Title:
FENDER HARNESS APPARATUS
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A fender harness assembly includes a lanyard having a first lanyard end and a second lanyard end and a lanyard mid section extending from the first lanyard end to the second lanyard end. A bridle, having first bridle end and second bridle end and a bridle midsection extending from the first to second ends, is connected to a fender at the bridle midsection. A ferrule web element includes a lanyard channel configured to engage the lanyard at the lanyard midsection. The ferrule web element also includes a first bridle channel configured to engage the first bridle end; and a second bridle channel configured to engage the second bridle end.



Inventors:
Semler, John Eric (Bonney Lake, WA, US)
Application Number:
11/676211
Publication Date:
08/23/2007
Filing Date:
02/16/2007
Assignee:
SIMPLE THINGS INC. (Bonney Lake, WA, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B59/02
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Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
LOWE GRAHAM JONES, PLLC (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows:

1. A fender harness assembly comprising: a lanyard having a first lanyard end and a second lanyard end and a lanyard mid-section extending from the first lanyard end to the second lanyard end; a fender; a bridle having first bridle end and second bridle end and a bridle midsection extending from the first to second ends, the fender being connected to the bridle midsection; ferrule web element defining: a lanyard channel configured to engage the lanyard at the lanyard midsection; a first bridle channel configured to engage the first bridle end; and a second bridle channel configured to engage the second bridle end.

2. The assembly of claim 1, wherein at least one of the channels includes a plurality of braid teeth.

3. The assembly of claim 2, wherein the lanyard channel includes the plurality of braid teeth configured to engage the lanyard.

4. The assembly of claim 2, wherein at least one bridle channel includes the plurality of braid teeth configured to engage the bridle.

5. The assembly of claim 1, wherein the ferrule element further includes at least one web configured to reinforce the ferrule web element at a channel.

6. The assembly of claim 5, wherein a top web is configured to adjoin the lanyard channel.

7. The assembly of claim 6, wherein the top web is further configured to display at least one of characters or design.

8. A ferrule web element defining: a lanyard channel configured to engage a lanyard having a lanyard midsetion at the lanyard midsection; a first bridle channel configured to engage a bridle having a first bridle end and a second bridle end at a first bridle end; and a second bridle channel configured to engage the second bridle end.

9. The ferrule of claim 8, wherein at least one of the channels includes a plurality of braid teeth.

10. The assembly of claim 9, wherein the lanyard channel includes the plurality of braid teeth configured to engage the lanyard.

11. The assembly of claim 9, wherein at least one bridle channel includes the plurality of braid teeth configured to engage the bridle.

12. The assembly of claim 8, wherein the ferrule element further includes at least one web configured to reinforce the ferrule web element at a channel.

13. The assembly of claim 12, wherein a top web is configured to adjoin the lanyard channel.

14. The assembly of claim 13, wherein the top web is further configured to display at least one of characters or design.

Description:

PRIORITY CLAIM

This application claims priority from the Provisional Application entitled “Fender Harness Apparatus” filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Feb. 17, 2006 and afforded the Ser. No. 60/774,333.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to boating aids and, more specifically, to boat fenders.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Boats use fenders to prevent unwanted contact between the boat and another object, usually another boat. To raft up is to secure a number of boats together to form a raft, a platform generally to allow social intercourse between boaters. Rafting up is delicate work and given the mass of the boats hull to hull contact can easily result in damage to one or a number of the boats that make up the raft.

Referring to FIG. 1, a fender harness assembly 10 includes a fender 12 on a lanyard 11 used to provide a cushion between a gunwale 9 of a first boat 5 and the gunwale 9 of a second boat 6. The fender 12 is a shock-absorbent material encased in canvas or other covering. The lanyard extends from one end of the fender 10, and the other end of the lanyard 11 is secured to the boat 5, 6, usually to a cleat (not shown). The fender harness assembly 10 is optimally positioned to prevent direct boat-to-boat contact.

Referring as well to FIG. 2, similarly, in using the fender harness assembly 10 to secure the boat 5, 6 to the dock 3, the fender 12 is generally placed between the dock 3 and a hull 7 by securing the lanyard to the boat 5, 6.

Fender harness assemblies 10 may allow the lanyard to be twisted up drawing the fender 12 out of the position between the hull 7 and the dock 3 through movement of the boat 5, 6 relative to the dock 3, resulting in direct contact between hull 7 and dock 3 and possible damage to the boat 5, 6. At least one line 13 distinct from the lanyard 11 is necessary to secure the boat 5, 6 to the dock 3.

There is a need for a device which will more reliably keep a fender within an optimum position relative to a boat 5, 6, as well as to allow boats 5. 6 to raft up. Optimally, the device enables securement using only a single line. There is also a need for easier storage of and access to fenders.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred and alternative embodiments of the present invention are described in detail below with reference to the following drawings.

FIG. 1 shows a prior art fender harness assembly positioned between two boats in a raft;

FIG. 2 shows several prior art fender harness assemblies each between a dock and and one of two boats;

FIG. 3 depicts the inventive fender harness assembly deployed to secure a boat to a dock and suitably positioning a fender;

FIG. 4 depicts the inventive fender harness assembly deployed to secure a boat to a dock and suitably positioning a fender;

FIG. 5a is a obverse view of a monolithic casting of a half-ferrule web element of the fender harness apparatus; and

FIG. 5b is a reverse view of a monolithic casting of a half-ferrule web element of the fender harness apparatus.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

A fender harness assembly includes a lanyard having a first lanyard end and a second lanyard end and a lanyard mid section extending from the first lanyard end to the second lanyard end. A bridle, having first bridle end and second bridle end and a bridle midsection extending from the first to second ends, is connected to a fender at the bridle midsection. A ferrule web element includes a lanyard channel configured to engage the lanyard at the lanyard midsection. The ferrule web element also includes a first bridle channel configured to engage the first bridle end; and a second bridle channel configured to engage the second bridle end.

Referring to FIG. 3, a boat 114 having a boat cleat 116 is secured to a dock 110 having a dock cleat 112. The fender harness assembly 100 lanyards 124 span the distance from the dock cleat 112 to the boat cleat 116 being tied to each. The bridle 120 extends through an eyelet in the fender 118 originating and terminating within the ferrule web element 122. By virtue of the lanyards 124 and the bridle 120, gravity maintains the fender 118 in a position suitably between hard elements of the boat 114 and the dock 110.

Referring to FIG. 4, a first boat 126 having a first boat cleat 128 is secured with the fender harness assembly 100 to a second boat 130 having a second boat cleat 132. As is depicted in FIG. 3, the lanyards 124 of the fender harness assembly 100 span the distance from the first boat cleat 128 to the second boat cleat 132. The bridle 120 extends through the eyelet in the fender 118 originating and terminating within the ferrule web element 122. By virtue of the lanyards 124 and the bridle 120, gravity maintains the fender 118 in a position suitably between hard elements of the first boat 1126 and the second boat 130.

Referring to FIGS. 5A and 5B, half-ferrule web elements 122 (so-named because in a non-limiting preferred embodiment of the invention two identical half-ferrule web elements 122 are united to a form ferrule web element). For purposes of the non-limiting discussion of half-ferrule web elements 122, the obverse side 201 of the half-ferrule web elements 122 (shown in FIG. 5a) includes a mating surface 203. The mating surface 203 defines a lanyard channel 210a which itself defines two lanyard portals 213 and two bridle channels 216a which each define a bridle portal 219.

The reverse side 202 of the half-ferrule web elements 122 (shown in FIG. 5b) includes an outer surface 200 that conforms to the lanyard channel 210a to form the lanyard surface 210b and to the two bridle channels 216a to form the bridle surfaces 216b. Webs 204, 228, and 207 lend rigidity to the confluence of the lanyard channels 210a and the bridle channels 216a. The upper web 207 suitably presents an outer surface for embossing alphanumeric characters and designs 208. Similarly, too, the lower web 228 presents a surface for character and design but also, alone or in conjunction with the side webs 204, presents a hanger for suspending the fender harness assembly 100 on a bulkhead by a peg (not shown).

The non-limiting example of the half-ferrule web elements 122 is cast of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS, (chemical formula (C8H8. C4H6.C3H3N)x), a common thermoplastic also used to make light, rigid, molded products such as piping, golf club heads (used for its good shock absorbance), automotive body parts, wheel covers, enclosures, protective head gear, and toys including LEGO™ bricks. While any material will serve for casting, ABS is an especially suitable material which combines the strength and rigidity of the acrylonitrile and styrene polymers with the toughness of the polybutadiene rubber. ABS is also resistant to ultraviolet light degradation.

The mating surface 203 of the half-ferrule web elements 122 further defines a number of registration pins 225 the are configured as male members to mate with corresponding registration voids 226 to suitably align the half-ferrule web elements 122 when bonded together to form the ferrule web elements. The half-ferrule web elements 122 are suitably fused together to engage both the lanyard 120 (FIGS. 3, 4) and the bridle (FIGS. 3, 4). Fusing may be by any suitable means. In the non-limiting preferred embodiment ABS is fused with either of ultrasonic or chemical means.

In assembly, the lanyard 124 (FIGS. 3, 4) is inserted into the lanyard channel 210a where a series of braid teeth 222 standing proud from the lanyard channel 210a engage filaments of the braid to secure the lanyard 124 (FIGS. 3, 4). While in no way limiting, the exemplary embodiment of the lanyard channel 210a is configured to encompass a 7/16 double braided nylon rope. In a similar fashion, each end of the bridle 120 (FIGS. 3, 4) after being fed through the eyelet of the fender 118 (FIGS. 3, 4) is secured in the respective bridle channels 216a to capture the fender between them.

The preferred embodiment of the invention has been illustrated and described, as noted above, many changes can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the scope of the invention is not limited by the disclosure of the preferred embodiment. Instead, the invention should be determined entirely by reference to the claims that follow.