Title:
BUOYAGE AND ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING INSTRUMENT FOR USE ON REGATTA COURSES, COMPRISING AN INFLATABLE PNEUMATIC PLATFORM AND A MODULAR MAST WHICH CAN BE FOLDED AND TRANSPORTED IN A REDUCED-SIZE COMPACT PACKING CONTAINER
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an instrument for marking and environmental monitoring in regatta courses. Incorporated by inflatable pneumatic platform and modular mast, foldable and transportable in compact packing of reduced size. It is intended to simultaneously define the area of conducting such nautical trials, at the same time as the environmental conditions thereof are characterized, in both meteorological and oceanographic terms. The system comprises an inflatable pneumatic float (1) and a support structure—mast—(2), which serves to hold the meteorological (3) and oceanographic (6) instrumentation, as well as the group of elements intended for communications (4), electromechanical components (5) and anchorage system (7). The marked modular level and reduced weight thereof, allow handling from craft of reduced cargo-carrying capacity without the help of additional infrastructures, which has a close relationship with the degree of variability in the regatta courses when competitions are under way.



Inventors:
Rueda Lopez, Maria José (Las Palmas, ES)
Llinas Gonzalez, Octavio (Las Palmas, ES)
Barrera Rodriguez, Carlos (Las Palmas, ES)
Villagarcia Ubeda, Maria Guadalupe (Las Palmas, ES)
Perez Marrero, Javier (Las Palmas, ES)
Cianca Aguilar, Andres (Las Palmas, ES)
Godoy Delgado, Juana Maria (Las Palmas, ES)
Maroto Goikoetxea, Leire (Las Palmas, ES)
Cardona Diaz, Laura (Las Palmas, ES)
Gonzalez Roncero, Esther (Las Palmas, ES)
Application Number:
11/814948
Publication Date:
12/24/2009
Filing Date:
01/27/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
441/30
International Classes:
B63B22/24; B63B22/16; B63B22/22
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
SWINEHART, EDWIN L
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DANN, DORFMAN, HERRELL & SKILLMAN (PHILADELPHIA, PA, US)
Claims:
1. Instrument for marking and monitoring of environmental parameters with foldable mast of several modules perpendicular to the surface of the ocean, with a communications device with a radiofrequency transmitter and/or a transmitter via satellite, also holding the different measurement and communication devices, and inflatable pneumatic-plastic platform, of variable dimensions, both foldable and transportable in compact packing of reduced size characterized in that said mast is perpendicular to the surface of the ocean, has the same thickness over all the deployed length thereof, and in that said pneumatic platform is attached to the mast approximately in the center of the length thereof.

2. The instrument of claim 1, characterized in that it incorporates meteorological and oceanographic instrumentation, as well as the group of devices intended for communications and other electromechanical components required, such as a stand-alone power supply system.

3. The instrument of claim 1, characterized in that it incorporates in the mast support structure a power supply system through batteries and/or accumulators, the energy frequency of which is of an alternative and ecological nature (photovoltaic cells and/or wind turbine).

4. The instrument of claim 1, characterized in that it incorporates on the upper and lower extremities of the mast structure support (2) an easily mounted protective system for the meteorological (3) and oceanographic (6) instrumentation, usable during the transport thereof.

5. The instrument of claim 1, characterized in that it defines the area of conducting nautical trials, at the same time as the environmental conditions thereof are characterized in real time and in continuous mode, in both meteorological and oceanographic terms.

Description:

SECTOR OF THE ART

The present invention is framed in a parallel fashion within two technical sectors of the marine environment: on one hand, the marine buoys or marks employed in regatta courses of competitive sailing, and on the other, the monitoring of environmental parameters in real time with direct application, in this case, and without intending to be restrictive in the scope thereof, to the sport of competitive sailing.

STATE OF THE ART

The advances in technology that our society experiences on a daily basis, are reflected particularly in the sport sector. This occurrence means that the practice of most sports is benefiting from the multidisciplinary nature of technology found on the market at the present time. Within this section, competitive sailing is in no way an exception.

All the disciplines in competitive sailing are undertaken in a similar geographical framework, under determined environmental conditions. That is, all have the need of a buoyed regatta course, the dimensions of which have to be in agreement with the discipline or modality pursued and, also, there is a need to know in the fullest measure possible the environmental parameters that condition these sporting events (mainly, wind direction and strength and surface current of the sea).

The delimitation or marking of these regatta courses, has to be carried out with floating platforms or buoys, of certain constructional characteristics (material, color, dimensions, location regarding the bottom, etc.), although there is no specific legislation existing at present to such effect. It is only necessary to take into account the generic legislation as regards anchorage restrictions in certain areas (the environs of harbor areas, areas with heavy marine traffic, naval maneuvers, marine reserves, etc.), generic regulations on marine signaling as well as the particular opinion of the marine master of the area in question.

To date, the document considered pertinent is U.S. Pat. No. 3,828,380 which discloses a floating instrument for the study of oceanic environmental conditions. It has an elongated spar (like the present invention), but said spar is thicker and heavier in the bottom part, besides having a platform on the upper part where the antenna is located. In our case, the spar is also foldable, but unlike the former, it maintains the same diameter over all its length. The most important difference between the two lies in the means of flotation for the spar. In the document U.S. Pat. No. 3,828,380 the means of floatation is annular and is secured to the spar by means of some flexible wires and over the center of gravity of the same. This signifies that the spar has freedom of movement within some limits, moving above and below the means of floatation. In our case, the float is attached to the spar, reducing the movement of the antenna due to currents and waves, and thereby avoiding in a greater measure that this can be drenched.

It is also worthwhile to mention the document U.S. Pat. No. 5,132,699 which discloses a system for transmitting the oceanic environmental conditions by radiofrequency. Here also it differs in the form of the spar, because although it is true that both have the means of communication therein, the latter is conical in shape, the upper parts being inserted in the lower. Also, this spar is made of an electrical conductor. The operation of this device is much more complicated, because it needs a pressurized gas for the inflation of the floatation element and for the deployment of the spar. On the other hand, in the present invention an energy source can be used of an ecological or alternative nature for feeding the batteries and/or accumulators.

The present invention seeks to integrate the marking and delimitation of the course with the continuous monitoring in real time of the environmental parameters of interest and conditions for the optimum development of competitions in any one of the presently existing sailing classes.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to an instrument incorporated by an inflatable pneumatic platform and modular mast, foldable and transportable in a compact package of reduced size and easy to handle, intended for the marking and monitoring of environmental parameters in real time of regatta courses in competitive sailing. It is sought simultaneously to define the area of undertaking such nautical trials, at the same time as their environmental conditions are characterized, in real time and in continuous mode, in meteorological and oceanographic terms.

Attention is specially drawn to the highly modular character and the reduced weight of the system as a whole, which simplifies the transportation thereof using a compact packing system (for example, suitcase type) of reduced size.

This simplicity in its handling extends to the mounting and emplacement of the instrument in the marine environment, it being possible in this case, to carry out quickly a modification in the delimitation of the regatta course.

This aspect is of great importance, due to the high degree of variability that these areas suffer during the undertaking of the trials as a consequence of a sudden variation in environmental conditions (mainly those referring to the wind).

The system comprises two differentiated units. Namely, an inflatable pneumatic float (1) and a support structure—mast—(2), the latter serving to hold the meteorological (3) and oceanographic (6) instrumentation, as well as the group of elements intended for communications (4), electromechanical components (6), and securing system (7) to the anchoring train.

The floatation element (1), manufactured in pneumatic or plastic material, has the particular characteristic of being inflatable or deflatable as required. Its basic functions are to: give the necessary buoyancy to the system as a whole and moreover, allow the extremities that define the designated area to be viewed. This floatation element (1), the physical characteristics of which are defined by the standards that regulate the type of sport activity in question (size, heat, etc.), is located approximately in the center of the longitudinal plane of the system as a whole. The reason for said location responds to the needs imposed by the same regarding equilibrium and buoyancy.

The floatation element (1) is crossed lengthwise in the plane perpendicular to that formed between this and the surface of the sea, by a support structure—mast—(2) which serves to hold the meteorological (3) and oceanographic (6) instrumentation as well as the group of elements intended for communications (4) and other electromechanical components (5).

The dimensions of the support structure—mast—(2) are variable, depending upon the type of measurement instrumentation to be mounted thereon. It is constituted by several pieces, each one of which is intended to hold a certain element or electronic component, thereby offering a higher degree of modularity and simplicity for both the assembly and the transportation. As for the arrangement of elements on this mast, on the emerged extremity thereof, will be the meteorological instrumentation (3), the oceanographic instrumentation (6) being located either in the vicinity of its submerged extremity or in the lower part of the floatation element (1).

The nature both of the meteorological (3) and the oceanographic (6) instrumentation is variable, although in whatever case, it responds at all times to the international standards proposed by the competent organizations, as regards environmental monitoring.

The communications system (4) is housed along the inside of the support structure—mast—(2), with the exception of the antenna element, which shares the emplacement of the meteorological instrumentation (3). The communication system between the measurement platform and land is implemented through a radiofrequency transmitter device and/or a transmitter device via satellite.

The power supply source that this measurement and marking system incorporates, is constituted by batteries and/or accumulators, which have the additional option of being fed through an alternative and ecological energy source, such as photovoltaic cells and/or wind turbines.

All the devices or elements that comprise the system, have a level of watertightness corresponding to IP68, which guarantees protection in greater measure from the adverse environmental conditions habitually encountered in maritime surroundings.

Given the modular character the system offers, the adaptation is made possible for other devices in the event of this being necessary, such as of night and day signaling elements, complying in this way with the regulations in force regarding marine signaling.

DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES

FIG. 1 corresponds to a view of the invention in elevation, a longitudinal section being observed of the same.

In said FIG. 1 it is possible to observe the entirety of the elements that form the Instrument, namely, the floatation element (1), which is crossed lengthwise in the vertical plane, by a support structure—mast—(2) which serves to hold the meteorological (3) and oceanographic (6) Instrumentation, as well as the group of elements dedicated to communications (4) and other electromechanical components (5).

In turn, FIG. 1 shows the segmentation or modularity of the support structure—mast—(2) and of the floatation element (1). The upper and lower module of the support structure—mast—(2) have an accessory element for protection, which increases the safety of the meteorological (3) and oceanographic (4) Instrumentation during the transportation of the instrument as a whole by means of the aforementioned packing system.

In the same FIG. 1 it is possible to observe the presence of a securing element (7), located at the lower end of the mast (2), intended for securing the instrument to the pertinent anchor train.

FIG. 2 corresponds to a view of the invention in elevation, according to claim 10, easily mounted protective elements being observed on both ends of the support structure—mast—(2), intended, preferably, for the transport of the Instrument.

MODE OF EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is explained by means of the following embodiment, although this is not intended to restrict the scope thereof.

In the light of the elements already described that form the present invention, a method of assembling and operating the same as a whole could be described in the following manner:

In the first place, it is necessary to consider the support structure mast (2) divided into several modules (variable in number, although 4 are considered to illustrate this example), which, for a better understanding, will be termed: high module—it contains the meteorological instrumentation (3) and communications antenna (4), —intermediate module—communications systems (4) and electromechanical components (5), flotation module—floatation element (1) and electromechanical components (5)—and interior module for oceanographic instrumentation (6) and electromechanical components all of them matching each other in a certain sequence.

The starting point taken will be the flotation module, on which the assembly of the remaining modules will be carried out, so that the incorporation of these is as simple as possible for the user.

For this reason, the following module to assemble has to be the flotation module. Having connected the oceanographic instrumentation to the central processing device of the system and closed the connection between both modules. The assembling continues with the high module, which has to be fitted to the intermediate module through the upper end of the latter. With this, it is managed to connect the group of meteorological sensors and communication devices (antenna) to the flotation module, where habitually the electronic devices are housed intended for the management and optimum operation of the system as a whole. To conclude, within this section, will be the Intermediate module that will be assembled to the flotation module to leave the system completely mounted.

Having assembled the four modules described, the platform will be conveyed to the definitive anchorage. At this point, the inflation of the floatation element will take place, in the event of this not having been performed before embarking the platform in the vessel employed for its transfer to the selected anchorage point. In both cases, an external source of pressurized air will be required for inflating the floatation element.

Finally, the platform will be secured to the selected anchorage train by means of a fastening system (7) located at the lower end of the mast, being mounted in the corresponding position thereof.

INDUSTRIAL APPLICATION

The present invention relates to an Instrument with application both in the sport of sailing and in the monitoring in real time of environmental parameters in the marine environment.

To such an end, a number of examples of industrial applications are illustrated, which do not intend to be restrictive in the scope thereof.

Thus, the relevance is specified that the invention signifies in the sporting sector of competitive sailing, in the full gamut of categories therein, allowing the continuous knowledge of the conditions in real time that regulate the regatta courses, at the same time as it defines the area designated for the holding of such events.

In parallel, the competent Institutions and organizations in this matter, could take the present invention into consideration, as an indispensable element by way of Infrastructure necessary for carrying out the holding of these sporting events in optimum conditions. Thus, we understand that given the number of Institutions and organizations in this environment, as well as the continuous upsurge that the sport of sailing is experiencing worldwide, the present invention offers an important line of industrial application.





 
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