Title:
Pilot house isolator
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A boat having a hull and a separate a passenger compartment with one or more suspension elements suspending the passenger compartment structure relative to the hull, the one or more suspension elements provide means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull. According to one aspect of the invention, the means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull include the one or more suspension elements formed as blocks of resiliently compressible material.



Inventors:
Carnevali, Jeffrey D. (Seattle, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/322832
Publication Date:
07/05/2007
Filing Date:
12/30/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
114/283
International Classes:
B63B1/00; B63B1/20
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20070266924Ship Hull and a Method of Manufacturing Such a HullNovember, 2007Jonsson
20070209570StrakesSeptember, 2007Haney et al.
20100031865SYSTEM FOR ATTACHING A FLEXIBLE COVER AND AN EDGE CLIP FOR THE SAMEFebruary, 2010Bryant et al.
20080029011Twist-n-seal hatchFebruary, 2008Czarnowski et al.
20080060569Pedal powered kayakMarch, 2008Howard et al.
20070028827Marine hydro lift flaps and methods of using sameFebruary, 2007Smith
20090158984PREPREG COMPOSITE MATERIAL DISCONTINUOUS AND CONTINUOUS SAILBOAT RIGGING SYSTEM AND METHOD OF MANUFACTUREJune, 2009Sjostedt et al.
20100000461Foil shapes for use in barge skegs and marine propeller shroudsJanuary, 2010Waite et al.
20100083890Rotating T-Top for center console boatApril, 2010Johnson
20050051075Boat hullMarch, 2005Buzzi
20030217683Pneumatic boat cover liftNovember, 2003Heckman



Primary Examiner:
BASINGER, SHERMAN D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Charles J. Rupnick (Seatlle, WA, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A boat, comprising: a hull; a passenger compartment structure that is separate from the hull; and one or more suspension elements elastically suspending the passenger compartment structure relative to the hull.

2. The boat of claim 1 wherein the one or more suspension elements further comprise means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull.

3. The boat of claim 1 wherein the one or more suspension elements further comprise blocks of resiliently compressible material.

4. The boat of claim 1 wherein the one or more suspension elements further comprise a plurality of suspension elements each further comprising a combination compression spring and hydraulic vibration damper.

5. The boat of claim 1 wherein the hull further comprises twin hulls configured as a catamaran having a substantially rigid deck plate spanning the twin hulls, wherein the one or more suspension elements elastically suspend the passenger compartment structure relative to the deck plate.

6. The boat of claim 1, further comprising an extension limiter limiting separation of the passenger compartment structure relative to the hull.

7. The boat of claim 1, further comprising a plurality of the suspension elements arranged between the passenger compartment structure and the hull.

8. A boat, comprising: a planing hull; and a passenger compartment structure separated from the hull by at least one elastic connection assembly interposed and coupled between the passenger compartment and the hull.

9. The boat of claim 8, further comprising a deck plate attached to the hull between the hull and the passenger compartment; and wherein the elastic connection assembly is further interposed and coupled between the passenger compartment and the deck plate.

10. The boat of claim 8, further comprising a plurality of the elastic connection assemblies interposed and coupled between the passenger compartment and the deck plate.

11. The boat of claim 10 wherein the elastic connection assemblies further comprise elastic connection assemblies selected from the group of elastic connection assemblies including: shock absorbers, coil springs, and blocks of resiliently compressible material.

12. The boat of claim 9 wherein the hull further comprises a catamaran hull, and the deck plate further spans the twin hulls.

13. The boat of claim 9, further comprising one or more extension limiters coupled between the passenger compartment and the hull.

14. A method for isolating a boat passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds, the method comprising: in a boat having a planing hull, structuring a passenger compartment separately from the hull; and resiliently suspending the passenger compartment relative to the hull.

15. The method of claim 14 wherein resiliently suspending the passenger compartment further comprises coupling one or more suspension elements between the passenger compartment and the hull.

16. The method of claim 15, further comprising structuring a boat having a planing hull with a deck plate; and wherein resiliently suspending the passenger compartment relative to the hull further comprises resiliently suspending the passenger compartment from the deck plate.

17. The method of claim 16, further comprising structuring a boat having double planing hulls structured as a catamaran with the deck plate spanning between the hulls.

18. The method of claim 15 wherein the one or more suspension elements each further comprises one of a shock absorber, a coil spring, and a block of resiliently compressible material.

19. The method of claim 15 wherein: structuring a passenger compartment separately from the hull further comprises structuring a passenger compartment having a floor member that is structured separately from the hull; and resiliently suspending the passenger compartment relative to the hull further comprises resiliently suspending the passenger compartment floor member relative to the hull.

20. The method of claim 14, further comprising coupling one or more extension limiters between the passenger compartment and the hull, the one or more extension limiters being capable of limiting a maximum separation between the passenger compartment and the hull.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a marine vehicle, and in particular to mechanical isolation of a pilot house or other cabin structure from a hull portion of a marine vehicle.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

It is well known that the cabin, cockpit and pilot house of typical marine vehicles, i.e., pleasure boats, are rigidly fixed to the boat hull. Accordingly, particularly in planing hull boats, riders in the boat are constantly bounced and jarred during high-speed travel over rough or choppy water. As a result of this bouncing and jarring, the ride is uncomfortable, and manual control of the boat's speed and heading may be degraded.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes limitations of the prior art by providing a boat having a hull, a passenger compartment structure that is separate from the hull, and one or more suspension elements suspending the passenger compartment structure relative to the hull.

According to one aspect of the invention, the one or more suspension elements provide means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull.

According to one aspect of the invention, the means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull include the one or more suspension elements formed as blocks of resiliently compressible material.

According to another aspect of the invention, the means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull include a plurality of the suspension elements formed of a combination compression spring and hydraulic vibration damper.

According to another aspect of the invention, the hull further includes twin hulls configured as a catamaran, and a deck plate is provided as a generally planar plate spanning the twin hulls.

According to another aspect of the invention, the one or more suspension elements are a plurality of the suspension elements arranged between the passenger compartment structure and the deck plate.

According to another aspect of the invention, the boat includes an extension limiter capable of limiting separation of the passenger compartment structure relative to the hull.

According to still other aspects of the invention, a method is provided for forming the boat of the invention having the means for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds experienced by the hull.

Other aspects of the invention are detailed herein.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The foregoing aspects and many of the attendant advantages of this invention will become more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description, when taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view that illustrates the present invention by example and without limitation embodied as a boat having a planing hull with a separate passenger compartment structure that is suspended from the hull by a means of one or more suspension elements therebetween for isolating the passenger compartment from shocks, vibrations and sounds of the hull;

FIG. 2 is a side cross-section view showing the boat of the invention having multiple suspension elements arranged in different spaced apart positions along the passenger compartment between the floor or deck plate;

FIG. 3 is an end cross-section view showing the boat of the invention having multiple suspension elements arranged in different spaced apart positions across the passenger compartment between the floor and deck plate;

FIG. 4 is a blow-up section view showing the boat of the invention having the suspension elements attached, by example and without limitation, using adhesion bonds or fasteners;

FIG. 5 is a blow-up section view showing the boat of the invention having the suspension elements alternatively configured to include a gas or liquid filled bladder;

FIG. 6 illustrates the boat of the invention having the suspension elements alternatively configured as coil springs;

FIG. 7 is an end cross-section view showing the boat of the invention having multiple suspension elements configured as any of a variety of well-known compression spring and hydraulic vibration damper operating in the normal fashion of a vehicle shock absorber; and

FIG. 8 is a blown-up section view showing the boat of the invention having the shock absorber suspension elements attached, by example and without limitation, between a passenger compartment floor and a hull of the boat.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

In the Figures, like numerals indicate like elements.

FIG. 1 illustrates the present invention by example and without limitation embodied as a boat 10 having a planing hull 12 with a separate passenger compartment structure 14 such as any of a cockpit, pilot house or other cabin structure that is elastically suspended from the hull by a means of one or more elastic suspension elements 16 therebetween, the suspension elements 16 isolating the passenger compartment 14 from shocks, vibrations and noise experienced by the hull 12. Planing hull 12 is optionally a single hull (shown in phantom) or double hull (shown in solid) commonly referred to as a catamaran. Passenger compartment 14 is constructed fully separate and independent from hull 12 with a floor 18 and substantially upright walls 20 and may include a cover or roof structure 22 that is either permanently attached or detachable. An optional deck plate 24 is substantially rigidly connected to the hull 12, for example, by mechanical fasteners, by fiberglass webbing and resin, or by welding if the boat 10 is formed of a weldable material, such as aluminum or steel. The optional deck plate 24 may be substantially planar as in a plate spanning the twin hulls 12 of a catamaran, or may be generally conformed to the hull 12.

Passenger compartment 14 is spaced off the hull 12, or deck plate 24 if present, of the boat 10 with one or more of the suspension elements 16 interposed and coupled between the passenger compartment 14 and the hull 12 or deck plate 24 (shown). The suspension elements 16 are optionally arranged between the passenger compartment floor 18 and the hull 12 or deck plate 24, or deck plate 24 if present, in multiple positions selected to adequately support the passenger compartment floor 18.

FIG. 2 is a side cross-section view showing multiple suspension elements 16 being arranged in different spaced apart positions along the passenger compartment 14 between the floor 18 and optional deck plate 24.

FIG. 3 is an end cross-section view showing multiple suspension elements 16 being arranged in different spaced apart positions across the passenger compartment 14 between the floor 18 and optional deck plate 24. Planing hull 12 is optionally a single hull (shown in a previous Figure) or a double hull with a first hull 12a rigidly suspended inside a second hull 12band may include Styrofoam® or other buoyancy filler 26 in between.

FIG. 4 is a blown-up section view showing the suspension elements 16 attached, by example and without limitation, using adhesion bonds 28 or fasteners 30 which may be of either the threaded or unthreaded variety. The suspension elements 16 are, by example and without limitation, any of a variety of well-known elastic connector assemblies, such as vibration and shock isolators formed as pads or blocks of resiliently compressible material such as but not limited to rubber, neoprene or another resiliently compressible elastic material. The suspension elements 16 are substantially solid but may be configured with chambers or “pockets” 32 which are optionally air or gas-filled chambers. The pad or block of resiliently compressible material forming the one or more suspension elements 16 is optionally provided as a combination of a few large pads extending under substantially the entire compartment floor 18, although the large pads may be pierced with one or a large number of holes there through so that the large pad suspension elements 16 resemble Swiss cheese. Alternatively, the suspension elements 16 is optionally provided as a single large pad extending under substantially the entire compartment floor 18, although the single large pad also may be pierced with one or a large number of holes there through as discussed above for the combination of a few large pad suspension elements 16.

During travel of the boat 10, up and down oscillatory movement of the hull 12 and attached deck plate 24, if present, will occur and this movement is transmitted to the passenger compartment floor 18 via suspension elements 16. An optional extension limiter 34 is capable of limiting the maximum amount of separation or upward vertical travel which can occur in the passenger compartment 14 away from the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. By example and without limitation, the extension limiter 34 is a threaded shank 36 which passes through the passenger compartment floor 18 and deck plate 24 and includes a capture mechanism 38 on either end, such as opposing nuts and washers. The extension limiter 34 optionally permits a limited degree of separation movement of the compartment floor 18 relative to the deck plate 24. For example, the extension limiter 34 optionally extends beyond the passenger compartment floor 18 or deck plate 24 (shown) a selected amount that is, for example, calculated to protect the suspension elements 16 from catastrophic failure in the event of an extreme separation of the passenger compartment 14 and the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. The compartment floor 18 and the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present, both optionally include reinforcements 40 such as extra plate thickness (shown) in the vicinity of the extension limiter 34 to protect against catastrophic failure and sudden separation of the passenger compartment structure 14 from the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present.

FIG. 5 illustrates the suspension elements 16 alternatively configured to include a gas or liquid filled bladder 42. When having either a gas or liquid filled bladder 42 or embodied as a compression spring and hydraulic damper, an increase or decrease of the spring rate of the suspension elements 16 is effected by varying the pressure within the bladder or in conventional fashion. For example, a “Schrader” valve 44 interconnected by a pipeline 46 to the suspension elements 16 so as to provide access to the interior of the bladder 42 there within. By operating this valve 44 manually to expel air from the bladder 42, the spring rate or stiffness of the corresponding suspension element 16 is decreased. Similarly, by application of a high pressure source of air to the valve 44, the pressure within the bladder 42 can be increased to raise the spring rate or stiffness of the corresponding suspension element 16. During travel of the boat 10, up and down oscillatory movement of the hull 12 and attached deck plate 24, if present, will occur and this movement is transmitted to the passenger compartment floor 18 via suspension elements 16. However, the movement is relatively dampened by the action of the suspension elements 16 acting as a conventional shock absorber between the passenger compartment floor 18 and the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present, when a sudden variation occurs in elevation of the passenger compartment 14 relative to the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. Relative bouncing upward and downward movements of the passenger compartment 14 are thus effectively smoothed.

Here, the optional extension limiter 34 includes a flexible cable 48 capable of limiting the maximum amount of separation or upward vertical travel which can occur in the passenger compartment 14 away from the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. The cable 48 is affixed to the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present, and the passenger compartment 14, for example, the passenger compartment walls 20, and is arranged so as to be normally in a slack condition, but to be in a taut condition where excessive upward movement of the passenger compartment 14 occurs relative to the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present.

FIG. 6 illustrates the suspension elements 16 alternatively configured as a coil spring which is by example and without limitation either single-turn or double-turn coil spring. The coil spring suspension elements 16 are optionally welded or otherwise bonded to a surface of the passenger compartment 14, for example the compartment floor 18, as shown. The coil spring suspension elements 16 are also bonded to the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. Alternatively, the coil spring suspension elements 16 are secured in appropriately shaped receptacles 50 that are in turn coupled to the compartment floor 18. Alternatively, the coil spring suspension elements 16 are secured in additional shaped receptacles 50 that are in turn coupled to the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. The coil spring suspension elements 16 isolate the passenger compartment 14 from shocks, vibrations and noise experienced by the hull 12.

Alternatively, as illustrated by example and without limitation in FIG. 7, one or more of coil spring suspension elements 16 are optionally supported at the deck plate 24, if present, or the hull 12 by brackets 58 or directly from the deck plate 24 or hull 12, and may be supported at the passenger compartment 14 by additional brackets 60 on the compartment walls 20.

Optionally, the optional extension limiter 34 is provided for limiting the maximum amount of separation or upward vertical travel which can occur in the passenger compartment 14 away from the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. By example and without limitation, the extension limiter 34 includes the threaded shank 36 which passes through the passenger compartment floor 18 and deck plate 24, if present, and includes the capture mechanisms 38 on either end, such as opposing nuts and washers. The extension limiter 34 optionally permits a limited degree of separation movement of the compartment floor 18 relative to the deck plate 24. For example, the extension limiter 34 optionally extends beyond the passenger compartment floor 18 or deck plate 24 (shown) a selected amount that is, for example, calculated to protect the suspension elements 16 from catastrophic failure or excessive dislocation in the event of an extreme separation of the passenger compartment 14 and the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present. The compartment floor 18 and the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present, both optionally include reinforcements 40 such as extra plate thickness (shown) in the vicinity of the extension limiter 34 to protect against catastrophic failure and sudden separation of the passenger compartment structure 14 from the hull 12, or the deck plate 24 if present.

FIG. 7 is an end cross-section view showing multiple suspension elements 16 configured as conventional spring-and-dash pot shock absorbers arranged in different spaced apart positions across the passenger compartment 14 between the floor 18 and the hull 12 or optional deck plate 24, if present. By example and without limitation, the suspension elements 16 are any of a variety of well-known compression spring and hydraulic vibration damper operating in the normal fashion of a vehicle shock absorber. By example and without limitation, the shock absorber suspension elements 16 include push rod 52 engaging a pressurized gas-filled chamber 54 the whole being substantially surrounded by a compressed coil spring 56. The shock absorber suspension elements 16 are optionally coupled to the deck plate 24, if present, or the hull 12 as shown. By example and without limitation, the shock absorber suspension elements 16 are optionally supported at the deck plate 24, if present, or the hull 12 by brackets 58 or directly from the deck plate 24 or hull 12. As shown on left, the shock absorber suspension elements 16 are optionally supported at the passenger compartment 14 by additional brackets 60 on the compartment walls 20. As shown on left, the shock absorber suspension elements 16 are alternatively optionally supported at the passenger compartment floor 18 which optionally includes the reinforcements 40 such as extra plate thickness (shown) in the vicinity of the suspension elements 16.

FIG. 8 is a blown-up section view showing the shock absorber suspension elements 16 attached, by example and without limitation, between the passenger compartment floor 18 and the hull 12. As illustrated here, the compartment floor 18 includes the reinforcement 40 where the shock absorber suspension element 16 is attached, and the hull 12 is protected by another reinforcement 62 on which the shock absorber suspension element 16 is supported.

While the preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, it will be appreciated that various changes can be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For example, materials may be substituted for the different components of the boat and suspension elements of the invention without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Therefore, the inventor makes the following claims.