Title:
Assembly Comprising A Non-Submersible Floating Structure And A Device For Attachment To The Sea Bottom, And Corresponding Mooring Process
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The inventive arrangement comprises a triangular floating unsinkable structure (3) and a coupling device (7) which is positioned between said floating structure (3) and a sea bottom and embodied in the form of a pivot in such a way that it enables the floating structure (3) to be automatically and freely positioned according to the combination of sea winds and currents. The invention can be used for mooring boats.



Inventors:
Gore, Xavier (Boissy Saint Leger, FR)
Abitbol, Michael (Montmorency, FR)
Application Number:
11/597977
Publication Date:
11/13/2008
Filing Date:
06/19/2006
Assignee:
Abitbol, Michaël (Montmorency, FR)
Gore, Xavier (Boissy Saint Leger, FR)
Abitbol, Jérémy (Neuilly Sur Seine, FR)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B22/02
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Primary Examiner:
VASUDEVA, AJAY
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Davidson, Davidson & Kappel, LLC (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
1. 1-16. (canceled)

17. An assembly comprising; a non-submersible floating structure capable of simultaneously mooring at least two vessels; and a coupling device between the floating structure and a bed of a body of water, the coupling device including a pivot so that the floating structure is capable of position itself freely and automatically according to a combination of winds and water currents to limit forces on the floating structure due to the winds and water currents.

18. The assembly according to claim 17 wherein the floating structure includes a corner, the floating structure automatically pivoting so that the corner is positioned facing a resultant force of the forces exerted by the winds and water currents on the floating structure.

19. The assembly according to claim 18 wherein the floating structure has a triangular shape.

20. The assembly according to claim 19 wherein the floating structure has three sides and three corners, each of the at least two vessels being moored lengthwise along a length of a respective side.

21. The assembly according to claim 17 wherein the coupling device includes a base connectable to the floating structure and an arm connectable to the bed, the arm being received in the base.

22. The assembly according to claim 21 wherein one extremity of the arm includes a universal joint bearing on the base.

23. The assembly according to claim 21 wherein the coupling device includes a piece inserted between the universal joint and the base, the piece being made of a friction-limiting material.

24. The assembly according to claim 21 wherein the base includes at least two points of connection to the floating structure.

25. The assembly according to claim 24 wherein the base has a polygonal shape including several corners, the connecting points being each provided at one corner of the corners of the base.

26. The assembly according to claim 25 wherein the base has a triangular shape.

27. The assembly according to claim 17 wherein the floating structure has sides formed of tubular floats.

28. The assembly according to claim 27 wherein the floats are made of aluminium.

29. The assembly according to claim 27 wherein the floating structure defines an equilateral triangle.

30. The assembly according to claim 17 including a connector attaching the floating structure to at least one other floating structure through corners or sides.

31. The assembly according to claim 30 wherein the connector includes plates designed to be fixed in the corners of the floating structure and at least one of the other floating structures.

32. The assembly according to claim 30 further comprising the at least one other floating structure, the floating structure and the at least one other floating structure being assembled together using the connector.

33. The assembly according to claim 17 wherein the floating structure is connected to the bed and at least one boat is moored to the floating structure.

34. The assembly according to claim 33 wherein the at least one boat has a single point mooring to one side of the floating structure.

35. The assembly according to claim 34 wherein two vessels are moored to the floating structure, each vessel being moored lengthwise along a length of a respective side of the floating structure.

36. The assembly according to claim 17 wherein the bed is a sea bed and wherein the water currents are sea currents.

37. The assembly as recited in claim 17 further comprising a chain or cable connecting the pivot to the bed.

38. The assembly as recited in claim 37 further comprising a further chain or cable connecting the floating structure to the pivot.

39. The assembly as recited in claim 17 further comprising a chain or cable connecting the floating structure to the pivot.

40. The assembly as recited in claim 17 wherein the floating structure has a yaw-reducing shape.

41. The assembly as recited in claim 17 wherein the floating structure has a variable geometric shape.

42. A method for mooring at least one boat to the floating structure of the assembly recited in claim 17 comprising mooring the boat via a single point mooring to one side of the floating structure.

Description:

This invention relates to an assembly comprising a non-submersible floating structure.

The invention applies in particular to the mooring of boats or vessels of any kind.

Conventionally boats are moored in harbours or to mooring buoys, also known as “moorings”, which only offer one berth per buoy.

However, the number of berths offered in this way is insufficient.

Thus in France the number of registered pleasure vessels is 841,000, while the number of berths in harbours is 165,000 and there are only 60,000 mooring buoys.

To prevent congestion in harbours it is also possible for boats to be parked on land. However this solution, sometimes known as hauling out, also offers an insufficient number of places, and is also costly and not very practical to implement.

In fact boats have to be launched for each outing using a slipway, for the use of which there is a charge.

Furthermore, during the summer, slipways are frequently cluttered.

One object of this invention is to overcome this problem by allowing a larger number of boats to berth simply and at lower cost.

For this purpose the invention relates to an assembly according to claim 1.

In accordance with particular embodiments, the assembly may comprise one or more of the features in claims 2 to 15 taken in isolation or in all technically possible combinations.

The invention also relates to a process of mooring according to claim 16.

Other advantages and characteristics of the present invention will become clear from the following detailed description which is given with reference to the appended drawings which are provided purely by way of non-limiting example and in which:

FIG. 1 is a diagrammatical view from above of an assembly according to the invention to which boats have been moored,

FIG. 2 is a diagrammatical view in cross-section of the coupling device for the assembly in FIG. 1,

FIG. 3 is a diagrammatical view from above illustrating the base of the coupling device in FIG. 2,

FIG. 4 is a diagrammatical perspective view illustrating a first variant embodiment of a floating structure for the assembly in FIG. 1,

FIG. 5 is a diagrammatical view from above illustrating a second embodiment of a floating structure for the assembly in FIG. 1,

FIGS. 6 and 7 are views from above and from the front of a float used to construct the floating structure in FIG. 5,

FIG. 8 is a diagrammatical view from above illustrating the assembly of several floating structures according to FIG. 4,

FIG. 9 is a diagrammatical perspective view detailing the assembly at the corners of two floating structures according to FIG. 8,

FIG. 10 is a diagrammatical perspective view illustrating two floats of a floating structure according to FIG. 5 and a plate for attachment to a similar floating structure, and

FIG. 11 is a diagrammatical perspective view of the coupling device in FIG. 2 fitted with rings connecting to chains or cables.

FIG. 1 illustrates an assembly 1 comprising a non-submersible floating structure 3, or float or module, automatically positioning itself to provide minimum resistance to the combination of winds and sea currents, to which several boats 5 are moored.

Freedom in the positioning of floating structure 3 is imparted by the use of a coupling device 7 between floating structure 3 and the sea bottom in the form of a pivot, also referred to as a “swivel”.

Assembly 1 therefore comprises floating structure 3 and coupling device 7.

Floating structure 3 is of triangular shape and thus comprises three sides 9 and three corners 11. In the example illustrated, structure 3 is in the shape of an equilateral triangle.

As illustrated in FIG. 2, coupling device 7 comprises a base 13 connected to the floating structure, and an arm 15 connected to the sea bottom.

Arm 15 is rotatably received in base 13 so that it can pivot freely with respect to base 13 about its axis. Arm 15 is provided at its top extremity with a universal joint 17 bearing on base 13. A ring 19 is placed between universal joint 17 and base 13.

Preferably this ring 19 is manufactured from a material which reduces friction, for example Delrin (registered trade mark).

As illustrated in FIG. 3, in the embodiment illustrated base 13 has a triangular shape and has a point of connection 23 to floating structure 3, for example in the form of a hole, at each of its corners 21.

The connection between base 13 and floating structure 3 may for example be provided by means of chains or cables 123. In this case each hole 23 may be used to secure a ring or shackle 24 receiving one end of a chain or cable 123 (FIG. 11).

Likewise arm 15 may be connected to the sea bottom through a chain or cable 125 to a ring 25 (FIG. 11) borne on the lower extremity of arm 15.

Through coupling device 7 floating structure 3 can pivot freely in relation to the sea bottom about a substantially vertical axis A shown in FIG. 1.

Because of the triangular shape of floating structure 3 it will automatically position itself so as to limit the forces acting upon it due to the wind and currents. Thus floating structure 3 will pivot automatically so that one of its corners 11 faces the resultant of the forces exerted by sea currents and winds, this resultant being illustrated by arrow R in FIG. 1.

In addition to this, as illustrated in FIG. 1, floating structure 3 can be used to moor a large number of boats 5.

In the example illustrated, two boats 5 are each moored along a respective side 9, while two other boats 5 are moored to the last side 9 (at the bottom in FIG. 1) through single point moorings.

By single point moorings, as opposed to the term alongside mooring, is here meant a mooring in which boat 5 is moored by its bow to corresponding side 9, and does not lie substantially parallel thereto.

The number of boats 5 moored to structure 3 may also be less than that in the example in FIG. 1. Thus, again by way of example, a single boat 5 may be moored along one side and/or a single boat may have a single point mooring to a side 9 rather than two as illustrated in FIG. 1.

Assembly 1 therefore makes it possible to increase the number of berths for boats or vessels.

In addition to this the cost of such an assembly 1 is low and it may be installed at very low cost by replacing an existing mooring buoy. All that is necessary is to anchor assembly 1 at the same point as that previously used by the mooring buoy.

Furthermore, because of its triangular shape, structure 3 is extremely stable with very high buoyancy, very little yaw and very good resistance to waves to the extent that such a structure 3 may be used for applications other than the mooring of boats, as will be described at the end of the description.

The freedom of structure 3 to pivot also helps to increase the stability of assembly 1, because forces acting on structure 3 will be minimised for the reasons described above. Risks of damage to moored boats 5 will therefore be reduced.

Furthermore it will be noted that coupling device 7 makes it possible to reduce the risk of fouling the cables or chains connecting it to floating structure 3.

Furthermore, the turning circle of assembly 1 is of small size.

Structure 3 may be made of miscellaneous and various materials such as for example wood, metal, plastics and composite materials.

As illustrated in FIG. 4, floating structure 3 may be constructed on the basis of triangular blocks 26. In the example in FIG. 4, floating structure 3 therefore comprises four blocks 26.

Structure 3 may also be constructed in other ways. Thus, and as illustrated by way of example in FIG. 5, structure 3 may comprise tubular floats 27 forming sides 9 of the triangle.

The structure of such a float 27 is illustrated in FIG. 6. It takes the form of a tube made of aluminium, for example by rolling and welding a sheet. Partitions 29 may be placed within float 27 to form watertight chambers 31. The extremities of float 27 terminate in plates 33 for attachment to adjacent floats 27, for example by bolting. It will be noted that these plates 33 are inclined by approximately 30° with respect to the longitudinal axis of float 27.

In general, whatever variant is used, fenders or fender buoys 34 may be provided at the sides 9 and/or corners 11 (FIG. 5) of floating structure 3.

Returning to FIG. 5, it will be seen that floating structure 3 is provided with a triangular deck 35, only part of which has been shown. This deck may be supported by struts 36 connecting floats 27 together.

In general, structure 3 may be provided with a deck 35, whether constructed in accordance with FIG. 4 or 5, or in accordance with any other variant. This deck 35 may extend over the main part of floating structure 3.

Several floating structures 3 may be assembled together through their sides 9 or corners 11 to form floating areas of variable size and geometrical shape.

This is illustrated for example in FIG. 8, where structures 3 are structures similar to those in FIG. 4.

As illustrated in FIG. 9, this assembly may be brought about through fixing plates 37 which engage in slots 39 in adjacent corners 11 and are held there for example by means of bolts 41.

Several floating structures 3 according to the embodiment in FIG. 5 may be assembled together as illustrated in FIG. 10 using fixing plates 37 which have two leaves 39 each of which is of a shape similar to that of a plate 33, leaves 39 being inclined by an angle of approximately 60° with respect to each other. Each of leaves 39 is then designed to be inserted between plates 33 of floats 27 joining a structure 3 at the same angle 11. By bolting plates 33 together leaf 39 can be rigidly fixed to corresponding corners 11 of two adjacent floating structures 3.

Other embodiments of floating structures 3 may be envisaged.

In addition to or instead of being used for the mooring of boats the floating structures described above may be used as floating safety structures for leisure activities and nautical sports, or for the safety of beaches affected by large tides, such as in the Bay of Mont Saint Michel, by forming refuges. They also may be used for:

acting as stands or bases for leisure activities and nautical sports,

use as advertising space,

marking off areas,

forming floating barrages,

providing boats with various services, fuel, fresh water and recovery of waste water, access to communication means,

the construction of private, public or commercial accommodation,

the organisation of events and shows,

acting as a base for scientific or military research,

the construction of an airport or heliport platform, and

industries producing in aquatic environments.

It will be noted that structure 3 and coupling device 7 may be sold separately and not necessarily as part of the same assembly.





 
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