Title:
Small watercraft propulsion device and exercise apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Foot operated paddling device comprising a removable or permanently attached vertical pole, which adjustably supports or suspends a paddle for propulsion of a watercraft or use as an exercise device. The vertical pole is attached to a mounting base, which adjusts the vertical pole horizontally in relation to a user. A pivotal locking device such as an oarlock mechanism, that can be an integral part of a paddle shaft or the vertical pole, is provided for fastening the shaft of the paddle to the vertical pole with a desired angle. The shaft of the paddle rotates on top of the vertical pole on its axle and the lower part of the vertical pole and the lower part of the vertical pole can also turn on its axle to create additional pivot. Pivotal connection permits both clockwise and counter-clockwise, as well as multitude of horizontal, vertical and circular motions at different phases of the stroke. Propulsion is provided by legs and lower body muscles of the user by placing and resting a foot on each opposite side of the shaft of the paddle and by pushing and kicking the shaft of the paddle alternating from side to side. A second vertical pole can be used to support a paddle for hand operation in a same manner. The vertical pole can be any surface that will support or suspend a pivotal locking device, with a shaft of a paddle attached to it or the oarlock and the paddle being suspended as long as it will not hinder the freedom of movement of the paddle.



Inventors:
Vartanian, Vagharshak (Springfield, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/025962
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
01/03/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63H16/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SOTELO, JESUS D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
VAGHARSHAK VARTANIAN (SPRINGFIELD, VA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A paddling device for a watercraft or exercise machine for operation by the feet of the user, comprising: a vertical structure mounted along the longitudinal centerline of a said paddling device, a pivotal mechanism mounted on the distal end of said vertical structure, and a shaft of a double-bladed oar mounted in said pivotal mechanism.

2. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said pivotal mechanism is an oarlock.

3. Paddling device of claim 1 wherein the vertical position of said pivotal mechanism mounted on said vertical structure is adjustable.

4. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein the location of said pivotal mechanism of said vertical structure is adjustable in the horizontal plain along the longitudinal centerline of said paddling device.

5. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein the angle of said vertical structure with respect to the centerline of said paddling device can be adjusted to an angle of less then 90 degrees.

6. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said vertical structure is a vertical pole or rod.

7. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said vertical structure is rectangular in shape and its plane is parallel to the longitudinal axis of the paddling device.

8. The paddling device of claim 6 wherein said pole has an inverted “L” shape and the horizontal member of said pole can be adjusted in the vertical direction and the pivotal mechanism can be moved along the horizontal member while said horizontal member maintains a fixed orientation relative to the longitudinal axis of said paddling device.

9. The paddling device of claim 6 wherein said pole has two elements mounted in a line parallel with the longitudinal centerline of said watercraft and the pivotal mechanism is mounted on a carrying structure in the form of an inverted “U”.

10. The paddling device of claim 9 wherein the carrying structure is adjustable in the vertical direction by movement along the two poles and the pivotal mechanism is adjustable in the horizontal direction by movement along the horizontal portion of the carrying structure.

11. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said vertical structure is comprised of a vertical pole and a second pole perpendicular to it oriented in a direction along the longitudinal centerline of said paddling device, said second pole carrying the pivotal mechanism and being movable in a vertical direction along said first pole with a mechanism to lock the pivotal mechanism in place.

12. The paddling device of claim 11 wherein the position of the pivotal mechanism may be adjustable along said second pole.

13. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said vertical structure is attached to a mounting base.

14. The paddling device of claim 13 wherein said base comprises comprises a second vertical structure, oarlock and a paddle.

15. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein the said mounting base contains a seat.

16. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said shaft comprises foot plates mounted to either side of said pivotal mechanism on said shaft.

17. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein paddles are mounted on either end of said shaft and said paddles are offset from the centerline of said shaft.

18. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein paddles are mounted on either end of said shaft and said paddles are connected by a shaft which is further comprised of a central frame section that secures two cross bars which can be adjusted laterally and whose angle can be adjusted within the frame in relation to the paddles.

19. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said shaft is comprised of an adjustable curved shaft wherein a central shaft section is connected to pair of second shaft sections that are connected to a pair of third sections which are connected to a pair of paddles, each end of said shaft sections is comprised of a serrated locking joint that can be tightened with a bolt and nut.

20. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein paddles are mounted on either end of said shaft and the blades are attached to said shaft on its upper edge.

21. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein paddles are mounted on either end of said shaft and said paddles are connected by a shaft which is further comprised of a central frame section that secures two cross bars whose angles can be adjusted within the frame laterally.

22. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said paddling device has a second vertical structure containing an oarlock and paddle for paddling with the hands.

23. The paddling device of claim 22 wherein said second paddle comprises a pair of cross bars.

24. The paddling device of claim 1 wherein said shaft is connected with one or more extensions to the shaft of the motor.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates generally to the field of small watercraft rowing devices and a method for propelling a water craft forward or backward in addition to the field of health and fitness exercise equipment. Most particularly, the invention relates to a watercraft having a paddle attached with means for supporting or suspending an oar so that it can be adjusted for its horizontal and vertical position with respect to a user. An exercise equipment embodiment of the present invention for lower and full body exercise is readily apparent.

2. Discription Of The Prior Art

There are no paddling devices known or taught in the prior art that operate a double bladed oar by feet or mechanical means and utilize the method for rowing a double bladed oar in a water craft as described herein.

In conventional rowing systems two oars are utilized that have attachment points located outboard on the gunwales or outriggers as far as possible, with handle portions located somewhere inboard of that point. A rower sits facing the stern of the boat and using a pulling motion on the power stroke, propels the boat in the opposite direction he is facing. Other rowing systems include a sliding seat, allowing the use of legs to assist in the pulling. The main drawback of such systems is that the rawer has difficulty seeing where he is going and must twist around to see what is in front of the boat. This creates the danger of a collision, especially if there are other rearward facing rowers in the same area. Additionally, such systems are not suited to such activity as viewing or photographing wildlife or rowing on winging rivers or rivers with navigational hazards.

Forward rowing systems are taught in the prior art for use with small watercraft such as kayaks. U.S. Pat. No. 5,685,750 issued to Rantilla discloses a rowing apparatus that enables a foot operated apparatus to assist in the rowing and positioning of the oars during a rowing stroke. Forward rowing systems known in the prior art have failed to provide a solution which allows a rower to create propulsion via paddles using a foot apparatus or propulsion where a user operates a foot apparatus and a handheld apparatus, each providing motion to their own respective paddles.

Leg or foot operated propulsion devices for use in small watercraft have been well established in the prior art. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 6,022,249 issued to Ketterman teaches propulsion means comprised of a pair of flappers each adapted to oscillate through an arcuate path in a generally traverse direction with respect to the central longitudinal dimension of a watercraft. U.S. Pat. No. 5,460,551 teaches a pedal powered kayak containing a sear and a set of rotatable pedals that create propulsion.

Oarlocks are also well known to those of ordinary skill in the art. U.S. Pat. No. 4,941,855 issued to Agner discloses an oarlock comprising a pin adopted to be mounted for pivotal movement about a general vertical axis that could be used by the present invention.

The typical paddle in so-called “feathered” construction comprises a pair of blade mounted on opposite ends of a shaft generally of round cross section and with the planes of the blades oriented in perpendicular relation to each other. A non-feathered paddle follows the same construction except that the blades reside in the same plane. For both types, the rower asserts force on the paddle by gripping the shaft near the paddle blade being stroked with one hand while keeping the opposite hand spaced outwardly and gripping another portion of the same shaft. However, neither type is constructed so that feet, either individually or in combination are able to grip the shaft on either side.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a principal object of the present invention to provide a new and improved paddling device which overcomes the disadvantages of the prior art previously discussed in a simple but effective manner.

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a foot operated paddling device and a method for rowing a conventional or double bladed oar in a kayak or other small watercraft as the object of the present invention. The vertical pole (hereafter referred to as a “vertical pole” or “pole”), which is the most preferred embodiment of the present invention, can be substituted by any kind of surface or a pole with many different kinds of angles and or configurations, as long as it will support or suspend a pivotal and locking device, including but not limited to, an oarlock, with a shaft of a paddle attached to it or the oarlock and the paddle being suspended as long as it will not hinder the freedom of the movement of the paddle during its use.

The device can be used for recreational and professional purposes by anyone. Because of its low impact nature it can be extensively used by physically disables, especially those who have hand, arm, or finger injuries, or amputations, as well as by those who need to exercise their legs but for some health reasons such as knees, joints, and varicose problems are unable or uncomfortable with jogging or walking.

The user of the device will be able to engage in other simultaneous activities. Such as, nature photography, fishing, hunting waterfowl, sailing, and for military use, because the device will enable the user to move, stop, and have a complete control over his watercraft, while at the same time to have a rifle or other small arms in his hands and being able to aim and fire at all times, if necessary.

In an alternative embodiment the apparatus for enabling the propulsion of a watercraft allows the use of legs and arm motion to create the force necessary to create propulsion. In this embodiment the first supporting shaft is moved toward one end of the base and a second supporting shaft is added to the base. The second supporting shaft also consists of a second oarlock type device for supporting a second double bladed paddle.

Another advantage of the propulsion system of the present invention is that it may be connected to a motor located within the watercraft either to produce propulsion or to generate electricity in conjunction to the user's strokes.

It is also an object of the invention to teach an exercise device, which will simulate the above invention, thereby providing aerobic exercise generated primarily by legs and lower body muscles. Another object of the present invention a foot and hand operated device and method for rowing a common oar or modified bladed oar.

Oar construction according to the present invention teaches paddle design enabling both feet to grip the shaft to substantially increase the pushing effect on the oar. Oar construction also provides for an oar that can be used by either the rower's hands or feet to create propulsion.

It is a general goal of the invention to provide improved elements and arrangements thereof in an apparatus for the purposes described which is inexpensive, dependable and fully effective in accomplishing its intended purposes. These together with other objects of the invention, along with various features of novelty, which characterize the invention, are pointed out with particularity in the claims annexed to and forming a part of this disclosure. For a better understanding of the invention, its operating its operating advantages and the specific objects attained by its users, reference should be made to the accompanying drawings and descriptive matter in which there are illustrated preferred embodiments of the invention

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrated the present invention and the orientation of the rower;

FIG. 2 is an overview of the present invention;

FIG. 3 shows a detailed view of the invention and the component parts of the assembly;

FIG. 4a is a side view of a paddle featuring a curved shaft according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4b is a side view of a paddle featuring a straight shaft with cross bars according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4c illustrates a cross bar of a paddle according to the present invention;

FIG. 4d is a side view of an oar featuring a straight shaft with foot plates according to an alternative embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 4e is an improved paddle comprising an adjustable, non-rotating cross bars and a looped center framed section in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4f illustrates a paddle comprising a modular shaft with adjustable connection points in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4g illustrates the adjustable connection point of the modular shaft in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 4h is a paddle wherein the shaft connects the blades on one side rather than in the center;

FIG. 5a illustrates the exercise device in its most basic form;

FIG. 5b illustrates the assembly apparatus of the present invention comprising an adjustable angle for the vertical pole for use in a watercraft or as in exercise device;

FIG. 5c illustrates the assembly apparatus of the present invention comprising two poles for supporting both the arm and leg shafts for use in a watercraft or as in exercise device;

FIG. 5d illustrates the assembly apparatus of the present invention further comprising a seat affixed to the base for use in a watercraft or as in exercise device;

FIG. 6a illustrates the horizontal and vertical adjustment of the paddle in accordance with the present invention;

FIG. 6b and illustrates the diagonal adjustment of the vertical pole's support in accordance with the present invention for use in watercraft or as in exercise device;

FIGS. 6c and 6d illustrates the horizontal and vertical adjustment of the paddle in accordance with the present invention for use in a watercraft or as in exercise device;

FIG. 6e illustrates a suspended paddle in accordance with another embodiment of the present invention for use in a watercraft or as in exercise device;

FIG. 7 illustrates the propulsion device of the present invention coupled with two motors within a watercraft;

FIG. 8 illustrates the extensions necessary to connect a motor to the rotation of the Paddle in accordance to the present invention;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBADIMENT

In the following detailed description of the invention of the exemplary embodiments of the invention, reference is made to the accompanying drawings (where like numbers represent like elements), which form a part hereof and in which is shown by way of illustration specific exemplary embodiments in which the invention can be practiced. In the following description, numerous specific details are set forth to provide a thorough understanding of the invention. However, it is understood that the invention may be practiced with out these specific details. In another instance, well-known structures and techniques known to one of the ordinary skill in the art have not been shown in detail in order not to obscure the invention.

Referring to the figures, it is possible to see the various major elements constituting the apparatus of the present invention. The invention is a small watercraft (27) propulsion device that operates in such a manner to provide propulsion for a small watercraft. The major elements consist of a removable or permanently attached vertical pole, a paddle, a base (30), and a watercraft and an exercise apparatus.

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is described herein and shown in FIG. 1 and in exploded form in FIG. 3. The small watercraft (27) paddling device includes a removable or permanently attached vertical pole (28) along the centerline in relation to port (23) and starboard (22) of the watercraft (27), which supports (23) a double bladed paddle (21) and is adjusted so that it can move the paddle (21) higher or lower. The vertical pole (28) could be substituted by any kind of surface, structure or a pole with bottom part of the vertical pole (28) can be attached to a mounting base (30), which can be secured to a cockpit (25). The vertical pole (28) can be adjusted horizontally to the base (30).

The apparatus can be used to create either a forward or backward propulsion motion for a small watercraft. If the pushing leg is on the top side (40) of the paddle's shaft (26) and the retreating leg is on the lower side (41) of the paddle's shaft (26), it will propel the watercraft forward. If the pushing leg is on the lower side (41) of the paddle's shaft (26) and the retracting leg is on the top side (40) of the paddle's shaft (26), it will propel the watercraft backwards.

Now referring to FIGS. 5a-d, various known embodiments of the invention are illustrated for exercise devices in accordance with the present invention. In FIG. 5a, the present invention is shown in its most simplistic form consisting of a base (30), vertical pole (28) and an oarlock (31) for supporting a double bladed paddle (21). Referring to FIG. 5b, an angle of the vertical pole (28) is adjusted on the shaft supporting pole (37).

Now referring to FIG. 5c, there is provided an embodiment of the invention where the apparatus is embodied as an exercise apparatus, which allows the use of leg and arm motion to work the upper and lower body muscles. In this embodiment the first supporting shaft (28) is moved toward one end of the base and the second supporting shaft (38) is added to the base (30). The second supporting shaft also consists of a second oarlock (39) for supporting the second double bladed paddle (40).

In yet another embodiment illustrated in FIG. 5d, the apparatus can have a seat (29) mounted on the base (30) to provide a secure means for a user to use that apparatus as an alternative to less desirable alternative, such as using an existing seat or separate chair or stool. The seat on the base or separate from the base may be fixed in a set position or may be adjustable. An adjustable seat would allow a user to move closer or further away from the supporting poles (28 &38), closer or further away from the base (30) or both. Additionally, the height of the base can also be adjusted.

The base (30) may adjust the vertical pole (28) horizontally by moving it forward or backward in relation to the user, according to the users size and comfort. The vertical pole (28) can be attached directly to the watercraft without adjustable or removable base (30), either on the hull, or on top of the deck of the watercraft (27). The distance between the user and the vertical pole (28) can be adjusted by changing the position of the seat (29) inside the kayak in relation to the vertical pole (28).

The upper part of the pole (28) has a pivotal and locking device such as an oarlock (31) mechanism, which can fasten the shaft (26) of the paddle (21) in the middle of it with a desired angle. The shaft (26) of the paddle (21) will rotate on top of the vertical pole (28) on its axle. The lower part of the vertical pole (28) may also turn on its axle to create additional pivot. The pivotal connection will permit both clockwise and counter clockwise and multitude of horizontal, vertical and circular motions at different phases of the stroke.

The propulsion is provided by legs and lower body muscles of the user by placing and resting a foot on each opposite side of the shaft (26) of the paddle (21) and by pushing and kicking the shaft (26) of the paddle (21) alternating from side to side, as the leg stroke alternate, thereby putting the watercraft in motion.

Now referring to FIG. 4d, since, during each motion of the stroke the position and the angle of each side of the shaft (26) will constantly move and change the opposite direction from the other side, it may create tension and discomfort on the ankles of an inexperienced user. Therefore, in order to prevent this problem the user may wear special shoe like devices (35 &36) on his/her shoes, or place pivotal plates, or place pivotal plates (35 &36) on each side of the paddle (21), which will eliminate stress from the ankles regardless of the position of the angle of the sides of the shaft (26) in a given moment during its operation.

The device can be used with conventional double bladed paddle, especially for narrow watercrafts, such as most kayaks, or by a modified double bladed paddle with curved shaft (32) as illustrated in FIG. 4a for canoes and other small watercrafts that are wider and higher then conventional kayaks.

The mounting base (30) can accommodate a second vertical pole (28) with a pivotal device and a paddle (21) to enable the user to paddle (21) the kayak with hands as well as feet, which will resemble two paddlers paddling a tandem kayak. The alternating leg strokes should be performed in cooperation and conjunction with simultaneous arm strokes to achieve higher speed and more power as well as full body exercise.

The vertical pole (28) may also be adjustable. One manner of adjustability is by simply fastening a nut or a wing nut to a bolt (51) n a semicircle supporting the vertical pole (28) at a desired angle. The bolt would go through the semicircle at the vertical pole (28) or can be attached to the vertical pole (28). Another way to adjust the angle of the vertical pole (28) is by utilizing a serrated interlocking joint that can be placed into position and tightened with a simple screw and wing nut.

Now referring to FIGS. 4b-c, the shaft (26) of the paddle (21) may have removable and adjustable cross bars (33 &34), which will be vertically attached to each side of the paddle (21). The cross bars (33 &34) will be placed on the shaft (26) of the paddle (21) in the most effective and ergonomically correct location and angle in relation to the blades (24). The cross bars (33) are able to be rotated a full 360 degrees around the paddle shaft (26) by loosening and tightening a set bolt (51) or bolts that provide a clamping force between the cross bar (33) and the paddle shaft (26) when tightened.

Various other paddles may be used by a rower in combination with the present invention as illustrated in FIGS. 4e-h depending on the type of the watercraft or performance for design. FIG. 4e illustrates one such paddle where the blades (24) are connected via a shaft (26) which comprises a central frame section (52) which secures two cross bars (33 &34) whose angle can be adjusted together with the frame (53) located between the blades (24). The central frame section (52) located between the blades (24) can be permanently attached to the blades (24) or it can be connected in an adjustable manner to each blade (24) on each side. The two cross bars (33 &34) can also be adjustable towards each other and the blades (24).

An adjustable curved shaft paddle is illustrated in FIG. 4f where a central shaft section (64) is connected to a pair of second shaft sections (57 &58) that are then connected to a pair of third shaft section (59 &60) that are connected to blades (24). Now referring to FIG. 4g, each end of the shaft section is comprised of a serrated interlocking joint (61) that can be placed into position and tightened with a simple bolt and wing nut (70). Such joints are commonly known in the prior art, but have not been incorporated in the paddle designs.

In yet another embodiment, where the watercraft is wider and higher then a typical kayak, a paddle as illustrated in FIG. 4b is desired. Here, to overcome the higher design of some watercraft where the use of the conventional paddle would be uncomfortable or impossible for a rower, a shaft (26) is connected to one blade edge (62 &63) rather than to the center of a blade (24).

Now referring to FIGS. 6a-6e, the adjustability of the vertical pole (28) is taught. The vertical pole (28), which is the most preferred embodiment of the present invention, can be substituted by any kind of surface or a pole with many different kinds of angles and or configurations, as long as it will support or suspend a pivotal and locking device such as an oarlock, with a shaft of a paddle attached to it or the oarlock and the paddle being suspended as long as it will not hinder the freedom of the movement of the paddle during its use.

In a first embodiment as shown in FIG. 6a, the supporting shaft (28) is constructed of a tubular, square, or rectangular peace of material that allows for an L shaped horizontal pole (42) to be inserted. In this configuration, the portion of the L shaped horizontal pole (42) inserted in to the supporting shaft (28) can be adjusted up or down to effectuate vertical adjustment (y) while the oarlock (31) can be placed in a number of positions along the exposed L shaped horizontal pole (42) to enable adjustment in the horizontal plane (x).

This same concept can be used to provide for adjustability when a second supporting shaft is used to provide for a more stable support. In this embodiment illustrated in FIG. 6c, the horizontal pole now has two L shaped ends (44 &45) each extending into the supporting shafts (28 &43) providing for adjustability in the same manner as previously described. In an alternative embodiment, it may be desirable for the paddle to be suspended and not supported as shown in FIG. 6e. The apparatus taught by the present invention can be used to either suspend or support one or more paddles as desired.

Now referring to FIG. 6b, the vertical pole (28) has an adjustable angle. The shaft supporting pole (37) enables adjustment of the vertical pole (28) on an exercise machine or in a watercraft.

FIG. 6b illustrated another embodiment for providing an adjustable vertical support (28). In this embodiment the perpendicular surface (46) can be used to support the horizontal pole (28) and an oarlock (31). The perpendicular surface (46) can be made in such a manner that it posses many locations where the vertical support (28) may be attached, resulting in vertical adjustment. In this embodiment, as other, horizontal adjustment is provided by vertical support (28) having a plurality of places where the oarlock (31) may be located.

Now referring to FIG. 7, another advantage of the propulsion system of the present invention is that it may be connected to a motor (47) located within the watercraft (27) either to produce propulsion or to generate electricity in conjunction with a user's strokes. The paddle's shaft (26) is connected to a first extension (48), which is then connected to a second extension (49). The second extension (49) rotates together with the motor's arm (50) on the shaft of the motor, and in the process of pushing forward and pulling back on the paddle's shaft (26) to move, creating strokes.

FIG. 8 illustrates a close up diagonal view of the motor (47), two extensions (48 &49), the paddle's shaft (50) and the vertical pole (28).

It is appreciated that the optimum dimensional relationships for the parts f the invention to include variation in size, materials shape, form, function, and manner of operation, assembly and use are deemed readily apparent and obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art, and all the equivalent relationships to those illustrated in the drawings and described in the above description are intended to be encompassed by the present invention.

Furthermore, other areas of the art may benefit from this method and adjustments to the design are anticipated. Thus, the scope of the invention should be determined by the appended claims and other legal equivalents, rather then by the examples given.





 
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