Title:
Ventilating cover for a hatch installation and a hatch installation incorporating same
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A hatch installation comprises a hatch surround defining a hatch opening and a hatch door. The hatch door has a mounting end and a free end, and is pivotal between a closed position in which it abuts against the hatch surround and an open position spaced away from the hatch surround. The installation includes a cover member shaped to form a ventilation passage together with the hatch surround having one ventilation opening at the free end of the door and the other ventilation opening towards the end. The ventilation cover includes a water screen having three baffles and a sheet mesh for screening out moisture entrained with air. The ventilation cover includes a further sheet mesh water screen across the other opening. The sheet mesh acts with the hatch door to remove moisture entering through the opening.



Inventors:
Jeffries, Kevin Paul (Robina, AU)
Jeffries, Tony Richard (Robina, AU)
Application Number:
11/999928
Publication Date:
07/03/2008
Filing Date:
12/07/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
52/200, 114/211, 454/78
International Classes:
B63B19/14
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Paul D. Greeley (STAMFORD, CT, US)
Claims:
1. A ventilation cover for a hatch including: a cover member for mounting over the hatch, said cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage having one ventilation opening at one end of said ventilation passage and another ventilation opening at another end thereof, when mounted over the hatch.

2. The ventilation cover according to claim 1, wherein said ventilation passage extends substantially rectilinearly between said ventilation openings such that the ventilation openings oppose each other and face towards each other.

3. The ventilation cover according to claim 1, wherein said cover member comprises two elongated opposing sides and a roof extending over said ventilation passage and joining the sides along the length thereof, and wherein said sides and the roof of the cover member are closed.

4. The ventilation cover according to claim 1, wherein said ventilation cover includes a water screen for screening out at least some moisture entrained with air entering said ventilation passage through said one ventilation opening at one end thereof.

5. The ventilation cover according to claim 4, wherein said water screen includes a baffle arrangement mounted on said cover member and extending into said ventilation passage towards said one ventilation opening.

6. The ventilation cover according to claim 5, wherein said baffle arrangement comprise two or more baffles that are spaced apart from each other in the direction of said ventilation passage.

7. The ventilation cover according to claim 6, wherein adjacent baffles are offset from each other in the direction of said ventilation passage to form a tortuous section of said ventilation passage towards said one ventilation opening.

8. The ventilation cover according to claim 7, wherein adjacent baffles extend into said ventilation passage from opposed positions on the periphery of said ventilation passage, and adjacent baffles overlap each other to some extent when viewed in the direction of the ventilation passage.

9. The ventilation cover according 4, wherein said water screen further includes a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage, and wherein said mesh openings of said sheet mesh are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture and flying insects there through.

10. A The ventilation cover according to claim 9, including a baffle arrangement as well as said sheet mesh, and wherein said sheet mesh is positioned at or adjacent said one ventilation opening and said baffle arrangement is spaced from said one ventilation opening.

11. A The ventilation cover according to claim 1, wherein the ventilation cover includes another water screen towards said other ventilation opening at the other end of the ventilation passage for screening out at least some of the moisture entering said ventilation passage through said other ventilation opening.

12. The ventilation cover according to claim 11, wherein the other water screen further includes a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage, and wherein the mesh openings of the sheet mesh are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture and also flying insects there through.

13. The ventilation cover according to claim 1, wherein the cover comprises a support frame and a canopy in the form of a water impervious flexible sheet material, and the canopy extends over said support frame, and wherein said support frame comprises two longitudinal frame members extending in the direction of the said ventilation passage along the lower edges of the sides of said cover member, and at least two transverse members extending between said two longitudinal members that are longitudinally spaced from each other.

14. A hatch installation, including: a hatch comprising a hatch surround defining a hatch opening and a hatch door mounted on the said hatch surround for closing off the said hatch opening; and a cover member mounted over the said hatch, the said cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage together with the said hatch surround, having one ventilation opening at one end and another ventilation opening at the other end of said cover member.

15. The hatch installation according to claim 14, wherein said hatch door has a mounting end opposite a free end, and is pivotal between a closed position in which the free end of said door abuts against said hatch surround and an open ventilating position in which said free end of the hatch door is spaced away from said hatch surround, and said cover member is arranged with one ventilation opening positioned towards said free end of the hatch door and the other ventilation opening positioned towards said mounting end of the hatch door.

16. The hatch installation according to claim 15, wherein the said ventilation cover further includes a water screen for screening out at least some moisture entrained with air entering said ventilation passage adjacent to said one ventilation opening.

17. The hatch installation according to claim 16, wherein said water screen includes a baffle arrangement mounted on the said cover and extending into said one ventilation passage towards said ventilation opening.

18. The hatch installation according to claim 17, wherein said baffle arrangement comprises two or more baffle members that are spaced apart from each other in the direction of said ventilation passage.

19. The hatch installation according to claim 18, wherein said water screen includes a sheet mesh extending across said ventilation passage, and wherein said mesh openings of said sheet mesh are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture and flying insects there through.

20. The hatch installation according to claim 16, wherein said ventilation cover includes another water screen on said other ventilation opening at the mounting end of said hatch door.

21. The hatch installation according to claim 20, wherein the said other water screen includes a sheet mesh extending across the said ventilation passage having mesh openings that are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture there through and also to resist flying insects from passing there through, and wherein said hatch door when at least partly open assists in screening out drops of moisture passing into said ventilation passage through said other ventilation opening.

22. A water borne vessel including: a vessel body having a bow and a stern; and a hatch installation including a hatch comprising a hatch surround defining a hatch opening and a hatch door mounted on said hatch surround for closing off said hatch opening; and a cover member mounted over said hatch, said cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage together with said hatch surround, having one ventilation opening at one end and another ventilation opening at the other end of said cover member mounted on the vessel body.

23. The water borne vessel according to claim 22, wherein said hatch door has a mounting end and a free end, and is pivotal between a closed position in which said free end of the door abuts against said hatch surround and an open ventilating position in which said free end of the hatch door is spaced away from said hatch surround, and said cover member is arranged with one ventilation opening positioned towards said free end of said hatch door and the other ventilation opening positioned towards the mounting end of the hatch door, and wherein said ventilation cover further includes a water screen adjacent to said one ventilation opening.

24. The water borne vessel according to claim 23, wherein said body includes a deck and the said hatch installation being mounted on said deck with said deck forming said hatch surround, and wherein said free end of the hatch door faces towards said bow of the vessel and the mounting end of the hatch door faces towards said stern.

25. A vehicle, including: a vehicle body including a roof and having an interior space; and a hatch installation including a hatch comprising a hatch surround defining a hatch opening and a hatch door mounted on said hatch surround for closing off said hatch opening; and a cover member mounted over said hatch, said cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage together with said hatch surround, having one ventilation opening at one end and another ventilation opening at the other end of said cover member mounted on the roof of the vehicle body for assisting in ventilating the interior space.

26. A structure for housing people or animals, including: a structure body including a roof and defining an interior space which can be occupied by people or animals; and a hatch installation including a hatch comprising a hatch surround defining a hatch opening and a hatch door mounted on said hatch surround for closing off said hatch opening; and a cover member mounted over said hatch, said cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage together with said hatch surround, having one ventilation opening at one end and another ventilation opening at the other end of said cover member mounted on the roof of the body for assisting in ventilating the interior space.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCED APPLICATION

This application is a Continuation-in-Part of PCT Application No. PCT/AU2006/000806, filed on Jun. 9, 2006, which is incorporated herein by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to a ventilating cover for a hatch arrangement. This invention also extends a to a hatch installation including a said ventilating cover. The invention also extends to a vessel or a structure including a said hatch arrangement.

This invention relates particularly but not exclusively to a cover for a hatch arrangement for a water borne craft such as a boat or a yacht and it will therefore be convenient to hereinafter describe the invention with reference to this example application. However at the same time it is to be clearly understood that the invention is capable of broader application. For example the invention could equally be applied to a hatch assembly on a structure containing an enclosed space within which people or animals can be housed such as a recreational vehicle like a motor home or a caravan.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Generally water borne vessels such as boats include a deck and the boat can be divided into an above deck region and a below deck region. Often the below deck region is in the form of a confined and closed space with little or no side ventilation. Consequently ventilation of the below deck region is required for air circulation and air cooling to aid user comfort in the below deck region.

A boat may include a hatch arrangement on the deck for facilitating ventilation of the below deck region. The hatch arrangement may comprise a hatch surround, e.g. formed directly or indirectly by the deck, a hatch opening and a hatch door removably mounted over the hatch opening.

The hatch arrangement may include a multi-sided perimeter frame around the hatch opening that is called a coaming. The hatch door is pivotally mounted to the perimeter frame along one end thereof, called a mounting end. The mounting end of the door may be hinge mounted to the perimeter frame. The opposed end of the door may be the free end and the free end may be displaced away from the associated side of the frame when it is moved to an open position.

One problem is that when it rains some drops of rain can pass through the hatch opening into the below deck region which is undesirable. One way to resist the entry of moisture into the below deck region is to close the hatch door. However this requires a positive action and an effort on the part of a person to actually close the hatch door. This may be inconvenient particularly at night when the occupants are trying to sleep. Further closing the hatch door shuts off air ventilation to the below deck region.

Clearly it would be advantageous if a way could be devised of at least ameliorating the shortcomings described above.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

According to one aspect of the invention there is provided a ventilation cover for a hatch including:

    • a cover member for mounting over the hatch, the cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage having one ventilation opening at one end of the ventilation passage and another opening at the other end thereof, when mounted over a hatch.

The ventilation passage may extend substantially rectilinearly between the ventilation openings such that the ventilation openings oppose each other and face towards each other.

The cover member may comprise two elongated opposing sides and a roof extending lengthwise along the ventilation passage and a roof extending over the ventilation passage and joining the sides. The sides and roof of the cover member may be closed, i.e. not have any openings defined therein intermediate the ends of the cover member. This helps to close off the ventilation passage intermediate its ends when the cover member is mounted over the hatch.

The ventilation cover may include a water screen for screening out at least some moisture entrained with air entering the ventilation passage through said one ventilation opening at said one end.

The water screen may include a baffle arrangement mounted on the cover member and extending into the ventilation passage towards said one ventilation opening. The baffle arrangement may comprise two or more baffles that are spaced apart from each other in the direction of the ventilation passage. Adjacent baffles may be offset from each other in the direction of the ventilation passage to form a tortuous section of the ventilation passage towards said one ventilation opening. The extent of the offset may be of such an extent that the adjacent baffles overlap each other to some extent when viewed in the direction of the ventilation passage.

Adjacent baffles may extend into the ventilation passage from opposed positions on the periphery of the ventilation passage, e.g. diametrically opposed positions on the periphery of the ventilation passage, such as the roof of the ventilation passage and the floor of the ventilation passage.

Each baffle may be substantially planar and may extend transversely to the cover member into the ventilation passage. The member may have a mounting end that is mounted to the cover member, and a free end opposed to the mounting end that projects into the ventilation passage.

The water screen may further include a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage. The mesh openings of the sheet mesh may be sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture there through and also to resist flying or crawling insects or solids from passing there through.

The ventilation cover may include a baffle arrangement as well as the sheet mesh, and the sheet mesh may be positioned at or adjacent to said one ventilation opening and the baffle arrangement may be spaced from said one ventilation passage, e.g. received within the ventilation passage further away from the ventilation opening than the sheet mesh. In one form the baffle closest to the ventilation opening may extend part of the way across the cross sectional area of the cover member and the sheet mesh may extend across the ventilation passage that is defined by the remainder of the cross sectional area of the cover member.

The ventilation cover may include another water screen towards the other ventilation opening at the other end of the ventilation passage, for screening out at least some of the moisture entering the ventilation passage through the other ventilation opening. The other water screen may further include a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage. The mesh openings of the sheet mesh may be sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture there through and also to resist flying or crawling insects or solids from passing there through.

The roof of the ventilation cover may extend axially outwardly at each end further than lower regions of the adjacent side walls of the cover member. This causes the cover to be somewhat hooded at each end. This feature together with the hatch surround assists to guide and direct air flowing over the surface into the ventilation passage through the associated ventilation opening.

The ventilation cover may further include a support frame and the cover member may be made of a water impervious flexible sheet material that extends over the support frame.

The support frame may comprise two longitudinal frame members extending in the direction of the ventilation passage along the lower edges of the sides of the cover member. The support frame may also include at least two transverse members, e.g. three transverse members, extending between the two longitudinal members that are longitudinally spaced from each other.

Each transverse frame member may be in the form of a rib having two spaced upwardly extending side portions corresponding to the sides of the cover member and a roof portion extending across between the side portions corresponding to the roof of the cover member.

According to another aspect of the invention there is provided a hatch installation, including:

    • a hatch comprising a hatch surround defining a hatch opening and a hatch door mounted on the hatch surround for closing off the hatch opening; and
    • a cover member mounted over the hatch, the cover member being shaped to form a ventilation passage together with the hatch surround wherein the ventilation passage has one ventilation opening at one end and another ventilation opening at the other end.

The hatch door may have a mounting end opposite a free end, and may be pivotal between a closed position in which the free end of the door abuts against the hatch surround and an open ventilating position in which the free end of the hatch door is spaced away from the hatch surround. The cover member may be arranged with said one ventilation opening positioned towards the free end of the hatch door and said other ventilation opening being positioned towards the mounting end of the hatch door.

The ventilation cover may further include a water screen for screening out at least some moisture entrained with air entering the ventilation passage adjacent to said one ventilation opening.

The water screen may include a baffle arrangement and the baffle arrangement may comprise two or more baffles that are spaced apart from each other in the direction of the ventilation passage. The water screen may further include a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage, e.g. in addition to the baffle arrangement.

The baffles and the sheet mesh may include any one or more of the optional or preferred features of the baffles and sheet mesh described above according to the first aspect of the invention.

The ventilation cover may include another water screen on the other ventilation opening at the mounting end of the hatch door. The other water screen may include a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage having mesh openings that are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture there through and also to resist flying or crawling insects and solids from passing there through.

The hatch door when at least partly open may assist in screening out drops of moisture passing into the ventilation passage through said other ventilation opening, e.g. by virtue of its closed end being disposed towards said other ventilation opening.

Thus the sheet mesh working together with the inclined surface of the hatch door may be efficacious at removing moisture from the air stream entering the passage through the other opening.

According to another aspect of this invention there is provided a water borne vessel including:

    • a vessel body having a bow and a stern; and
    • a hatch installation as defined above in the preceding aspect of the invention mounted on the vessel body.

The hatch installation may include any one or more of the optional or preferred features of the hatch installation defined in the preceding aspect of the invention.

The hatch door may have a mounting end and a free end, and be pivotal between a closed position in which the free end of the door abuts against the hatch surround and an open ventilating position in which the free end of the hatch door is spaced away from the hatch surround. Further the cover member may be arranged with one ventilation opening positioned towards the free end of the hatch door and the other ventilation opening positioned towards the mounting end of the hatch door. The ventilation cover may further includes a water screen, e.g. in the form of a baffle arrangement, adjacent to said one ventilation opening.

The hatch installation may include any one or more of the optional or preferred features of the hatch installation defined in the preceding aspect of the invention.

The body may include a deck and the hatch installation may be mounted on the deck with the deck forming the hatch surround. The free end of the hatch door may face towards the bow of the vessel and the mounting end of the hatch door may face towards the stern.

The hatch may be sized to provide air ventilation to a region below the deck. The hatch could also be sized to provide people access to a region below the deck.

The vessel may be a yacht or a boat such as a powered recreational vessel.

According to another aspect of this invention there is provided a vehicle, including:

    • a vehicle body including a roof and having an interior space; and
    • a hatch installation defined above in a preceding aspect of the invention mounted on the roof of the vehicle body for assisting in ventilating the interior space.

The hatch installation may include any one or more of the optional or preferred features of the hatch installation defined in a preceding aspect of the invention.

The vehicle may be a recreational vehicle and the interior space may be a living space and the hatch installation can be used to assist ventilating the living space.

The recreational vehicle may be a caravan or a motor home or a fifth wheeler.

According to another aspect of this invention there is provided a structure defining an interior space within which people can be housed in use including:

    • a structure body including a roof and defining an interior space which can be occupied by people; and
    • a hatch installation as defined above in the second aspect of the invention mounted on the body for assisting in ventilating the interior space.

The hatch installation may include any one or more of the optional or preferred features of the hatch arrangement defined in a preceding aspect of the invention.

The structure may be a demountable building or a transportable home or workshop or office or clinic.

According to another aspect of this invention there is provided a ventilating cover device for a hatch, the cover device including a cover member, at least two support members for supporting the cover member and at least one ventilation means to allow circulation of air through the cover means while preventing access to inclement weather.

The cover device of the present invention will typically allow the hatch to be open for ventilation and the circulation of airflow and minimize or prevent ingress of water either from inclement weather or from spray. The cover device will preferably extend over the hatch in all directions and be spaced from the hatch (even when open) so as not to be damaged or to prevent the hatch being opened.

Particularly when applied to boats and marine vessels, the prevailing wind will cause the vessel to be oriented in a “bow to the wind” direction when the boat rides at anchor. For the purposes of this specification, “forward” or “windward” is the direction from which the prevailing wind is blowing and “rearward” is the leeward side.

The cover device includes a cover member for substantially enclosing the hatch for the prevention of ingress of water or spray. The cover member may be formed from one or more portions which are attached together to form the member or it may be provided as a unitary member. The unitary member is preferred for the purposes of the present invention as the joins provided in the multipart member may be more prone to leaks.

The cover member may be manufactured from any material suitable to act as a barrier to water or spray. The cover member is therefore substantially water resistant or waterproof. A typical material of construction will be a plastic material.

Preferably, the plastic may be a flexible type to allow for the cover device to be collapsible for storage and the like.

The plastic material may be transparent, opaque, coloured, have a pattern applied thereto or have a logo or trade mark applied thereto according to the user's discretion. Particularly preferred plastics for use according to the present invention include low density polyethylene (LDPE) and linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE).

Any substantially water resistant or waterproof material may be used and the cover member need not be limited to manufacture from plastic. For example, the cover member may be manufactured from a treated fabric instead of a plastic material.

The cover member is large enough to preferably cover the hatch in a substantially U-shaped configuration when viewed from an end. The cover member will typically have a cover portion oriented substantially parallel to the deck or other support surface into which the hatch is fitted and extend over the top of the hatch and a pair of spaced apart depending side skirt portions located on the lateral sides of the cover portion to cover the sides of the hatch. The cover member will generally be attached or mounted to the support members in order to fix the cover member relative to the hatch and to maintain the shape of the cover device.

The cover member may be attached to the support members using any suitable method. Some examples of methods which may be used are stitching, sonic welding, heat sealing, adhesives or particularly preferred is the method of providing sleeve portions on or in the cover member such that the support members may be inserted into the sleeve portions.

The cover device includes at least two support members for supporting the cover member. Preferably, there will be a plurality of support members provided of different types and together the support members typically form a support frame assembly. Each of the support members provided will typically be manufactured of a material which is resistant to corrosion given the application of the present invention. A particularly preferred material for manufacture of the support members may be a light but strong metal such as stainless steel and preferably of Type 316. Another preferred alternative material is fiberglass. Each of the support members will typically be rod members and may be of any cross-sectional shape.

There will generally be at least two side members provided. The side members will typically be provided to rest or be secured to the deck or other support surface surrounding the hatch. Each side member will typically be elongate and preferably substantially straight members. The side members may preferably be length adjustable to allow for the device to be adapted to suit the size of various hatches which may be fitted.

Each of the side members may be attachable or securable relative to the deck or other support surface of the hatch or the like. This attachment may be accomplished using any suitable method.

There may also be at least two substantially U-shaped members, and preferably three, provided according to the present invention. These U-shaped members may extend generally upwardly away from the deck or support surface into which the hatch is fitted to space the cover portion and side skirt portions from the hatch itself.

Each U-shaped member preferably includes a pair of spaced apart upright arms with a cross-member linking the upright arms. There will typically be a U-shaped member located at either longitudinal end of the cover device and a third U-shaped member provided approximately midway along the length of the device. Preferably the end members may be attached to the cover member using the sleeve portions described above, but the centrally located U-shaped member is typically not attached to the cover member but is provided to maintain the shape of the cover member above the hatch.

Each of the end U-shaped members will typically be angled away from a central point of the hatch in a longitudinal direction to create a forward and an rearward extending “hood” portion. Typically, an upper portion of the upright arms of the U-shaped members is preferably located further from the central point of the hatch than a lower portion of the upright arms.

Each of the spaced apart upright arms and the cross-member of each U- shaped member may preferably be length adjustable to allow for the device to be adapted to suit the size of various hatches which may be fitted.

In order to facilitate the attachment of the device relative to the deck or other support surface in which the hatch is fitted, a plurality of boss members may be provided in the deck or support surface, surrounding the hatch. Preferably, a lower portion of the upright arm members of the U-shaped members may be received in the bosses to locate the cover device and fix it, at least temporarily relative to the hatch. Suitably, the bosses may be provided such that their uppermost portion is flush with the deck or support surface.

The lower portion of the upright arms may also be associated with the side members and the side members may be provided with portions to be received in the bosses.

The cover device also includes at least one ventilation means to allow circulation of air through the cover means while preventing access to inclement weather, and insects such as mosquitoes and the like. Preferably, there will be a ventilation means provided at either longitudinal end of the apparatus to encourage airflow there through. Each of the ventilation means will typically be or include a mesh member. The ventilation means may be located on or relative to the end U-shaped members of the device and typically the mesh will extend between the upright arms and the cross member and extend downwardly to adjacent the deck or support surface in which the hatch is located. Each of the ventilation means will preferably be located under the forward and a rearward extending “hood” portion.

The windward end of the device may be provided with a baffle arrangement to force the airflow incident thereon to follow a circuitous path to decrease the chance that windborne moisture can enter the cover device and in turn, enter the hatch.

The baffle arrangement will typically include at least two transverse baffle members, and preferably three baffle members. The baffle members may be manufactured of any suitable material but will preferably be a plastic material.

A first baffle member may be provided adjacent to the windward end ventilation member. The first baffle will typically depend from the cross member of the end U-shaped member and extend substantially parallel to the angled ventilation member. The first baffle member is preferably substantially planar with an arcuate upper edge and a substantially straight lower edge.

A second baffle member may be provided further inwardly of the first baffle member. The second baffle member will typically extend upwardly from a location-adjacent the deck or other support surface. The second baffle member will generally be mounted relative to one, preferably both of the side members in order to maintain its position. The second baffle member may be angled outwardly away from the hatch.

A third baffle member may be provided even further inwardly of the second baffle member but still forward of the hatch opening. The third baffle member may be shaped similarly to the first baffle member. The third baffle member may depend from the cover member but preferably a U-shaped member may be provided to mount the third baffle member therefrom. Alternatively, the third baffle member may be mounted relative to the side members.

The provision and location of the baffle members may force the airflow entering the cover device to follow a wave pattern. This airflow pattern typically increases the chances that airborne moisture will strike at least one of the baffle members and decreases the likelihood that rain or similar can strike the deck or support surface adjacent the ventilation means of the device and be carried or splatter inwardly into the hatch. The location of the baffle members can be adjusted to suit prevailing conditions and there may be a baffle assembly provided adjacent the rearward end of the device.

One or more mounting straps or similar may be provided to secure the cover device directly to the hatch itself.

The device according to the invention may be of any suitable size relative to the hatch size. Typically however, for a conventional hatch size, the device may be approximately 1 metre in length, approximately 700 mm in width and the height may vary.

According to an alternative embodiment, the frame assembly provided may be constructed heavily enough to also act as a security system preventing access to the interior space once secured in place.

In another form, the invention may reside in a ventilating cover device for directing airflow into an opening of an enclosed space while sheltering the opening from the intrusion of inclement weather or spray, the device including a frame assembly, securing means for securing and positioning said collapsible frame in an erect position over said opening, at least one cover member mounted to said collapsible frame, said cover having a forward extending portion, a central enclosing portion and a rearward extending portion, and at least one ventilating means associated with the forward extending portion to allow airflow to enter the cover means whilst minimizing entry to inclement weather or spray.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

A ventilation cover for a hatch and a hatch arrangement in accordance with this invention may manifest itself in a variety of forms. It will be convenient to hereinafter describe several embodiments of the invention in detail with reference to the accompanying drawings. The purpose of providing this detailed description is to instruct persons having an interest in the subject matter of the invention how to carry the invention into practical effect. However it is to be clearly understood that the specific nature of this detailed description does not supersede the generality of the preceding broad description. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view from the front of a conventional boat hatch comprising a hatch opening and a hatch door removably covering the hatch opening;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view from one side of the boat hatch of FIG. 1;

FIG. 3 is a side perspective view of a ventilation cover in accordance with one embodiment of the invention mounted on a deck over a boat hatch like that in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is an upper perspective view of the ventilation cover of FIG. 3 when viewed from the rear;

FIG. 5 is an upper perspective view of the ventilation cover of FIG. 3 when viewed from the front;

FIG. 6 is an upper side perspective view of the ventilation cover of FIG. 3 with some bias towards the rear of the cover;

FIG. 7 is an upper perspective view of a ventilation cover in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention mounted on a deck over a boat hatch like that in FIG. 1 when viewed from a front end;

FIG. 8 is a schematic sectional side view of the ventilation cover and hatch of FIG. 7 showing wind and moisture entering a ventilation opening on one end of the cover;

FIG. 9 is a schematic sectional side view of the ventilation cover and hatch of FIG. 7 showing wind and moisture entering another ventilation opening on the other end of the cover;

FIG. 10 is a perspective view of a caravan having a roof hatch and a ventilation cover mounted over the roof hatch; and

FIG. 11 is an upper perspective view of a structure that is a demountable building having a roof hatch and a ventilation cover mounted over the roof hatch.

A first embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to FIGS. 1 to 6.

In this embodiment of the invention a ventilating cover means is provided for a hatch 11 or similar, particularly a hatch on a marine craft. In the description of this embodiment the terms ventilation cover and ventilating cover means and cover device shall be used interchangeably and shall be understood to refer to the same thing.

In FIGS. 3 to 6 reference numeral 10 refers generally to a cover device in accordance with the invention.

The cover device 10 includes a cover member 12, a support frame for supporting the cover member and mesh ventilation members 13 to allow circulation of air through the cover device 10 while preventing access to inclement weather.

The cover device 10 allows the hatch 11 to be open for ventilation and the circulation of airflow and minimize or prevent ingress of water either from inclement weather or from spray.

The cover device 10 includes a cover member 12 for substantially enclosing the hatch 11 for the prevention of ingress of water or spray. The cover member 12 according to the illustrated embodiment is provided as a unitary member and is manufactured of a transparent flexible plastic material. This flexible cover member 12 and the support frame assembly allows the cover device 10 to be collapsible for storage and the like.

The cover member 12 covers the hatch 11 in a substantially U-shaped configuration when viewed from an end having a main cover portion 15 oriented substantially parallel to the deck 14 extending over the top of the hatch 11 and a pair of spaced apart depending side skirt portions 16 located on the lateral sides of the cover portion 15 to cover the sides of the hatch 11.

The cover member 12 is attached or mounted to the support frame assembly in order to fix the cover member 12 relative to the hatch 11 and to maintain the shape of the cover member 12.

The cover device 10 includes a plurality of support members of different types and together the support members form the support frame assembly. Each of the support members provided is manufactured of a material which is resistant to corrosion given the application of the present invention. A particularly preferred material for manufacture of the support members is Type 316 stainless steel. Another preferred alternative material is fiberglass. Each of the support members will typically be rod members and may be of any cross-sectional shape.

The cover member 12 illustrated is attached to the support frame members by stitching but normally this will be accomplished by providing sleeve portions on or in the cover member 12 such that the support members may be inserted into the sleeve portions.

There are two side members 17 provided. The side members 17 rest or are secured to the deck 14 surrounding the hatch 11. Each side member 17 is elongate and straight.

There are also three substantially U-shaped members provided according to the preferred embodiment. There is a U-shaped end member 18 located at either longitudinal end of the cover device 10 and a third U-shaped member 19 provided approximately midway along the length of the device 10. The U-shaped members 18, 19 extend generally upwardly away from the deck 14 into which the hatch 11 is fitted, to space the main cover portion 15 and side skirt portions 16 from the hatch 11 itself.

Each U-shaped member 18, 19 includes a pair of spaced apart upright arms 20 with a cross-member 21 linking the upright arms 20. The centrally located U-shaped member 19 is not attached to the cover member 12 but is provided to maintain the shape of the cover member 12 above the hatch 11. Each of the end U-shaped members 18 is angled away from a central point of the hatch 11 in a longitudinal direction to create a forward and a rearward extending “hood” portion, best illustrated in FIG. 3 or 6.

In order to facilitate the attachment of the device relative to the deck 11, a plurality of boss members (not shown) are provided in the deck 14 surrounding the hatch 11. A lower portion of the upright arm members 20 of the U-shaped members is received in the bosses to locate the cover device 10 and fix it, at least temporarily relative to the hatch 11. Suitably, the bosses are provided such that their uppermost portion is flush with the deck 14.

The cover device also includes mesh ventilation members 13 to allow circulation of air through the cover device 10 while preventing access to inclement weather.

The mesh members 13 are provided at either longitudinal end of the device to encourage airflow therethrough. The mesh members 13 are located so that the mesh extends between the upright arms 20 and the cross member 21 of the end members 18 and extends downwardly to adjacent the deck 14. Each of the mesh members 13 is located under the forward and a rearward extending “hood” portion.

The windward end of the device 10 is provided with a baffle arrangement to force the airflow incident thereon to follow a circuitous path to decrease the chance that windborne moisture can enter the cover device and in turn enter the hatch.

The baffle arrangement includes three transverse baffle members manufactured of any suitable material, preferably a plastic material.

A first baffle member 22 is provided adjacent to the windward end mesh member 13. The first baffle 22 depends from the cross member 21 of the end U-shaped member 18 on the windward end and extends substantially parallel to the angled mesh member 13. The first baffle member 22 is substantially planar with an arcuate upper edge and a substantially straight lower edge.

A second baffle member 23 is provided further inwardly of the first baffle member 22. The second baffle member 23 extends upwardly from a location adjacent the deck 11. The second baffle member 23 is mounted relative to the side members 17 in order to maintain its position. The second baffle member 23 is angled outwardly away from the hatch 11.

A third baffle member 24 is provided even further inwardly of the second baffle member 23 but still forward of the hatch 11 opening. The third baffle member 24 is shaped similarly to the first baffle member 22. The third baffle member 24 as illustrated, depends from the cover member 12 but preferably, a U-shaped member is provided to mount the third baffle member 24 therefrom.

The provision and location of the baffle members forces the airflow entering the cover device 10 to follow a wave pattern increasing the chances that airborne moisture will strike at least one of the baffle members and decreasing the likelihood that rain or similar can strike the deck 14 adjacent the mesh members 13 of the device and be carried or splatter inwardly into the hatch 11. The device according to the preferred embodiment illustrated is approximately 1 metre in length, approximately 700 mm in width and a height of approximately 200 mm.

A cover and hatch installation in accordance with another embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to FIGS. 7 to 9.

In FIGS. 7 to 9 reference numeral 50 refers generally to a hatch arrangement having a ventilation cover in accordance with a second embodiment of the invention.

The ventilation cover 50 includes a cover member 52 that is shaped to form a ventilation passage 54 having ventilation openings 56 and 58 at each end thereof. In the illustrated form the cover member 52 comprises two sides 60 and 62 extending lengthwise along the ventilation passage 54 and a roof 64 extending over the ventilation passage 54 and joining the sides 60, 62. The cover member 52 closes the sides 60, 62 and the roof 64 of the ventilation passage 54. The ventilation passage 54 extends substantially rectilinearly between the ventilation openings 56, 58 such that the ventilation openings oppose each other and face towards each other.

The ventilation cover 50 includes a water screen 66 towards the ventilation opening 56 for screening out at least some moisture entrained with air entering the ventilation passage 54 through the opening 56. The water screen 66 comprises a baffle arrangement comprising three baffles 68, 70 and 72 that are axially spaced apart from each other and extend into the ventilation passage 54 towards the ventilation opening 56. The adjacent baffles 68, 70, 72 are offset from each other in the direction of the ventilation passage 54 and form a tortuous section of the ventilation passage 54.

Each baffle 68, 70 and 72 is substantially planar and has a mounting end that may be mounted to the cover member 52, and a free end opposed to the mounting end that projects transversely to the cover member 52 into the ventilation passage 54. Adjacent baffles 68, 70 and 72 extend into the ventilation passage 54 from opposed positions on the periphery of the ventilation passage, e.g. the roof 64 of the ventilation passage 54 and the floor of the ventilation passage 54. The baffles 68 and 70 and also 70 and 72 overlap each other when viewed in the direction of the ventilation passage 54.

The water screen 66 further includes a sheet mesh 74 extending across the ventilation passage 54. The mesh openings are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture there through and also to resist flying insects from passing there through. In the illustrated embodiment the baffle 68 closest to the ventilation opening 56 extends part of the way across the cross sectional area defined by the cover member 52 and the sheet mesh 74 extends from the free end of the baffle across the ventilation passage defined by the remainder of the cross sectional area of the cover member 50.

The ventilation cover 50 also includes another water screen 76 towards the other ventilation opening 58 at the other end of the ventilation passage 54 for screening out moisture entering this other ventilation opening 58. The water screen 76 comprises a sheet mesh extending across the ventilation passage 54 having openings that are sized to resist the passage of large drops of moisture there through and also to resist flying insects from passing there through.

The roof 64 of the ventilation cover 50 extends outwardly at each end further than the sides 60, 62 of the cover member 52, particularly further than lower regions of the sides 60, 62. This causes the cover 50 to be somewhat hooded at each end.

This feature in combination with the adjacent deck surface assists in guiding and directing air through the associated ventilation openings 56, 58.

In the drawings a hatch is indicated generally by the reference numeral 80.

The hatch 80 comprises a hatch surround 82 defining a hatch opening 84 and a hatch door 86 mounted on the hatch surround 82 for closing off the hatch opening 84. The hatch door 86 has a mounting end 90 and a free end 92, and is pivotal between a closed position in which the free end 92 of the door 86 abuts against the hatch surround 82 and an open ventilating position in which the free end 92 of the hatch door 86 is spaced away from the hatch surround 82.

As is clearly shown in the drawings the cover member 52 is arranged with the ventilation opening 56 and associated baffles 68, 70 and 72 positioned towards the free end 92 of the hatch door 86 and the other ventilation opening 58 with the sheet mesh water screen 76 is positioned towards the mounting end 90 of the hatch door 86.

When air and entrained moisture enters the other ventilation opening 58 the open hatch door 86 assists in screening out drops of moisture passing into the ventilation passage 54 through the ventilation opening 58. The hatch door 86 is interposed between the ventilation opening 58 and the hatch opening 84 and thus acts as a barrier to water droplets passing into the passage 54 through the ventilation opening 58.

The structure of the cover member 52 will now be described in more detail. In the illustrated embodiment the cover 50 comprises a support frame indicated generally by reference numeral 96 and a canopy in the form of a water impervious flexible sheet material that is drawn across the support frame 96. The sheet material can be attached to the frame members in any one of many different ways that are already known. As this does not form part of the invention it will not be described further.

The support frame 96 comprises two longitudinal frame members 100, 102 extending in the direction of the ventilation passage 54 along the lower edges of the sides 60, 62 of the cover member 52. The support frame 96 also includes three axially spaced members 104, 106, and 108 extending transversely between the two longitudinal members 100, 102. Each transverse frame member 104, 106, and 108 has a side portion extending up one side of the cover member 52, a roof portion extending along a roof of the cover member 52, and another side portion extending down the other side of the cover member. In a very general sense each of the frame members 104, 106, and 108 may be referred to as being in the form of a U-shaped rib.

The cover 50 also includes a mounting arrangement for mounting it on the deck of the boat. In the illustrated embodiment the mounting arrangement is indicated generally by numeral 110 and comprises two straps 112, 114 extending in from each side of the cover member 52 that are passed under the hatch door 86 and then fastened to each other. This is able to hold the cover 50 firmly down against the deck around the hatch 80. The two straps 112, 114 may be releasably attached to each other by a releasable fastener such as a hook and loop fastener or the like. An advantage of this mounting arrangement is that it does not require a boat user to drill any holes in the deck of the boat to fix mounting hooks, mounting brackets or the like. In particular a user who is renting a boat may not want to drill holes in the deck of the boat to mount any mounting hooks thereon.

In another form of mounting arrangement that has not been illustrated, four mounting hooks are mounted on the deck of the vessel around the hatch 80 and the two longitudinal frame members 100, 102 are clipped onto these hook formations to releasably mount the cover 50 on the deck around the hatch 80.

In use the cover 50 can be mounted over a hatch 80 of a vessel such as a yacht or boat. The cover 50 can be quickly and easily erected and mounted in position on the hatch 80. The cover 50 is arranged with the ventilation opening 54 positioned adjacent to the free end 92 of the hatch door 86 and typically facing towards the front or bow of the yacht or boat. The other opening 56 is adjacent to the mounting end 90 of the door 86 and faces towards the stern or rear of the yacht or boat.

When a boat is at anchor it will tend to face directly into the wind. As shown in FIG. 8 this will direct air flow through the ventilation opening 56 into the ventilation passage 54 from where it can pass down through the hatch opening 84. If it rains then the baffles and also the sheet mesh to some extent, screen out the drops of moisture before the drops reach the hatch opening 84. Consequently little or no water is able to pass through the hatch opening 84 and enter into the cabin.

If the wind changes direction, e.g. during the night, but the direction in which the boat is facing does not change then as shown in FIG. 9 air will be directed in through the other opening 86 and down through the hatch opening 84. Thus the cover 50 with its two ventilation openings is capable of directing air down through the hatch opening when the wind is blowing in more than one direction without altering the orientation of the boat per se.

If it rains the mesh screen 76 and also the hatch door 86 which is interposed between the hatch opening 84 and the ventilation opening 58 acts to screen out most of the moisture and resist it from entering the hatch door 86. Thus by using the hatch door 86 to assist in screening out moisture it is not necessary to have a baffle arrangement adjacent the opening 88.

Significantly the ventilation cover 50 permits ventilation of air through a hatch opening 84 while screening out moisture entrained within the air. Further it does not require user involvement and is therefore particularly useful at night when rain showers are common and it would be inconvenient for a user to get up and close a hatch door 86 every time a rain shower occurred.

The cover 50 is removably mounted to the hatch surround, e.g. by mounting hooks, straps or the like, and can be removed and stored away in the boat when it is not required for use. Specifically the support frame can be dismantled and the flexible sheet cover member can be folded up and stored away.

Applicant has noted that the air flow through a hatch opening is increased when a ventilation cover has ventilation openings at both ends of the ventilation passage. Thus in addition to being capable of receiving wind from more than one direction the efficacy of the ventilation covers in terms of the amount of air flow through the hatch opening also appears to be increased.

FIG. 10 illustrates a recreational vehicle that is a caravan.

In the drawing reference numeral 130 refers generally to the caravan. The caravan has a roof 132 and a roof hatch (not shown) mounted on the roof 132 to help ventilate the interior space of the caravan 130 when it is in camping mode.

The caravan 130 includes a ventilating cover 50 which is mounted on top of the ventilating hatch. The cover 50 and hatch function in a similar way to that described above for the preceding embodiment of the invention. The ventilating cover is similarly efficacious at resisting the entry of moisture through the hatch opening into the interior space of the caravan while still permitting the roof hatch to ventilate the interior space of the caravan.

FIG. 11 illustrates a structure in accordance with another embodiment of the invention.

In FIG. 11 reference numeral 140 refers generally to a structure that is a demountable building that can be an office or a workshop or a home. The building 140 has a roof 142 and a roof hatch 80 on the roof 142 to help ventilate the interior space of the building 140 when it is in use. A ventilating cover 50 is mounted on the hatch 80.

The cover 50 and the hatch 80 function in a similar way to that described above for the preceding embodiment of the invention. The ventilating cover 50 is similarly efficacious at resisting the entry of moisture into the interior space of the building 140 while still permitting the roof hatch 80 to ventilate the interior space of the building 140.

An advantage of the ventilation cover described above with reference to the drawings is that it is efficacious at directing air flow down through a hatch opening and thereby facilitating ventilation of an enclosed air space beneath a hatch. Applicants' believe that the ventilation effect achieved by the ventilation cover described above is considerably greater than that achieved when a ventilation cover has only one opening defined therein. Applicants' have carefully conducted empirical experiments to confirm that this is in fact the case but do not wish to theorize on why this might be the case.

A further advantage of the ventilation cover described above with reference to the drawings is that it is capable of receiving wind from more than one direction. Thus if a wind or breeze comes from the stern it can still be directed into the ventilation cover and be used to ventilate the confined space in the beneath deck region of a boat.

A further advantage of the ventilation cover described above with reference to the drawings is that the baffle arrangement is particularly efficacious at screening out rain drops and other moisture entrained with the air that flows into the flow passage of the ventilation cover without causing a significant reduction in air flow through the hatch.

A yet further advantage of the ventilation cover is that it has mesh panels extending across the flow passage towards each end of the flow passage. These mesh panels help to screen rain drops and other moisture out of the air stream.

They also form an insect screen that resists insects from entering the hatch opening particularly at night.

A yet further advantage of the ventilation cover described above and illustrated is that it can be collapsed and fitted into a bag for storage when it is not being used. Further it can easily and quickly be erected into its operative configuration when it is required to be used. Further it can be easily and quickly clipped onto the deck by means of mounting hooks that are mounted on the deck. Instead it can be mounted to the hatch door by means of straps that extend under the hatch door from each side of the hatch door.

It will of course be realized that the above has been given only by way of illustrative example of the invention and that all such modifications and variations thereto, as would be apparent to persons skilled in the art, are deemed to fall within the broad scope and ambit of the invention as is herein set forth.