Title:
Rope handling and storage apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An apparatus for storing and protecting a length of rope or similar line. The apparatus includes a container and a rope at least partially storable within the container. The rope includes a withdrawable portion selectively withdrawable from storage within the container. The container is configured such that the withdrawable portion of the rope can be selectively drawn back into storage within the container. The apparatus further includes a clutch coupled to the container, the clutch configured to releasably non-slippingly engage the withdrawable portion of the rope.



Inventors:
Hull, Thomas Richard (Coeur d' Alene, ID, US)
Application Number:
11/374879
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
03/14/2006
Assignee:
Cormorant, Inc.
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65H55/00; B65D85/00
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Primary Examiner:
SANDY, ROBERT JOHN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Gregory IPL, P.C. (SPOKANE VALLEY, WA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. An apparatus, comprising: a container; a rope at least partially storable within the container, the rope defining a withdrawable portion selectively withdrawable from storage within the container, wherein the container is configured such that the withdrawable portion of the rope can be selectively drawn back into storage within the container; and a clutch coupled to the container, the clutch configured to releasably non-slippingly engage the withdrawable portion of the rope.

2. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein: the withdrawable portion of the rope is a first withdrawable portion of the rope, the rope further defining a second withdrawable portion also selectively withdrawable from storage within the container; the clutch is a first clutch, the apparatus further comprising a second clutch also coupled to the container and configured to releasably non-slippingly engage a corresponding a second withdrawable portion of the rope; and the container is further configured such that the second withdrawable portion of the rope can be selectively drawn back into storage within the container.

3. The apparatus of claim 2, further comprising a snubber configured to absorb at least some tensional shock exerted on the rope.

4. The apparatus of claim 3 wherein the snubber includes at least one of an elastic band, or a rubber band.

5. The apparatus of claim 1, further comprising a selectively operable clasp coupled to the rope.

6. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the container is fabricated from at least one of canvas fabric, nylon fabric, or polyester fabric.

7. The apparatus of claim 1 wherein the clutch comprises at least one of a Prusik knot, a Kleimheist knot, or a rolling hitch knot.

8. An apparatus, comprising: a container defining a storage cavity and a sleeve portion, the storage cavity being selectively accessible by a user; a rope at least partially storable within the storage cavity, the rope defining first and second portions, wherein the first and second portions of the rope are respectively selectively withdrawable from the storage cavity, and wherein the first and second portions of the rope can be respectively selectively drawn back into the storage cavity; and a cord at least partially disposed within the sleeve portion of the container, the cord defining first and second clutch knots, each of the first and second clutch knots configured to releasably non-slippingly engage a corresponding one of the first and second portions of the rope.

9. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein: the cord further defines an anchor knot; and the container is configured such that the cord is substantially restrained within the sleeve portion by way of the anchor knot.

10. The apparatus of claim 8, further comprising a snubber coupled in parallel with the cord, the snubber configured to absorb at least some tensional shock exerted on the rope.

11. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the snubber comprises at least one of an elastic band, or a rubber band.

12. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein at least one of the first and second clutch knots is defined by a Prusik knot, a Kleimheist knot, or a rolling hitch knot.

13. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein: the container comprises a fabric; and the container defines a selectively sealable cover portion over the storage cavity.

14. The apparatus of claim 8, further comprising a selectively operable clasp secured to the rope.

15. The apparatus of claim 8 wherein the rope is configured to define a closed loop portion.

16. An apparatus, comprising: a container formed of fabric, the container defining a user accessible storage cavity and first and second openings communicative with the storage cavity, the container also defining a selectively sealable cover portion over the storage cavity, the container further defining a sleeve portion; a cord at least partially disposed within the sleeve portion, the cord defining first and second clutch knots disposed in respective adjacency to the first and second openings to the storage cavity, the cord restrained within the sleeve portion; and a rope at least partially storable within the storage cavity, the rope defining a first portion selectively withdrawable from the storage cavity by way of the first opening and cooperative with the first clutch knot, the rope further defining a second portion selectively withdrawable from the storage cavity by way of the second opening and cooperative with the second clutch knot, wherein the first and second portions of the rope can be respectively selectively drawn back into the storage cavity, and wherein each of the first and second clutch knots is configured to releasably non-slippingly engage a corresponding one of the first and second portions of the rope.

17. The apparatus of claim 16, further comprising a snubber supported within the sleeve portion of the container, the snubber coupled in parallel with the cord, the snubber configured to absorb at least some tensional shock exerted on the rope.

18. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein the rope is configured to define a closed loop portion.

19. The apparatus of claim 16, further comprising a selectively operable clasp secured to the rope.

20. The apparatus of claim 16 wherein at least one of the first and second clutch knots is defined by a Prusik knot, a Kleimheist knot, or a rolling hitch knot.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Patent Application Ser. No. 60/670,809, filed Apr. 13, 2005, and entitled “Rope Handling System”, which is hereby incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.

BACKGROUND

Power boating, sailing and other activities routinely require the use of a rope or ropes (commonly referred to as “lines”) for purposes of securing a vessel to a dock, for securing equipment to the deck of the vessel, etc. Professional mariners and some pleasure craft operators often put great care into coiling such ropes flat on the deck so as to avoid creating a trip hazard and to preserve the rope against snagging or damage, etc. It has been long recognized in the boating and other arts that even seemingly slight nicking or damaging of a rope (i.e., line) can substantially reduce its useful life. In the interest of life safety and/or property protection, such a “slightly damaged” rope is often discarded or relegated to another task.

Commonly, it is the slack or unused portion of a rope that is subject to damage, or is the cause of interference while performing various jobs about a vessel or work area. Furthermore, many smaller water craft lack sufficient deck area to permit the use of coiling or other traditional storage methods for ropes that otherwise need to be kept at the ready. Therefore, it is desirable to provide a system for handling and storing rope that addresses these and other concerns.

SUMMARY

One embodiment provides for an apparatus, including a container and a rope. The rope is at least partially storable within the container. Also, the rope defines a withdrawable portion that is selectively withdrawable from storage within the container by a user. The container is configured such that the withdrawable portion of the rope can be selectively drawn back into storage there within. The apparatus further includes a clutch that is coupled to the container. The clutch is configured to releasably and non-slippingly engage the withdrawable portion of the rope.

Another embodiment provides for an apparatus including a container that defines a storage cavity and a sleeve portion. The storage cavity of the container is selectively accessible by a user. The apparatus also includes a rope that is at least partially storable within the storage cavity of the container. The rope defines first and second portions that are respectively and selectively withdrawable from the storage cavity. Also, the first and second portions of the rope can be respectively and selectively drawn back into the storage cavity by a user. The apparatus further includes a cord that is at least partially disposed within the sleeve portion of the container. The cord defines (is configured to form) first and second clutch knots. Each of the first and second clutch knots is configured to releasably and non-slippingly engage a corresponding one of the first and second portions of the rope.

Yet another embodiment provides for an apparatus comprising a container formed of fabric. The container defines a user accessible storage cavity, and first and second openings communicative with the storage cavity. The container also defines a cover portion that is selectively sealable over the storage cavity. The container further defines a sleeve portion thereof. The apparatus also includes a cord that is at least partially disposed within the sleeve portion. In turn, the cord defines first and second clutch knots, which are respectively disposed in adjacency to the first and second openings to the storage cavity. The cord is further restrained within the sleeve portion of the container. The apparatus further includes a rope that is at least partially storable within the storage cavity of the container. The rope is configured to define a first portion thereof that is selectively withdrawable From the storage cavity, by way of the first opening. The first portion of the rope is cooperative with the first clutch knot. The rope also defines a second portion that is withdrawable from the storage cavity, by way of the second opening, and which is cooperative with the second clutch knot. The first and second portions of the rope can be respectively and selectively drawn back into the storage cavity. Furthermore, each of the first and second clutch knots is configured to releasably and non-slippingly engage a corresponding one of the first and second portions of the rope.

These and other aspects and embodiments will now be described in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a partially exploded perspective view depicting an apparatus according to one embodiment.

FIG. 2 is an alternate perspective view depicting the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a block diagrammatic view depicting system elements according to the present teachings.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view depicting a typical usage scenario in accordance with the present teachings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In representative embodiments, the present teachings provide apparatus for securing boats, cargo and other objects by way of selectively length-adjustable rope handling and storage apparatus.

Simultaneous and/or alternate reference is now made to FIGS. 1 and 2, which depict respective perspective views of an apparatus 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the present teachings. As depicted therein, FIG. 1 is a partially exploded perspective view of the apparatus 100, while FIG. 2 is an alternate perspective of the apparatus 100 in a fully assembled condition. The apparatus 100 (FIGS. 1 and 2) is also referred to herein as a rope handling and storage apparatus. The apparatus 100 includes a container 102. The container 102 can be generally defined by a fabric pouch or bag, or the like. The container 102 of FIG. 1 can be formed from any suitable, relatively robust fabric such as, for example, Cordura™, canvas, hemp, rayon, polyester, etc. Cordura# fabric is available from E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, Del. USA. Other suitable materials can also be used to form the container 102. While in the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1 and 2 the container 102 is fabricated from a flexible material, the container can also be fabricated from rigid materials, such as plastic, metal, etc.

The container 102 of the apparatus 100 is configured to define an internal storage cavity 104 (FIG. 1). As depicted in FIG. 1, the container 102 is in a generally open condition, thus allowing user access into the storage cavity 104. Alternately, FIG. 2 depicts the container 102 in a closed (i.e., sealed) condition with respect to the storage cavity 104. The storage cavity 104 is defined by sufficient internal volume to store a suitable length of rope 112 (described in further detail below). The container 102 defines a pair of through apertures 103 (FIG. 1) each configured to permit the rope 112 to pass there through. As described in greater detail below, the pair of through apertures 103 permits the user of the apparatus 100 to withdraw the rope 112 from, and to draw the rope 112 back into, the storage cavity 104.

The container 102 (FIGS. 1 and 2) includes a fabric swatch 105. Typically, the fabric swatch (i.e., patch, or strip) 105 is defined by the same fabric (e.g., Cordura™, canvas, hemp, etc.) as the balance of the container 102. However, another suitable fabric can also be used to form the swatch 105. As depicted in FIG. 1, the swatch 105 is assembled onto the rest of the container 102 in the direction of the pair of arrows “A” and stitched or otherwise suitably secured in place (FIG. 2). In assembled form (FIG. 2), the swatch 105 and the underlying portion of the container 102 cooperatively define an open-ended sleeve portion 106 (FIG. 2) of the container 102. The sleeve portion 106 is generally coincident with the pair of through apertures 103. In this way, each of the through apertures 103 can be considered cooperative with, or in communication with, the sleeve portion 106 of the container 102.

The container 102 (FIGS. 1 and 2) of the apparatus 100 is further configured to define a cover portion 108. The cover portion 108 can be opened and closed (i.e., is selectively sealable) by way of selectively mate-able snap portions 110A and 110B. In this way, the storage cavity 104 of the container 102 is accessible to a user by way of the cover portion 108. In another embodiment (not shown), the cover portion 108 of the container can be selectively sealed by way of, for example, hook-and-loop fastener material, a button-and-hole arrangement, etc. Other suitable sealing means can also be used. As depicted in FIG. 1, the snap portion 110B is coupled to the container 102 by way of a stand-off strap 111. In one embodiment, the stand-off strap 111 is formed from a woven nylon strapping material. Other suitable materials can also be used to form the stand-off strap 111. In normal use, the stand-off strap 111 permits relatively easy user engagement (i.e., mating) of the respective snap portions 110A and 110B when sealing the cover portion 108 over the storage cavity 104.

The apparatus 100 also includes a rope 112 (FIGS. 1 and 2). The rope 112 can be defined by a rope of any suitable material such as, for example, nylon, polypropylene, hemp, etc. In one embodiment, the rope 112 is defined by about twenty-five feet of three-strand, twisted, three-eighths inch diameter nylon rope. Other suitable ropes 112 and/or their respective materials and/or lengths can also be used. In any case, it is to be understood that at least some—typically a majority length-wise portion—of the rope 112 is stored (i.e., is storable) within the storage cavity 104 of the container 102. Such storage of the rope 112 within the container 102 can be accomplished by simple, non-entangled looping or gathering of the rope 112 within the storage cavity 104. The rope 112 is configured to define a first portion 114 and a second portion 116 respectively extending out of the container 102 via through apertures or openings 103. As will be further described hereinafter, each of the first and second portions 114 and 116 are also referred to as first and second withdrawable portions 114 and 116, respectively. The first and second portions 114 and 116 are generally defined by the two respective opposite ends of the rope 112. The second portion 116 of the rope 112 is configured to define a closed loop 118. In one embodiment, the loop 118 is formed by splicing an end portion of the rope 112 to another point along the rope 112 by known techniques. Other methods and/or means (not shown) can also be used to form the loop 118 in the rope 112.

The apparatus 110 includes a clasp 120 (FIGS. 1 and 2), which is secured to the first portion 114 of the rope 112. The clasp 120 can be defined by any suitable, selectively openable and/or closeable hardware device that is configured for user-operable engagement and disengagement from another entity. For example, the clasp 120 can be configured to engage (i.e., grasp, or encircle) a portion of the rope 112 during use in mooring a boat to a dock or piling, etc. Alternatively, the clasp 120 can be used, for example, to engage an eyebolt or other hardware during such a mooring procedure. In one embodiment, the clasp 120 is defined by a marine snap hook. Other forms of clasp 120 (not shown) can also be used such as, for example, a carabineer, a fixed open hook, a gate ring, a closeable chain link, etc. Thus, as used herein, the term “clasp” anticipates a wide range of grasping and/or hooking hardware forms. The clasp 120 is secured to the first portion 114 of the rope 112 by way of closed loop 122 (formed, for example, as described above in regard to the closed loop 118). Other suitable means for securing a clasp 120 to the rope 112 can also be used.

The apparatus 100 also includes a cord 124 (FIGS. 1 and 2). The cord 124 can be defined by any suitable material such as, for example, nylon, polypropylene, hemp, etc. In-one embodiment, the cord 124 is defined by about five feet of braided, one-quarter inch diameter nylon rope. Other suitable cords 124 and/or their respective materials and/or lengths can also be used. The cord 124 is routed through, and is at least partially disposed within, the sleeve portion 106 of the container 102. The cord 124 is secured or restrained within the sleeve portion 106 by way of an anchor knot 130 (FIG. 1) and a pair of oppositely disposed restraining straps (not shown in the interest of clarity). In any case, the cord 124 is mechanically coupled to, and generally inseparable from, the container 102. In one embodiment, the anchor knot 130 is defined by a “grapevine” knot (see reference text citation below). Other knots (not shown) or other suitable means (not shown) can also be used secure the cord 124 to the container 102 of the apparatus 100.

The cord 124 of the apparatus 100 is configured to define, or form, a first clutch knot 126 and a second clutch knot 128 (FIGS. 1 and 2). Each of the first and second clutch knots 126 and 128 is configured to selectively engage (i.e., grip) and disengage a corresponding one of the first and second portions 114 and 116 of the rope 112 in a substantially non-slip manner. Thus, the first clutch knot 126 is cooperative with the first portion 114, and the second clutch knot 128 is cooperative with the second portion 116, respectively, of the rope 112. In one embodiment, each of the first and second clutch knots 126 and 128 is defined by a “Prusik” knot. Other forms of clutch knot can also be used such as, for example, a “rolling hitch” knot or a “Kleimheist” knot. At least the Prusik knot, grapevine knot, and rolling hitch knot are respectively depicted and described within the text: THE MORROW GUIDE TO KNOTS, Mario Bigon and Guido Regazzoni, William Marrow and Company, Inc. (1982), ISBN: 0-688-012264.

Reference is now made to FIG. 2, and typical operation of the apparatus 100 (FIG. 2) is described as follows: A user manually grips either of the first clutch knot 126 or the second clutch knot 128, in a slight squeezing or compressive fashion with respect to the lengthwise aspect of the portion of the rope 112 passing there through. At the same time, the user pulls on the corresponding first or second portion (114 or 116) of the rope 112 in generally close adjacency to the user-gripped clutch knot (126 or 128) so as to withdraw a desired length-wise quantity of the rope 112 from the container 102. Once this selective quantity is withdrawn from the container 102, the user releases the present clutch knot (126 or 128), and gives the just-withdrawn portion (114 or 116) of the rope a slight tug to verify that the clutch knot (126 or 128) has non-slippingly engaged the rope 112.

Next, the user grips the other of the clutch knots (126 or 128; FIG. 2) in like fashion as just described, and pulls on the corresponding portion (114 or 116) of the rope 112 until a suitable lengthwise quantity is withdrawn from the storage cavity 104 of the container 102. Once this selective quantity is withdrawn, the user manually releases the present clutch knot (126 or 128) and gives the just-withdrawn portion (114 or 116) of the rope a slight tug to verify clutch knot (126 or 128) engagement. At this point, a substantially fixed, overall effective length of the rope (i.e., line) 112 is provided, as defined by the respectively withdrawn first and second portions 114 and 116 of the rope 112 and the cord 124. Any portion of the rope 112 that was not withdrawn from the storage cavity 104 remains therein and is generally out of the way and is protected by the container 102. The respective first and second portions 114 and 116 of the rope 112 can now be used as desired to moor a boat to a dock or piling, secure a load in place, etc.

Reference is now made to FIG. 1, and a general reversal of the operation described immediately above is considered. Such a procedure can be used to return (i.e., retract) at least some of the withdrawn first portion 114 and the withdrawn second portion 116 back into the container 102. In such an operation, a user opens the cover portion 108 of the container 102 by way of disengaging the respective snap portions 110A and 110B, thus providing user access into the storage cavity 104. Then, the user generally squeezes one or the other of the clutch knots 126 or 128 in the same manner as described above and manually pulls (draws) the corresponding first or second portion (114 or 116) of the rope 112 into the storage cavity 104. The overall neatness of the rope 112 within the storage cavity 104 is generally immaterial with respect to performing withdrawal operations at some future time.

After the desired quantity of the first or second portion (114 or 116; FIG. 1) of the rope 112 is drawn back into the container 102, the user releases of the present clutch knot (126 or 128), switching over (if desired) to perform essentially the same procedure on the other portion (114 or 116) of the rope 112, via the corresponding clutch knot (126 or 128). After the first and/or second portions 114 and/or 116 of the rope 112 are satisfactorily returned to the storage cavity 104 of the container 102, the cover portion 108 sealingly closed there over by way of the snap 110. As such, one full typical usage of the apparatus 100 is considered complete.

It is noted that the sleeve portion 106 of the container 102 is configured such that the cord 124 is substantially separated from that portion of the rope 112 that is within the storage cavity 104. In this way, the rope 112 and the cord 124 are generally protected against tangling with each other during normal use (e.g., withdrawal and/or retraction of first and second portions 114 and 116 of the rope 112). Also, the sleeve 106 serves to generally protect the cord 124 against snagging on entities external to the apparatus 100. However, it is to be understood that in another embodiment (not shown), the sleeve portion is eliminated and, for example, the cord (or its functional analog) is routed through that portion of the container defining the storage cavity 104. Other suitable embodiments (not shown) of, with, or without a sleeve (i.e., 106) can also be used.

In another embodiment (not shown), either or both clutch knots (i.e., 126 and 128) are replaced with another similarly operating mechanism or device. For example, one of skill in the mountaineering and climbing arts is familiar with various devices known as “ascenders” that can be used to selectively engage and disengage a rope in substantially similar effect as the clutch knots 126 and 128 of the apparatus 100. Other selectively operable rope (or line) gripping devices (not shown) can also be used. In any event, any clutch knots (e.g., 126 and 128) and/or other mechanical rope-clutching devices (not shown) are collectively referred to herein as a clutch or clutches. Also, in another embodiment (not shown), the closed loop 118 and/or the clasp 120 are omitted and another suitable end treatment of the first and/or second portions (114 and 116) of the rope 112 is used (e.g., left smooth and untreated, formed into another type of knot, secured to a throwing weight, etc.).

In yet another embodiment (not shown in FIGS. 1 or 2; see FIG. 3), a snubber 240 is included. A snubber can be defined by or include, for example, an elastic band, a rubber strap including an eyelet at each end, etc. Other forms of snubber can also be used. In such an embodiment, the snubber 240 (FIG. 3) is disposed within a sleeve portion (e.g., 106 of FIG. 2) of a container and is coupled to a corresponding cord (e.g., cord 124 of FIGS. 1 and 2). Other configurations of rope handling and storage apparatus (not shown) respectively including a snubber can also be used. In any case, such a snubber is configured to absorb, by way of elastic behavior, at least some of the tensional (i.e., lengthwise, or axial) shock that is (or can be) exerted on a rope (e.g., 112 of FIGS. 1 and 2) of the corresponding apparatus.

FIG. 3 is a block diagrammatic view depicting a system 200 in accordance with the present teachings. The system 200 includes various cooperative elements that are selectively combinable and applicable in any number of corresponding embodiments in accordance with the present teachings. Thus, as depicted in FIG. 3, the system 200 is intended to represent cumulative principles of the present teachings herein.

The system 200 of FIG. 3 includes a container 202. The container 202 can be defined by any suitable container or housing consistent with the storage and use of a rope or similar line-type article. Non-limiting examples of such a container 202 include a fabric pouch-or bag-like configuration, a substantially water-proof plastic or rubber housing, a box-like structure, etc. The container 202 of the system 200 is configured to define a user-accessible storage cavity 204. The storage cavity 204 defines sufficient volume so as receive and store a suitable quantity of rope or similar line-like material 212 (e.g., wire, cord, etc.). Thus, the storage cavity 204 is volumetrically defined in accordance with particular, pre-determined needs and objectives. The container 202 further defines a sleeve portion 206. The sleeve portion 206 is substantially separated from, but generally adjacent to, the storage cavity 204.

The system 200 also includes one or a pair of clutches 208. Each of the clutches 208 can be defined by a suitable clutch-type knot (e.g., a Prusik knot, a rolling hitch knot, a Kleimheist knot, etc.), or any other suitable mechanical device (e.g., an ascender, a cam-like gripping device, etc.) configured to selectively engage and disengage a rope or similar entity in a substantially non-slip fashion under user control. In any case, the clutches 208 are mechanically coupled to each other by way of suitable cord (or rope, wire, etc.) 224. In turn, the cord 224 is routed through the sleeve portion 206 and secured (i.e., coupled) to the container 202.

The system 200 of FIG. 3 also includes a rope 212. The rope 212 can be defined by any suitable form and/or length or rope, wire, or line-like material. The length-wise majority of the rope 212 is storable within the storage cavity 204 of the container 202. Also, the rope 212 defines a first withdrawable portion 214 and a second withdrawable portion 216. Each of the first and second portions 214 and 216 of the rope 212 is routed through or otherwise mechanically cooperative with a corresponding one of the clutches 208. The rope 212 also defines respective opposite ends 242. Each end 242 can respectively define or include: a closed loop; a clasp, hook or other hardware device; a knot, splice or other end finish, etc. In any case, each of the ends 242 of the rope 212 can be suitably configured and/or appointed for a predetermined use or range of uses.

The system 200 can further include a snubber 240 that is mechanically coupled to the cord 224. The snubber 240 can be defined by any suitable shock-absorbing device of elastic or similar behavior. As depicted in FIG. 3, the snubber 240 is coupled to the cord 224 in a generally parallel, or “shunt” arrangement such that tensional shock exerted on the rope 212 is transferred to the snubber 240 by way of the cord 224. In this way, the rope 212 and the cord 224 need not absorb, or dissipate, the full brunt of any such tensional shock or stretching that can occur, for example, when the system 200 is used to moor a craft or secure a load thereto in rough weather, etc. In one or more other embodiments (not shown), a snubber (e.g., 240, etc.) is coupled in series (i.e., in-line) with two corresponding portions of a cord (e.g., 224, etc.), rather than in the parallel arrangement depicted in FIG. 3.

The elements of the system 200 of FIG. 3 can be suitably combined, multiplied and/or omitted as desired in accordance with the present teachings. In this way, the present teachings envision any number of rope handling and storage apparatus embodiments suitable for respective applications in boating, sailing, cargo handling and shipping, etc.

FIG. 4 is a side elevation view depicting a typical usage scenario 300 in accordance with the present teachings. The scenario includes a water craft 302. As depicted in FIG. 4, the water craft 302 is floating at a water surface 304 in relatively near adjacency to a dock 306. The water craft is secured (or moored) to the dock 306 by way of a rope handling and storage apparatus (apparatus) 308. The apparatus 308 can be defined by any suitable embodiment of the present teachings such as, for example, the apparatus 100 of FIGS. 1 and 2, an apparatus defined in accordance with the elements of the system 200 of FIG. 3, etc. In any case, the apparatus 308 includes a first withdrawable portion of rope 310 that is secured directly to the water craft 302, and a second withdrawable portion of rope 312 that is secured to the dock 306 by way of a piling (or post) 314. In this way, the water craft 302 can be readily moored to the dock 306, or another structure, by use of any suitable embodiment (e.g., 308, etc.) of the present teachings. Comparably, the water craft 302 can be released from such moorings and the corresponding rope handling and storage apparatus (e.g., 308, etc.) can be conveniently stowed away for later use.

While the above methods and apparatus have been described in language more or less specific as to structural and methodical features, it is to be understood, however, that they are not limited to the specific features shown and described, since the means herein disclosed comprise preferred forms of putting the invention into effect. The methods and apparatus are, therefore, claimed in any of their forms or modifications within the proper scope of the appended claims appropriately interpreted in accordance with the doctrine of equivalents.