Title:
Prone-forward-operated board-type sailboat
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A prone-operated board-type sailboat that incorporates a dual-use device to counterbalance the force of the wind. This device comprises a handlebar extending bilaterally from the vessel, mountable to the deck forward of the sailor and adjustable with respect to the longitudinal axis of the deck for grasping and leaning out to windward from a forward-prone position. It dually performs as an outrigger for flotation devices adjustably affixed to each lateral protrusions of the device to stabilize the vessel to leeward.



Inventors:
Scholle, Stephen Roger (Hartsdale, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/648319
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/29/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B35/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Stephen R. Scholle (Hartsdale, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed:

1. A prone-forward operated board-type sailboat comprising: a hull; a deck on the top surface of the hull; a foot rudder steering mechanism at the aft end of the hull; a hike-out handlebar connected to the deck having at least a left projected arm and a right projected arm; a mounting means for said handlebar; and a left flotation device connected to the left projected arm and a right flotation device connected to the right projected arm.

2. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein said hike-out handlebar is adjustably mounted to the deck along its longitudinal axis to accommodate heights and reaches of different users.

3. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the left flotation device is comprised of one or more submersible components.

4. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the right flotation device is comprised of one or more submersible components.

5. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the right flotation device is adjustably connected to the right-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to extendibility from that arm.

6. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the left flotation device is adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to extendibility from that arm.

7. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the right flotation device is adjustably connected to the right-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to angle of attack to the water of the device's vertical foil shape as well as any horizontal foils attached thereto.

8. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the left flotation device is adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to angle of attack to the water of the device's vertical foil shape as well as any horizontal foils attached thereto.

9. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the right flotation device is adjustably connected to the right-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar so as to be vertically and laterally retractable from the water.

10. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the left flotation device is adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar so as to be vertically and laterally retractable from the water.

11. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the foot-rudder steering mechanism is comprised of a foot cross-bar which is adjustably mounted to accommodate different heights of users.

12. The prone-forward operated board-type sailboat of claim 1, wherein the foot-rudder steering mechanism is also comprised of a rudder which is mountable to a hinge or other articulated receptacle device by pin or other quick-removal means.

Description:

FIELD OF INVENTION

The present invention generally relates to prone-forward operated board-type sailboats. More particularly, the present invention relates to prone-forward operated board-type sailboats, steered by means of a foot-rudder. Furthermore, the present invention relates to prone-forward operated board-type sailboats, steered by means of a foot-rudder, specifically to mechanisms to resist heeling and the potential for capsizing as caused by the force of the wind.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

For optimal sailing performance as well as stability, high-performance sailboats have a means for leaning out or extending the body laterally to the windward side of the boat (side from which the wind is coming) to counterbalance the force of the wind. Such a maneuver is termed “hiking out”. Common supports for hiking out include webbed harnesses, laterally extending benches as well as laterally flaired decks or gunwhales, sometimes known as “wings”. These supports and extenders allow sailors to extend the body to windward from a standing or sitting position.

With the development of the prone-operated board-type sailboat, U.S. Pat. No. 3,902,441 and U.S. Pat. No. 3,793,973, standing or sitting means to hike out are precluded, since the craft is operated from a prone-forward position.

Since the prone-operated board-type sailboat is sensitive to the force of the wind and easily capsized, counterbalancing the wind force requires a different strategy.

One of these strategies is to hike out by means of a forward-positioned handlebar extending to the right and to the left of the vessel. Such a method is depicted in the prior art as shown in FIG. 1 as well as in the video available at www.windrafting.com.

Another strategy involves the use of flotation, particularly an outrigger-boom and pontoon or foil arrangement commonly seen on trimarans and other sailing vessels. Such a strategy has been partially addressed in U.S. Pat. No. 3,793,973.

Referring to the prior art, U.S. Pat. No. 3,902,441 established the prone-operated sailboard with foot rudder but did not disclose a means for hiking out. A forward-positioned handlebar was developed subsequently and is depicted in FIG. 1 as well as in the website video at www.windrafting.com. However, the handlebar shown at www.windrafting.com does not encompass a flotation device or stabilizing-foil function.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,793,973 differs from the present invention in the following manner: while it discloses the use of a stabilizer foil means connected to an outrigger apparatus, it does not disclose that the outrigger apparatus can be used as a hike-out means; because it is does not have both a right projected arm and a left projected arm it is not capable of being used for hiking out to both port and starboard. Furthermore, it can not be positioned for hiking out because it is not adjustable for height and reach of the sailor with respect to the longitudinal axis of the vessel. The outrigger boom of U.S. Pat. No. 3,793,973 is connected to the hull through a single receptacle. It therefore is not adjustable to a position forward of the shoulders where it can be grabbed and used for leverage.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,793,973 discloses an outrigger boom with “adjustability” for the purpose of insertion of said boom into a stationary receptacle. It does not disclose a significantly extendable boom or teach to extendability for the purpose of stability against the force of the wind.

Angle of attack is discussed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,471,942 for standing-type sailboards, with regard to plunging of the bow of the vessel in high wind. In this case, not only is angle of attack relevant to plunging but as a means of increasing or decreasing resistance to side-slippage as caused by the wind. An asymmetrically shaped hydrofoil provides varying hydraulic characteristics when submerged, and therefore variable resistances to side-slipping, bow-plunging and point of sail (how close the boat can sail into the wind).

U.S. Pat. No. 4,738,212 depicts a prone-operated sailing raft supported by bilateral pontoons but having no deck, no hull, no rudder, and no means for hiking out. This design is rudimentary for sailing purposes and precludes performance-level function.

Other patents and prior art refer to pontoon and foil flotation devices on sailboats but not specifically to prone-forward-operated board-type sailboats.

Accordingly, it is an object of this invention to integrate two means to counterbalance the force of the wind upon a prone-operated board-type sailboat.

It is an object of this invention to facilitate the hiking out of the sailor of a prone-operated board-type sailboat by supporting the sailor's weight when leaning out from the prone position.

It is further an object of this invention whereby a rigid lateral member situated forward of the sailor's shoulders and extending laterally to the right and laterally to the left of the vessel's sides provides a means of leverage against the force of the wind when reaching to windward, gripping and pulling against said member with an extended hand.

It is also an object of this invention that said lateral member functions as a boom for bilateral flotation devices that extend down into the water to leeward (side from which the wind is leaving) when the prone-operated board-type sailboat is heeling.

Furthermore, it is an object of this invention that said flotation devices provide an additional means of stabilizing the craft to counterbalance the force of the wind.

Additionally it is an object of this invention to provide sailors a margin of safety for operating the craft that was heretofore not available.

It is also an object of this invention to improve operational performance, permitting sailing in higher winds and at higher speeds than was heretofore the case.

With respect to the hike-out function of this invention, it is an object of this invention that the lateral member situated forward of the sailor's shoulders is adjustable with respect to the longitudinal axis of the vessel to the length of the sailor's body, so that the sailor can reach it as a handlebar with his or her arms.

It is a further object of this invention that said lateral member is attachable to the deck of the board-type sailboat in multiple positions along its longitudinal axis with respect to the length of the sailor's reach.

With respect to the flotation function of the invention, it is an object of this invention that flotation devices with hydrodynamic characteristics reduce side-slipping caused by the force of the wind.

Furthermore, it is an object of this invention that flotation devices with hydrodynamic characteristics reduce the need for a centerboard or leeboards, which serve to prevent side-slip caused by the force of the wind.

It also is an object of this invention that said flotation devices are adjustably mountable to the lateral member so as to provide extendibility from the lateral member, and additional stability in high winds.

It is further an object of this invention that said hydrodynamically designed flotation devices are optionally outfitted with hydrofoil devices to lift the hull out of the water at high speed.

It is further an object of this invention that said flotation devices, which may be outfitted with hydrofoil devices are mountable to the lateral member so as to provide an adjustable angle of attack to the water, thus giving the sailor additional control over side-slippage due to the force of the wind, bow-plunging due to higher wind force, as well as speed and directionality of tack while heading into or away from the wind.

It is further an object of this invention that said flotation devices are retractable from the water and clearable of the water surface by fixable means such as rotation around or extension beyond the hike-out handlebar, thus eliminating resistance caused by the flotation devices when sailing before the wind.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a prone-forward operated board-type sailboat comprising: a hull; a deck on the top surface of the hull; a foot rudder steering mechanism at the aft end of the hull; a hike-out handlebar connected to the deck having at least a left projected arm and a right projected arm; a mounting means for said handlebar; and a left flotation device connected to the left projected arm and a right flotation device connected to the right projected arm.

In an embodiment of the present invention the hike-out handlebar is adjustably mounted to the deck along its longitudinal axis to accommodate heights and reaches of different users. The left flotation device and/or the right flotation device may be comprised of one or more submersible components. The right flotation device may be adjustably connected to the right-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to extendibility from that arm. The left flotation device may be adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to extendibility from that arm.

The right flotation device may be adjustably connected to the right-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to angle of attack of that foil to the water. The left flotation device may be adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to angle of attack of that foil to the water.

The right flotation device may be adjustably connected to the right-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to retractability from the water. The left flotation device may be adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the hike-out handlebar with respect to retractability from the water.

The foot-rudder steering mechanism may be comprised of a foot cross-bar which is adjustably mounted to accommodate different heights of users. The foot-rudder steering mechanism may also be comprised of a rudder which is mountable to a hinge or other articulated receptacle device by pin or other quick-removal means.

These and other features of this invention are described in, or are apparent from, the following detailed description of various exemplary embodiments of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Various exemplary embodiments of this invention will be described in detail, with reference to the following figures, wherein:

FIG. 1 is a photograph of a prior art prone-operated board type sailboat;

FIG. 2 is a top-down view of the deck of a prone-operated board-type sailboat of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a side-view of the aforementioned embodiment;

FIG. 4 is a head-on view of the aforementioned embodiment showing a flotation device that is adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the lateral member with respect to extendability from as well as rotatability around that arm; and

FIG. 5 is a close-up perspective view of the aforementioned embodiment showing an asymmetrically designed hydrofoil flotation device that is adjustably connected to one arm of the lateral member with respect to angle of attack to the water.

FIG. 6 is a head-on view of the aforementioned embodiment showing a flotation device that is adjustably connected to the left-projected arm of the lateral member with respect to vertical and lateral positioning.

FIG. 7 is a view from the perspective of the sailor showing uphaul and downhaul cables extending from finger pull-loops on the deck, through a tubular lateral member to attachments on the inner and outer surfaces of the flotation device.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The present invention generally relates to prone-forward operated board-type sailboats. More particularly, the present invention relates to prone-forward operated board-type sailboats, steered by means of a foot-rudder. Furthermore, the present invention relates to prone-forward operated board-type sailboats, steered by means of a foot-rudder, specifically to mechanisms to resist heeling and the potential for capsizing as caused by the force of the wind.

Referring now to the drawings, FIG. 2 is a top-down view of the deck of a prone-operated board-type sailboat of the present invention showing a lateral member extending from the right and left sides of the vessel, multiple mounting devices arranged in pairs along the longitudinal axis of the deck, as well as flotation devices attached to or near right and left ends of the lateral member. FIG. 3 is a side view of this embodiment of the present invention. The sailing craft of the invention shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 is indicated generally at 2 as a board-type sailing vessel for prone-forward-operated sailing. A foot-rudder 4 is attached at the posterior of the vessel. It is steered by an adjustable cross-bar 6 by applying pressure to right or left using the pads of the soles of the feet. The mast and rigging of the vessel are indicated at 8, forward of the sailor's head. The dual purpose hike-out handlebar and outrigger boom is indicated at 10. It projects laterally to the right and to the left from the vessel. In a preferred embodiment, the hike-out handlebar and outrigger boom is angled upward with a posterior cant in order first, to ride above the surface of the water on either tack and reduce resistance to the waves, and second, to provide easy reach and variable leverage for the sailor. A mounting means for said handlebar-boom is indicated at 12. The mounting means is affixable to the deck by attaching devices, 14, indicated at multiple locations with respect to the longitudinal axis of the vessel.

Flotation devices 16 are affixed to the right and left, at or near the ends of the handlebar-boom, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the vessel. These devices may be canted at an angle to vertical and variably outfitted with hydrofoils to maximize resistance to sideslip caused by the force of the wind and give lift to the boat at high speed.

A novel feature of the present invention is the integration of a hike-out handlebar with outrigger-flotation devices. The handlebar employed as a means for hiking out is the same bar used as the outrigger boom for the flotation device. The utility of such a marriage is to provide a level of stability to the prone-forward operated sailing vessel that neither method could achieve on its own. The hike-out function serves to stabilize the craft by way of leverage from the windward side (side from which the wind is coming). The flotation device serves to stabilize the craft from the leeward side (side from which the wind is leaving). The utility of this arrangement can be illustrated in the common situation where a gust of wind catches the sailor unawares. The submerging flotation device maintains relative stability from the leeward side as the sailor adjusts, grabs and applies leverage to the hike-out handlebar from the windward side. This arrangement provides stability in higher winds than would otherwise be the case, giving the vessel a higher performance profile and a margin of safety for sailors at all levels.

The integrated flotation device provides an additional synergy. As a vertical foil it reduces the need for a centerboard or leeboards, because when submerged to leeward it reduces side-slip caused by the force of the wind.

The present invention discloses a hike-out handlebar that is adjustably mountable to the deck along its longitudinal axis so as to position forward of the sailor's shoulders.

In a preferred embodiment, shown in FIG. 4, these flotation devices are adjustably attachable to the handlebar-boom device so as to be extendable even further from the sides of the vessel than the ends of the handlebar-boom itself. Adjustable attachment may be achieved by a hole-and-pin arrangement, as in 20, clamping device, or other means.

The current invention also claims an extendable outrigger boom with the ability to rotate around its vertical axis so as to vary the angle of attack of the foil to the water. In a preferred embodiment, shown in FIG. 5, a flotation device outfitted with a hydrofoil is rotatably adjustable with respect to angle of attack to the water. Position is fixed in this example by a hole-and-pin arrangement illustrated in 20.

An additional embodiment of the invention discloses a flotation device adjustably attachable to the handlebar-boom device so as to be laterally retractable from the water, as shown in FIGS. 6 and 7.

In the aforementioned embodiment, position of lateral and vertical retractability are fixable by several means shown in FIG. 6 and 7, including a spring-hinge attaching the flotation and handlebar devices to snap by hand the flotation device in downward and lateral positions. In an alternative embodiment, position can be fixed by downhaul and uphaul cables, shown as 22 and 24 respectively, extending bilaterally from an entrance hole in the tubular hike-out device to attachments on the inner and outer aspects of the flotation devices. Vertical and lateral positions can be fixed by such means as the aforementioned spring hinge or by pulling taut and cleating or hooking the downhaul or uphaul cable to an attachment on the hike-out apparatus, mounting means or deck.

Specific embodiments set forth in this description of the invention are by way of illustration and the invention is not necessarily limited thereto. Modifications and variations of the embodiments will be apparent from the disclosure and may be resorted to without departure from the spirit of the invention. Accordingly such variations and modifications are considered to be within the purview and scope of the invention and the following claims.