Title:
BOAT WITH STOWABLE ENCLOSURE
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A boat construction is provided. The boat includes a boat hull and top. The top is provided with a selectively stowable enclosure device that includes a curtain member that may be unfolded after release from a storage chamber for suspension from the top to form a tubular enclosure area for a person to use as a privacy area for activity such as changing clothes. After use, the enclosure device may be restowed in its storage chamber attached to or integral with the top. The top may be a fixed top or a collapsible top.



Inventors:
Burroughs, Ken (Springfield, MO, US)
Application Number:
11/624479
Publication Date:
07/24/2008
Filing Date:
01/18/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
114/343
International Classes:
B63B17/02
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
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20090165690SPORTS BOARDJuly, 2009Walworth et al.
20040177795BLADE SAILSeptember, 2004Stapf
20030127038Marine pad saverJuly, 2003Moore
20090158983Yacht and Ballast Assembly ThereforJune, 2009Gale



Primary Examiner:
AVILA, STEPHEN P
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
HUSCH BLACKWELL LLP (KANSAS CITY, MO, US)
Claims:
1. A boat with stowable privacy room comprising: a boat hull; a collapsible top extending over at least a portion of the hull and having at least one support portion extending over at least a portion of the hull; a pocket member positioned adjacent the top and at least partially supported above the hull by the support portion, said pocket member forming a storage chamber; a foldable curtain member carried by the top and when unfolded forms a tubular enclosure and when folded is stowable in the storage chamber; and at least one attachment device cooperatively associated with the curtain member and the top mounting the curtain member to the top.

2. The boat of claim 1 wherein the at least one attachment device is operable to hold the curtain member in an expanded condition along a substantial portion of the length thereof.

3. The boat of claim 1 including a fastener device associated with a sidewall portion of the curtain member to provide a selectively closable opening through the sidewall portion.

4. The boat of claim 3 wherein the at least one attachment device including a plurality of strap devices secured to the top and curtain member.

5. The boat of claim 4 wherein at least some of the strap devices include strap coupler devices.

6. The boat of claim 5 wherein the strap coupler devices including at least one buckle.

7. The boat of claim 6 wherein the strap coupler devices are in spaced apart relationship about the top to hold the curtain in an expanded condition adjacent an upper disposed portion of the curtain member.

8. The boat of claim 7 wherein at least some of strap devices being adjustable in length.

9. The boat of claim 7 including a closure device cooperatively associated with the pocket member adjacent an access opening and operable to selectively fix said access opening in a closed condition.

10. The boat of claim 9 wherein the top including a fabric cover and the support portion including a support member.

11. The boat of claim 10 wherein the top including a frame including the support member, the support member having at least one cross bar, said frame operable for supporting the cover, said pocket member being positioned adjacent a said cross bar.

12. The boat of claim 7 wherein the curtain member having a sidewall portion with a substantial portion thereof made of fabric.

13. The boat of claim 12 wherein the fabric of the sidewall portion being woven and having denier in the range of between about 100 and about 500.

14. The boat of claim 7 wherein the curtain member having an open top and an open bottom when unfolded.

15. The boat of claim 1 including at least one fastener associated with the curtain member to releasbly retain the curtain member in a folded configuration for storage in said chamber.

16. A stowable privacy room for use with a boat, said privacy room including: a pocket member forming a storage chamber; a foldable curtain member in the form of a tube with at least one open end, said curtain member being secured to the pocket member adjacent one end of the curtain member, said curtain member being stowable in the storage chamber; and at least one attachment device associated with the curtain member for securement to a collapsible boat top and operable to hold the end of the curtain member adjacent the pocket member in an expanded configuration.

17. The privacy room of claim 16 wherein the curtain member including a sidewall portion and a fastener device associated with the sidewall portion to provide a selectively closable opening through the sidewall portion.

18. The privacy room of claim 17 wherein the at least one attachment device including a plurality of strap devices secured to the curtain member.

19. The privacy room of claim 18 including a boat top associated with at least one of the pocket member and the curtain member.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

Not applicable.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Boats, particularly smaller boats, e.g., pleasure boats in the runabout and deck boat classes, are very popular today. They are provided with many features to enhance their usability and convenience. Many of these boats are quite sophisticated both structurally, in the power unit and in the electronics. They are also very well appointed for convenience in use and comfort. Because of the size and limited space in small boats, the various uses that a particular boat can be used for and the number of people that are in a boat at one time, interior space is at a premium. Boats may be used for recreational purposes, sporting, for example fishing and skiing, cruising and the like. Often times, boats will be on the water for extended periods of time and may be used for multiple activities in a single trip. This often times presents the need for a privacy area which is typically not available in smaller boats. For example, one may need to change clothes or use a portable head. Smaller boats, particularly those that are open, have no or limited means to provide privacy or at least convenient privacy.

Some attempts have been made in the past, including cushions that can be raised from the seats with frames or deployable curtains supported by framework movable from beneath the seats to enclose a privacy space. Doors and hatches could be opened and/or raised to provide support for a deployable curtain. A permanent privacy area for changing could be provided in a boat console but that displaces valuable storage space and is typically small. All of the above forms of providing a privacy area are either complex, require valuable storage space or are inconvenient and time consuming to use. There is thus a need for an improved boat construction that will provide for a simple to use, easy to store, selectively usable and deployable privacy area.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention involves the provision of a boat having a collapsible, stowable privacy area enclosure. The enclosure includes a curtain that is selectively deployed suspended from a boat top and may be stored in combination with the boat top in a folded condition in a pouch or pocket. The curtain has at least one side wall made of a foldable flexible material. A pocket member is positioned adjacent to the top and is at least partially supported above the hull of the boat by the top. The pocket member at least partially defines a storage chamber adapted to receive the folded curtain. The curtain is carried by the top and when unfolded forms a tubular enclosure that may be open at both ends. When the curtain is folded, it is stowable in the storage chamber. There is at least one attachment device cooperatively associated with the curtain and the top to mount the curtain member to the top. An opening may be provided in the curtain member to allow ingress and egress into and from the interior of the privacy area. A closure device may be provided to selectively fix the opening in the curtain in a closed condition.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a boat from the stern with a top curtain member deployed to form a privacy area.

FIG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the top of the boat looking generally up from the bottom side of the top to show details of the top with the curtain stowed.

FIG. 3 is an enlarged fragmentary perspective view of the curtain member shown removed from storage but not expanded.

FIG. 4 is a figure similar to FIG. 3, but showing the curtain member in an expanded condition.

Like numbers throughout the various figures designate like or similar parts or construction.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

A boat, designated generally by the reference numeral 1, includes a hull 2, a bow portion 3 and a stern portion 4. The boat 1 may be of any suitable style, a walk thru, a closed top, a fully open hull, or any suitable other boat construction utilizing a top 6. The boat 1 may be provided with a console arrangement 8 and one or more windshields 10. A collapsible enclosure designated generally 12 is provided and is described in more detail below. The boat 1 may be provided with a plurality of seats 14 including fore and aft seats and center seats positioned behind console 8. As shown, the boat 1 is of a walk thru type. The boat is preferably powered which can be by an inboard or outboard motor or can be a sail driven craft or have a combination of motive devices if desired. The motive device is not shown. The top 6 may be of a collapsible type or of a permanent type.

As shown, the top 6 is of a collapsible type, which is a preferred embodiment. The top 6 includes a framework designated generally 20 that is constructed and positioned for supporting a cover 21 above a portion of the cavity 22 of the hull 2. In a preferred embodiment, the cover 21 is collapsible and is of a fabric as for example a woven nylon or polyester having the desired strength and resistance to sun penetration as desired. Such covers 21 when of a woven fabric preferably have a denier of at least about 500 for durability and may be waterproof if desired. The top 21 is secured to the frame 20 as for example by having one or more cross bars 25 some of which may be retained within sewn or other suitably formed channels 26. The frame 20 includes one or more cross bars 25 and as shown there are three cross bars 25A, 25B, 25C (FIG. 3). As shown, the frame 20 is constructed for being selectively configured in a collapsed condition and a covering/supporting condition. FIGS. 1-4 show the framework 20 in its up and support configuration. The frame 20 includes the cross bar 25A supported by two arms 27A, 27B which are hingedly connected to arms 28A, 28B which in turn are connected to cross bar 25C (FIG. 3). The arms 27A, 27B are preferably connected by hinges at 29 to arms 28A, 28B. The cross bar 25B is connected to arms 30A, 30B which are shown as being connected to the arms 28A, 28B respectively preferably by hinges 29. The top 6 may be secured in its up configuration, e.g., by use of hold down straps 30 and back brace 31. The cross bars 25A, 25B move in the direction of front to rear to stop at cross bar 25C to put the frame 20 in a collapsed configuration by pivoting the arms 27 and 30 about their respective hinges 29. By moving the cross bars 25A, 25B to the collapsed configuration, the cover 21 is also collapsed from its extended covering configuration to a collapsed storage configuration. The frame 20 may then be hinged rearwardly and/or have portions removed from retainers such as sockets to move the top 6 to a stowable position. Tie down straps, not shown, may be used to further reduce the volume of the collapsed top 6 and to secure it in place to the hull 2 at the stern 4. The top 6 including the frame 20 and cover 21 as so far described are well known in the art. As shown, the top 6, when up, is positioned over the center part of the hull 2 covering at least the seats immediately behind the console 8. Generally, such tops are used for sun and rain protection and in some constructions, may be stowed without or little inhibiting of use of the boat or consuming excessive or desirable space within the hull 2.

As best seen in FIG. 2, a pocket member 40 is carried by the top 6 and preferably, is attached to the cover 21 adjacent at least one of the cross bars 25 so that the weights of the pocket member 40 and the enclosure 12 do not cause excessive sagging of the cover 21. The pocket member 40 defines a storage chamber 41 which is selectively accessible from the exterior via an opening 42 which may be selectively closed by a suitable closure device such as a zipper 43 or hook and loop fasteners, tie straps, buckles or the like. The volume of the chamber 41 is sufficient to enclose the enclosure 12 when the enclosure 12 is rolled or folded and placed in the chamber 41. As shown, the pocket member 40 is attached to the cover 21 to preferably be integral with the cover and may utilize a portion of the cover 21 as one wall portion thereof and a flap 44 as another wall portion. Alternatively, the pocket member 40 may be separate and attached to one or more cross bars 25 and/or the cover 21. Attachment can be by sewing if permanent attachment is desired or may be by releasable fasteners such as hook and loop fasteners, buckles and straps or the like if non permanent attachment is desired. The pocket member 40 may be retrofit to existing covers 21 or top 6 if desired. Preferably, the chamber 41 is forwardly opening and the pocket member 40 is attached to the cover 21 adjacent the middle cross brace 25B and is generally centrally located transversely between opposite side edges of the top 6.

The enclosure 12 includes a foldable curtain member 50 that may be constructed of one or more sidewall member portions 51 and, as expanded, includes wall members 51A-D which may be formed from one or more pieces of material. Preferably, the curtain member 50 is formed from a single piece of material and when configured in an enclosing or deployed configuration as seen in FIG. 1, a generally rectangular arrangement in transverse cross section of the walls 51 is provided. The curtain member 50 and its sidewall portions 51 are preferably made of woven fabric, such as nylon or polypropylene synthetic fibers and have a denier in the range of between about 100 and about 500. However, it is to be noted that other transverse sectional shapes may be utilized for example, round, oval or the like. The curtain member 50, when configured for forming an enclosed privacy area 53, has a top open end 54 and a bottom open end 55 (FIG. 1). Preferably, there is provided an opening 56 that may be selectively fixed in a closed position as with a suitable closure device, e.g., a zipper 57 to allow for easy ingress into and egress from the area 53. The cross sectional dimensions of the enclosure 12 are such as to provide adequate room for a person to enter and utilize the enclosed area 53 for such things as clothes changing, head use or the like. The length of the enclosure 12 is such as to provide the desired amount of privacy. Suitable fastener devices 59 may be provided for example, hook and loop fasteners, to allow a person to secure the enclosure 12 in a rolled up or folded configuration for storage in the chamber 41. The fasteners 59 may also be used to maintain the lower end of the enclosure in an elevated position in the event privacy is not needed for the full length of the enclosure 12. For example, during clothes changing a full length enclosure 12 might not be needed but the full length of the enclosure 12 might be needed in the event the area 53 is used for a head area. The fasteners 59 may be used to help configure the enclosure 12 in a partially rolled up or folded configuration for stowing in the chamber 41. The top portion 54 of the enclosure 12 is preferably positioned adjacent the cover 21 while the enclosure 12 is suitably mounted to the top 6 as for example the cover 21 and/or any of the cross braces 25. At least one attachment member is preferably provided to attach the enclosure 12 to the top 6. In the illustrated structure, a plurality of flexible straps 61 are secured to the top 6 with the straps 61 each being suitably secured to the cover 21 as by stitching, FIGS. 3, 4. In the illustrated structure, at least some of the straps 61 are in the form of a Y configured strap arrangement having two strap portions 62, 63 on the free end each, strap portion having a suitable attachment device such as a connect/disconnect coupler devices 65, herein coupler(s), secured thereto. Suitable couplers 65 include buckle portions for example a side release buckle, cam lock buckle, front release buckle or the like. Also, hook and loop fasteners could be used if desired. Opposite side portions 51A, 51C (front and rear respectively) of the illustrated enclosure 12 include strap members 67 secured thereto in laterally spaced apart relationship adjacent the top 54 (FIGS. 3, 4). These straps 67 also include an attachment device, e.g., the mating half of the coupler 65. If a cam lock buckle device is used, one of the strap members 67, 61 can function as a portion of the attachment device. As shown, opposite sides of the enclosure 12 at sides 51A, 51C, have attachment devices adjacent the top thereof to help effect spreading of the upper portion 54 of the enclosure 12 so that the enclosure 12 hangs in a tubular manner to form the enclosed area 53. The straps 67 on the bow side of the illustrated enclosure 12, can be attached to the cross bar 25A via a coupler portion 65B connecting to a mating coupler portion 65A mounted to the top 6, preferably and may provide for adjustment of length thereof. The length adjustment can be accomplished through the use of the coupler 65 by sliding a portion of strap 67 through a portion of the double back loop strap locking slide device to provide a self sustaining adjusted length.

In order to utilize the enclosure 12, the coupler portions 65A are disconnected from the coupler portions 65B on the bow (front) side 51A. Coupler portions 65B are then moved forward and connected to the coupler portions 65C on cross bar 25A. The straps 67 may then be adjusted to enlarge the top 54 of the enclosure 12. After use, the coupler portions 65B may be decoupled from coupler portion 65C and reattached to the mating coupler portion 65A allowing the user to refold the enclosure 12 and restow it in the chamber 41 securing it in place by closing the chamber 41 with the closure device 43.

Thus, there has been shown and described several embodiments of a novel invention. As is evident from the foregoing description, certain aspects of the present invention are not limited by the particular details of the examples illustrated herein, and it is therefore contemplated that other modifications and applications, or equivalents thereof, will occur to those skilled in the art. The terms “having” and “including” and similar terms as used in the foregoing specification are used in the sense of “optional” or “may include” and not as “required.” Many changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications of the present construction will, however, become apparent to those skilled in the art after considering the specification and the accompanying drawings. All such changes, modifications, variations and other uses and applications which do not depart from the spirit and scope of the invention are deemed to be covered by the invention which is limited only by the claims which follow.





 
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