of installation and retraction, especially when several stakes are to be used in series, could be an issue.

Prior Art—Other Devices

Other sand or beach devices are known.

Auspos, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,713,546 (1998), shows a drink holder consisting of a plate hingeably attached to a spike. In use the spike is inserted into the ground and drinks or other items are placed on the plate. Though this device appears to be useable (albeit with difficulty) as a ground anchor, it is not suitable for attachment of a hawser or use as an anchor.

Pitt, in U.S. Pat. No. 4,334,661 (1978), shows another drink holder. Unlike Auspos, it has a plate perpendicular to its single spike to provide support for the user's drink. While it could be used as a ground anchor, the plate is too small to provide any compressive force onto the soil and is not intended to withstand horizontal forces such as are exerted by a hawser attached to a boat or other moored object.

Hart, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,360,189 (1994), discloses an outdoor bag holding stand. It has two tines that are pressed into the ground, but the presence of cross-members 13 and 16 allows the upright tines to be inserted to only a fraction of their length into the ground. Even if it were used as an anchoring device, the long lever arm constituted by the portion of the tines above ground would cause it to be easily pulled out by a horizontal force upon its upper loop 11. It works as a bag holder in which the forces on the upper loop are mostly downward, rather than horizontal as in the anchoring application.

Finally, Peterson, in U.S. Pat. No. 2,662,342 (1953), discloses a lawn border edging component. While comprising three tines and a plate, it contains no attachment means for a hawser, since it is not intended to be used as an anchoring device of any kind but rather as an in-ground guide track for lawn edge trimming tools.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the invention are to provide a ground anchor that:

    • (a) is more effective as a mooring anchor, especially in sand,
    • (b) has few or no moving parts and consequent reduction in potential for malfunction caused by wear or jamming;
    • (c) has good resistance to the force exerted by hawser;
    • (d) reduces the possibility of loss of critical parts;
    • (f) reduces the chance of wear on hawser or ship due to contact with anchor;
    • (h) is of small size and compact shape for convenient handling and storage;
    • (j) is of simple design, leading to ease of manufacture;

Other objects are to provide a mooring anchor that

    • (e) can be inserted more easily in and retracted from the ground without tools;
    • (g) provides increased anchoring power due to synergistic interaction between the forces exerted by tines and compression or stabilizing plates;
    • (i) is useable in a variety of sand and soil textures and configurations, such as fine wet and dry sand, soil, rocky and rock-free ground, etc;
    • (h) has light weight, greater durability and resistance to breakage;
    • (i) has the ability to hold better than an anchor with straight tines; and
    • (j) has the ability to use multiple ground anchors in varying mooring configurations to suit local water and ground conditions.

Further objects and advantages will become apparent from a consideration of the ensuing description and the accompanying drawings.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the invention, a ground anchor has several, preferably three, parallel spaced tines for insertion into the ground. The tines are secured at their upper ends to a horizontal mounting member, with their lower ends sharpened to allow easy insertion into the soil. The mounting member includes a plate or plates. The plate(s) may be a vertical compression plate (parallel to the plane of the tines and tending to compress the soil in front of the tines in the direction of hawser pull), or a horizontal plate (perpendicular to the plane of the tines and tending to compress the soil in front of the tines downwards), or both. A loop or hole is attached to or integral with either the mounting member or the horizontal plate to allow attachment of a hawser. Several embodiments are shown in the figures and described in detail below. A number of materials may be used, including mild steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and glass-fiber reinforced plastic—the tines made of the latter material are somewhat flexible and act in a spring fashion under tension as described more fully below. The ground anchors may be used in various soils; including sand, clay, loam, or other matter.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

FIG. 1 shows a perspective view of one embodiment of a mooring anchor according to the invention.

FIG. 2 shows an inverted rear view of the anchor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 shows a front elevation of the anchor of FIG. 1.

FIG. 4 shows a perspective view of an alternative embodiment of the anchor in a retracted position.

FIG. 5 shows the embodiment of the anchor of FIG. 4 in an extended position.

FIG. 6 shows a perspective view of the anchor of FIG. 4 from below.

FIG. 7 shows a schematic side elevation of the anchor of FIG. 4, illustrating a mode of operation.

FIG. 8(a) shows a perspective view of a second alternative embodiment of the anchor.

FIG. 8(b) shows a perspective view of the anchor of FIG. 8A from below.

FIG. 9 shows a perspective view of a third alternative embodiment of the anchor.

FIG. 9′ shows an alternative tip for the tines of the anchor.

FIG. 10 shows a side view of the anchor of FIG. 9 with curved tines.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 10 tines
  • 10C curved tine
  • 10R and 10L outer tines
  • 12 lower ends
  • 14 mounting member
  • 16 front plate
  • 18 top plate
  • 20 free ends
  • 22 stabilizing member or loop
  • 24 horizontal stabilizing member
  • 26 rectangular plate
  • 28 free ends
  • 30 rivets
  • 32 aperture
  • 34 mounting member
  • 36 top plate
  • 38 connecting plate
  • 40 stabilizing member
  • 42 loop
  • 44 lower stabilizing member
  • 46 upper stabilizing member
  • 48 point or angular termination
  • 50 shackle
  • 52 lower compression region of sand
  • 54 upper compression region of sand
  • 56 small compression region of sand
  • 58 larger compression region of sand
  • 60 hawser

DETAILED DESCRIPTION—BASIC EMBODIMENT—FIGS. 1, 2, 3

FIGS. 1, 2, and 3 show one embodiment of a ground anchor comprising three parallel rod-like tines, rods, or spikes 10, tapered, pointed, or sharpened at their lower ends 12 and supported in spaced relationship by an upper mounting member 14. Member 14 is generally L or angularly shaped and has two flat parts, a front or vertical plate 16 and top or horizontal plate 18. Front plate 16 is parallel to tines 10 and functions in use as a compression member because it compresses the sand or soil. Plate 16 has opposite free ends 20 that extend rearwardly below top plate 18 at a roughly 90 degree angle to top and front plates 18 and 16. Ends 18 pivotally support a stabilizing member 22 in the form of an arcuate loop or hoop. Top plate 18 has extending ends or wings that serve as stops to prevent loop 20 from pivoting up beyond horizontal or beyond perpendicular to tines 10 when loop 20 is extended horizontally as shown in FIG. 1. Loop 20 also provides a means for attachment of a hawser (not shown) by means of a shackle or the like (FIG. 7).

Returning to FIG. 1, mounting member 14 (including compression plate 16 and the free ends of top 18) are preferably formed as an integral body from a length of angle-section aluminum or stainless steel, about 2 to 2.5 mm thick.

All three tines 10 are welded (FIG. 2) to the inner face or rear side of compression plate 16 and outer tines 10R and 10L are also welded to free ends 18.

Typically, tines 10 are made of 8 mm to 12 mm circular or elliptical cross-section rod and may be from 200 mm to 750 mm long. In practice I have found for ground anchoring that an optimum tine length of about 250 mm to 300 mm provides adequate anchoring power combined with ease of stowage, and ease of insertion and retraction. Below about 200 mm in length, the ground anchor does not provide secure anchoring power. While anchoring power is increased for tines over about 300 mm, this exceeds the anchoring required for shore anchoring of vessels, adds to inconvenience in stowage and handling, as well as increased difficulty in insertion and withdrawal from sand or soil.

DESCRIPTION—ALTERNATIVE EMBODIMENT—FIGS. 4, 5, 6

FIGS. 4-6 show an alternative embodiment of the anchor. The main difference between the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3 and that of FIGS. 4-6 is the configuration of the stabilizing member.

The lower ends of tines 10′ are tapered to a blunt tip. A horizontal stabilizing member 24 comprises a rectangular plate 26 with planar side plates or free ends 28 extending perpendicularly from the respective sides of plate 26. Free ends 28 are pivotally attached to sides 20 of mounting member 14. Plate 26 is parallel to the plane of tines 10. Stabilizing member 24 preferably is made from a single piece of rigid material such as steel or aluminum, cut into the appropriate shape, and bent to form plate 26 and its free ends 28.

Each free end 28 is generally rectangular, and its long or vertical dimension is greater than its horizontal dimension and is also longer than the vertical dimension of plate 26. The horizontal dimension of each end 28 is about one-quarter the length of the long dimension of plate 26. A long side of each end 28 is coincident with a short side of plate 26. The bottom edge of each end 28 is angled upwardly from front to rear, with the bottom corners of plate 26 being coincident with the front bottom corners of a respective end 28. The top front corner of each end 28 is also angled upwardly from front to rear and each end is pivotally attached to an end 20 of member 14.

Like stabilizing member or loop 22 of FIGS. 1-3, stabilizing member 24 of FIGS. 4-6 is able to pivot by means of rivets 30 or the like. Each rivet extends through an end 28 and an end 20. Member 24 can pivot from a retracted, folded, or storage position (FIG. 4) in which plate 26 is vertical and parallel to the plane of tines 10, to an extended or in-use horizontal position (FIG. 5) in which plate 26 is substantially perpendicular to tines 10.

Plate 26 has an aperture 32 to permit attachment of a hawser by means of a shackle or the like (not shown.)

FIG. 6 shows further detail from below of the tines, mounting member, and pivotal stabilizing plate.

DESCRIPTION—PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS—FIGS. 8(a), 8(b), 9, and 10

Ignoring FIG. 7 temporarily, FIGS. 8(a), 8(b), and 9 illustrate a presently preferred embodiment of the anchor. In FIGS. 8(a) and 8(b), the compression member of the previous figures is absent. A mounting member 34 includes a top horizontal plate 36, an integral vertical connecting plate 38, and an integral fixed horizontal stabilizing member 40. Both stabilizing member 40 and connecting plate 38 are rectangular, with long sides the same length as those of top 36. The short sides of stabilizing member 40 are only slightly shorter than the long sides, with the short sides of connecting plate 38 being about one-sixth of the length of its long sides. Connecting plate 38 is attached perpendicularly to top 36 along the center of its long axis and to stabilizing member 40 along its back long edge.

A loop 42 is analogous in function to aperture 32 of FIGS. 4-6 and is attached to top 36, allowing a hawser (not shown) to be attached to the anchor,

The lower tips of tines 10 may terminate in a flat blade 10″ or as a blunt point, as shown in FIG. 9′.

As illustrated in the bottom perspective view of FIG. 8(b), tines 10 are attached by welds to top 34 and to connecting plate 38. This treatment is well-suited to construction of ground anchors out of metal in which tines 10 are to be welded to an integral top.

FIG. 9 shows another preferred embodiment similar to that of FIGS. 8, except as follows: Two vertical connecting rectangular side plates 42 connect a fixed, rectangular, lower horizontal plate or stabilizing member 44 to a top horizontal plate or stabilizing member 46. Side plates 42 thus join the side edges of plates 44 and 46. Top 46 is generally rectangular except for its front side, which extends to a symmetrical angular termination or point 48 pointing to the boat (not shown) and parallel to member 44. Times 10 are parallel to sides 42 and are attached to the bottom of top 46. The hawser (not shown) is attached to aperture or hole 32 adjacent termination 48 in top 46.

The length or height of each of sides 42 the same as the length of connecting member 38 and its width is about the same as its height.

The structure of FIG. 9 is made by bending and welding sheet metal (welds not shown).

In FIGS. 8(a), 8(b), and 9, stabilizing member 40 or 42 is perpendicular to the plane of the tines.

FIG. 10 shows an alternative embodiment of the anchor of FIG. 9 with curved tines. As seen in FIG. 10, the bottom halves of the tines (only one tine 10C can be seen in this side view) are slightly curved in the forward direction, i.e., the direction in which hawser 60 pulls on the anchor. Preferably the tines are curved so that their free end or bottom portions make an offset of angle A from the vertical or axis of a straight tine of about 20°. This angle can be greater or smaller than 20°. However the greater the angle, the more difficult it will be for the user to insert the tines. The smaller the angle, the less additional advantage the curved tines will provide, as explained below.

OPERATION—ALL EMBODIMENTS—FIG. 7

While not wishing to be bound by any particular theory or hypothesis, the mode of operation the anchor as presently understood will now be described with reference to FIG. 7, which depicts the operation of the embodiment of FIGS. 5 and 6. This mode of operation also applies to the other embodiments, with slight modifications, as discussed below.

In use, the ground anchors are placed at a distance from the water's edge and thus by nature, the tension applied in the hawser is generally parallel to the ground in the region of the anchor.

Assume that a boat (not shown) sails close to the shore and the captain desires to moor the boat to the shore, which is a sand beach, but which may be soil. After selecting a region of beach within which to anchor the vessel, the captain or a mate sweeps aside the top layer of very loose sand (not shown), typically about 25 mm in depth. Then they insert the anchor (with stabilizing member 24 horizontal as shown in FIG. 6) into the sand with tines 10 normal to the ground surface, using hand or foot pressure applied to the top of mounting member 14. They insert the anchor to the fullest extent so that tines 10, compression member 16, and plate free ends 28 are embedded in the sand and plate 26 lies against the surface of the sand.

When tension is applied in the direction shown by arrow A to shackle 50 from the anchor line or hawser (not shown) by tugging from the vessel, tines 10 initially undergo a degree of bending (not shown) about a fulcrum point B, about two-thirds of the way along the length of the tines. That is, the anchor experiences rotational forces around point B. This rotational force induces compression in lower and rear region 52 and upper and front region 54 in the sand adjacent the tines. Regions 52 and 54 are shown shaded at the lower rear and the upper front of tines 10, respectively. At the same time, compression member 16 (FIGS. 6 and 7) exerts a roughly horizontal force, causing the sand in small top compression region 56, shown by a dashed line, to become compressed.

As tines 10 undergo a limited degree of bending, plate 26 also induces a downwardly-directed force, tending to compress the underlying large top compression region of sand 58, also outlined in dashed lines. Region 58 overlaps region 56 and the upper part of compression region 54, thus reinforcing the sand mass against a rotational force applied to the anchor. The tugging tension is periodically released (e.g., by the shoreward portion of wave cycles releasing or reversing force on the vessel). When this occurs, the resilience of tines 10 returns the anchor to a rest or static position. I believe that the downwardly extending free ends 28 of member 24 contain and stabilize the sand in regions 56 and 58. In the absence of stabilizing ends 28, some lateral displacement of sand will occur, tending to lower the compression and holding ability of the anchor.

To summarize, as tension increases in the direction of arrow A, plate 26 presses with increasing force against the sand surface. The superior holding power of this design is achieved by the combination of this downward compression and the secure anchoring effected by the several and long tines 10 which are constrained in their positions by the mass of soil behind their lower ends and in front of their upper ends.

For anchoring larger vessels, or anchoring in adverse conditions where greater anchoring strength is required, two ground anchors may be placed into the ground, one a short distance directly behind the other along a line in the direction of applied tension. When connected by a single line, for example, in the configuration of a long loop, two anchors thus arranged can provide greater resistance to the rotational forces created by hawser tension which might otherwise cause a single anchor to dislodge from the ground.

FIGS. 1 to 3

Although the foregoing discussion has been in terms of FIG. 7, which is a schematic of the embodiment shown in FIG. 4-6, a similar theory of operation applies to the embodiment of FIGS. 1-3, except that compression region 58 will have less compression. In this embodiment, a user inserts the anchor in the ground by applying downward force to top plate 18.

FIGS. 8 and 9

Likewise, a similar theory of operation is applicable to the embodiments shown in FIGS. 8(a), 8(b), and 9, these two embodiments being essentially isomorphic to one another with respect to the distribution of compression induced on the sand when tension is applied by the hawser. In either of these embodiments, regions of compression 56 and 58 will be formed adjacent the tines. Analogously, fixed stabilizing member 40 takes the role of plate 26 of the embodiment of FIGS. 4-6, inducing compression region 58, by the rotational force exerted by the tension applied by the hawser. However, the absence of a vertical compression member indicates that region 56 is not compressed separately from region 58 in either of the preferred embodiments. Here the anchor need not be inserted into the ground beyond the depth in which fixed stabilizing member 40 is in contact with the sand surface. The user can insert the anchor into the sand or soil conveniently by applying downward force with their hands to foot to top plate 36.

FIG. 10

The embodiment of FIG. 10 will have a greater or stronger hold against pullout because of the curvature of the tines. In the embodiments where the tines are straight, such as FIG. 9, when force is applied from the hawser, the tines will bend about a fulcrum point B (FIG. 7) and compress the soil or sand in region 52. The force from the bottom portion of the tines will be generally perpendicular to the bottoms of the tines so that region of compression 52 will be horizontally positioned with respect to or at the same level as the bottom portions of the tines. However in the embodiment of FIG. 10, due to the curvature of the bottom portion of the tines, the compression force from the bottom portion of the tines will be applied to the soil or sand at an angle below the horizontal, as indicated by the arrow extending from the bottom of tine 10C to the lower left. This will create a region of compression (not shown) that will be below the horizontal and lower than region 52 in FIG. 7, so that the compression region will be buried more deeply and thus the anchor will have greater resistance to pullout. As stated, if angle A is increased over 20°, this will tend to provide greater holding poser, but will increase difficulty of insertion. Conversely, reducing angle A will increase ease of insertion, but will decrease holding power. The curved tines can be used with any embodiment.

Conclusion, Ramifications, and Scope

Accordingly the reader will see that, according to the invention, I have provided a ground anchor that provides increased anchoring power due to synergistic interaction between the forces exerted by tines and compression or stabilizing plates. Also it is immune to loss of critical parts, is quick and easy to insert and retract with no special tools, eliminates the chance of wear on hawser or ship due to contact with anchor, has few or no moving parts and therefore has little potential for malfunction caused by wear or jamming, is small, compact, lightweight, and easily storable, is useable in a variety of soil types and conditions, has a simple design that is conducive to easy manufacture, and is lightweight, durable, and designed so that the forces that are exerted by the hawser on the anchor are efficiently transformed into soil compression forces. The curved-tine embodiment has greater holding power than the straight tine embodiments.

While the above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but as exemplifications of the presently preferred embodiments thereof. Many other ramifications and variations are possible within the teachings of the invention. For example, although the ground anchors have been described with reference to beachside anchoring of pleasure craft and the like, anchors according to the invention may be employed for a variety of purposes in various soil conditions. For example, other applications for the anchor include anchoring of light aircraft, helicopters and the like, tent staking, agricultural staking, or anchoring to enable winching of motor vehicles bogged down in sandy soils. Scaled-Patent up versions of the anchor that preserve the design can also serve in a variety of civil engineering applications. In the vessel anchoring applications the ground anchor's tines will be inserted straight down into the sand surface. In other applications where the tension on the hawser is more vertical, such as the anchoring of aircraft, tent staking, and so forth, the ground anchor's tines may be inserted some 20 to 30 degrees off vertical to compensate for the higher angle of tension on the hawser. In this case, a small hole should be dug that is shaped so that stabilizing member 26 (FIG. 9) rests completely against a sloping soil surface within the hole. While all the figures show ground anchors with three tines, two-tine and four or more-tine versions are also possible. However, anchors with more than three do not presently seem as desirable. In lieu of tines, a flat vertical plate can be substituted.

Thus the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and their legal equivalents, and not by the examples given.