Title:
FOLDING BOAT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A folding boat can comprise a forward hull portion provided by a first molded plastic shell, an aft hull portion provided by a second molded plastic shell, a sprayskirt detachably attached to the forward hull portion, and a waterproof joint detachably attached to the cockpit end of the forward hull portion cockpit and to the cockpit end of the aft hull portion. The boat can be in an assembled state or in a folded state.



Inventors:
Malone, Matthew (Rockville Centre, NY, US)
Tuttle, Graham (Syracuse, NY, US)
Application Number:
12/183717
Publication Date:
02/04/2010
Filing Date:
07/31/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/153
International Classes:
B63B7/04; A45F3/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
OLSON, LARS A
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MARJAMA MULDOON BLASIAK & SULLIVAN LLP (SYRACUSE, NY, US)
Claims:
1. A folding boat comprising: a forward hull portion provided by a first molded plastic shell, said forward hull portion including a bow end, a forward hull portion cockpit end, a forward hull portion internal surface, and a forward hull portion external surface; an aft hull portion provided by a second molded plastic shell, said aft hull portion including an aft hull portion cockpit end, a stern end, an aft hull portion internal surface, and an aft hull portion external surface; a sprayskirt detachably attached to said forward hull portion; and a waterproof joint detachably attached to at least one of: said forward hull portion cockpit end and said aft hull portion cockpit end; wherein said boat is configured to be in one of: an assembled state, a folded state.

2. The folding boat of claim 1, wherein said boat is a kayak.

3. The folding boat of claim 1, wherein said waterproof joint is provided by a strip having an H-shaped cross-section.

4. The folding boat of claim 1, wherein said waterproof joint is provided by a strip made of a polymer plastic material.

5. The folding boat of claim 1, wherein said waterproof joint is configured to be secured to said forward hull portion and to said aft hull portion by at least one compression buckle when said boat is in said assembled state.

6. The folding boat of claim 1, wherein when said boat is in said folded state, said aft hull portion is configured to be inserted into said forward hull portion so that said aft hull portion external surface is facing said forward hull portion internal surface.

7. The folding boat of claim 1, further comprising a backpack frame insert including a set of backpack straps, said backpack frame insert attached to said aft hull portion internal surface.

8. The folding boat of claim 1, further comprising: a backpack frame insert including a set of backpack straps, said backpack frame insert attached to said aft hull portion internal surface; and a storage compartment occupying a space defined by said aft hull portion internal surface and said backpack frame insert.

9. The folding boat of claim 8, wherein said storage compartment is waterproof.

10. The folding boat of claim 1, wherein said forward hull portion includes a forward hull portion gunnel; wherein said aft hull portion includes an aft hull portion gunnel; and wherein said forward hull portion gunnel is detachably attached to said aft hull portion gunnel.

11. A method of transforming a boat into a backpack form factor, said boat comprising a forward hull portion including a bow end and a forward hull portion cockpit end, an aft hull portion including an aft hull portion cockpit end and a stern end, a sprayskirt detachably attached to said forward hull portion, and a waterproof joint detachably attached to at least one of: said forward hull portion cockpit end and said aft hull portion cockpit end, said method comprising the steps of: detaching at least one of: said forward hull portion, said aft hull portion from said waterproof joint; detaching said sprayskirt from said forward hull portion; and inserting said aft hull portion into said forward hull portion so that an external surface of said aft hull portion is facing an internal surface of said forward hull portion.

12. The method of claim 11, wherein said boat is a kayak.

13. The method of claim 11, wherein said waterproof joint is configured to be secured to said forward hull portion and said aft hull portion by at least one compression buckle, and wherein said method further comprises a step of opening said at least one compression buckle preceding the step of detaching at least one of: said forward hull portion, said aft hull portion from said waterproof joint.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is generally related to boats, and is particularly related to a folding boat designed for easy handling and transportation.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

White water boats of sport and recreational type (such as kayaks) enjoy considerable popularity that to some extent, can be hindered by difficulties in storage and transportation of the boats, which due to their length are not easily portable, nor can they be stored in a limited space environment (e.g., in a city apartment).

Therefore, a need exists to provide a boat which can be transformed to a form factor allowing easy handling and transportation (e.g., can be carried by the user or transported in a passenger type motor vehicle), and which can be readily assembled for the intended use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In one embodiment, there is provided a folding boat comprising: a forward hull portion, an aft hull portion, a sprayskirt detachably attached to the forward hull portion, and a waterproof joint detachably attached to the cockpit end of the forward hull portion and/or to the cockpit end of the aft hull portion.

In one aspect, the forward hull portion and the aft hull portion can be provided by molded plastic shells.

In another aspect, the boat can be in an assembled state or in a folded state.

In a further aspect, the boat can be a kayak.

In a further aspect, the waterproof joint can be provided by a polymer plastic strip having an H-shaped cross-section.

In a further aspect, when the boat is in the assembled state, the waterproof joint can be secured to the forward hull portion and to the aft hull portion by at least one compression buckle.

In a further aspect, when the boat is in the folded state, the aft hull portion can be inserted in the forward hull portion so that the external surface of the aft hull portion is facing the internal surface of the forward hull portion.

In a further aspect, the boat can further comprise a backpack frame insert including a set of backpack straps. The backpack frame insert can be permanently or detachably attached to the internal surface of the aft hull portion.

In a further aspect, the boat can further comprise a storage compartment occupying a space defined by the internal surface of the aft hull portion and the backpack frame insert. In a further aspect, the storage compartment can be waterproof.

In a further aspect, the forward hull portion and the aft hull portion can include left and right gunnels which can be detachably attached to each other.

In another embodiment, there is provided a method of transforming a boat into a backpack form factor. The boat can comprise a forward hull portion, an aft hull portion, a sprayskirt detachably attached to the forward hull portion, and a waterproof joint detachably attached to the cockpit end of the forward hull portion cockpit and/or to the cockpit end of the aft hull portion. The method can comprise the steps of: detaching the forward hull portion or the aft hull portion from the waterproof joint; detaching the sprayskirt from the forward hull portion; and inserting the aft hull portion into the forward hull portion so that the external surface of the aft hull portion is facing the internal surface of the forward hull portion.

In one aspect, the boat can be a kayak.

In another aspect, the waterproof joint can be secured to the forward hull portion and the aft hull portion by at least one compression buckle. The method can further comprise a step of opening the compression buckle preceding the step of detaching the forward hull portion or the aft hull portion from the waterproof joint.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

For the purpose of illustrating the invention, the drawings show aspects of one or more embodiments of the invention. However, it should be understood that the present invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown in the drawings, wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates one embodiment of the folding boat according to the invention;

FIGS. 2a-2b illustrate one embodiment of a waterproof joint configured to be detachably attached to the forward hull portion and the aft hull portion of the boat according to the invention;

FIGS. 3a and 3b illustrate one embodiment of a compression buckle configured to secure the waterproof joint to the forward hull portion and to the aft hull portion of the boat according to the invention;

FIG. 4 illustrates one embodiment of a joint connecting two left gunnels or two right gunnels of the boat according to the invention;

FIGS. 5a-5c illustrate one embodiment of a foldable spray skirt according to the invention;

FIG. 6 illustrates one embodiment of a backpack frame insert configured to be insertable in the aft hull portion of the boat according to the invention;

FIGS. 7a-7c illustrate the steps of one embodiment of the process of transforming a boat into a backpack form factor according to the invention.

The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead generally being placed upon illustrating the principles of the invention. In the drawings, like numerals are used to indicate like parts throughout the various views.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

There is provided a boat 100 which in one aspect is designed to be foldable in order to facilitate the handling, transportation, and storage of the boat. In one aspect, the boat can be provided by a white water boat of a sport or recreational type, e.g., a kayak. In another aspect, the folding boat can be easily transformed into a backpack form factor.

The folding boat 100 according to the invention can comprise a forward hull portion 110, an aft hull portion 120, and a waterproof joint 130, as shown in FIG. 1. In one embodiment, each of the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120 can be provided by a molded plastic shell having respective internal and external surfaces. A skilled artisan would appreciate the fact that other materials, as well as other manufacturing techniques can be suitable for providing the forward hull portion and the aft hull portion, and thus are within the scope and the spirit of the present invention.

The folding boat 100 can further comprise a waterproof joint 130. In one embodiment, one side of the waterproof joint 130 can be permanently attached (e.g., by means of an adhesive, over-molding, plastic welding, or mechanical attachment) to the cockpit end 122 of the aft hull portion 120, while the other side the waterproof joint 130 can be detachably attached to the cockpit end 112 of the forward hull portion 110. In another embodiment, one side of the waterproof joint 130 can be permanently attached to the cockpit end 112 of the forward hull portion 110, while the other side the waterproof joint 130 can be detachably attached to the cockpit end 122 of the aft hull portion 120. In a yet another embodiment, one side of the waterproof joint 130 can be detachably attached to the cockpit end 112 of the forward hull portion 110, while the other side of the waterproof joint 130 can be detachably attached to the cockpit end 122 of the aft hull portion 120.

In one aspect, the waterproof joint 130 can have an H-shaped cross-section, as shown in FIG. 2a. The H-shaped cross-section can facilitate attaching the waterproof joint 130 to the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120. The width of the grooves 132, 134 can be slightly less than the thickness of the walls of the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120, so that the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120 can be frictionally engaged within the respective grooves of the waterproof joint 130, as shown in FIG. 2b. A skilled artisan would appreciate the fact that other cross-sections of the waterproof joint 130 providing for reliable attachment of the waterproof joint to the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120 are within the scope and the spirit of the invention.

In another aspect, the waterproof joint 130 can be fabricated from a polymer plastic material designed to facilitate the frictional engagement of the waterproof joint 130 with the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120. A skilled artisan would appreciate that using other elastic materials for manufacturing the waterproof joint 130 is within the scope and the spirit of the invention.

In another aspect, the boat 100 can be in an assembled state or in a folded state. In one embodiment, when the boat 100 is in the assembled state, the waterproof joint 130 can be secured to the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120 by a compression buckle 150, as shown in FIG. 1. In one embodiment, at least two compression buckles can be provided, placed symmetrically on the left and right sides of the boat. In one embodiment, the compression buckle 150 can be provided by a draw latch model 1889A43, 1889A22, 1889A37, 1590A23, or 1863A18 available from McMaster-Carr Supply Company of Cleveland, Ohio.

In one embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 3a and 3b, the compression buckle 150 can include a pivotal lever 310 configured to hold the rod 320 in an engaged position when the lever 310 is in the lower position shown in FIG. 3b, or to release rod 320 when the lever 310 is in the upper position. One end of the rod 320 can be engaged with one of the teeth of the elongated bar 330. The elongated bars 330 and 340 can be attached to the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120, so that when the compression buckle is in the closed state (with the lever 310 in the lower position as shown in FIG. 3b), the waterproof joint is compressed between the forward hull portion 110 and the aft hull portion 120, as shown in FIG. 1. A skilled artisan would appreciate the fact that other types of the compression buckle are within the scope and the spirit of the invention.

In one embodiment, the forward hull portion 110 can include a left gunnel 182a and a right gunnel 182b as shown in FIG. 1. The aft hull portion 120 can include a left gunnel 184a and a right gunnel 184b. Each of the gunnels can be provided by a beam designed to strengthen the hull structure. In one embodiment, the gunnels can be manufactured separately (e.g., from a polymer plastic material) and then can be attached to the upper edge of the forward hull portion 110 or the aft hull portion 120. In another embodiment, the gunnels can be integral parts of the forward hull portion 110 or the aft hull portion 120, or in other words, each hull portion mold can include left and right gunnel parts. In another aspect, the left and the right gunnels of the forward and aft hull portions can be detachably attached one to another, by providing the two left gunnels and the two right gunnels with cooperatively engageable ends, e.g., shaped as mortise and tenon joints 402 as shown in FIG. 4. A skilled artisan would appreciate the fact that other types of joints are within the scope and the spirit of the invention.

The folding boat 100 can further include a sprayskirt 140. The sprayskirt 140 can be designed to prevent water from entering the inside of the boat. In one aspect, the sprayskirt 140 can be provided by a sheet made from a waterproof material (e.g., neoprene). In another aspect, the sprayskirt 140 can include a flexible strip 142, best viewed in FIG. 5a, designed to control the shape of the sprayskirt. In a further aspect, the sprayskirt can be foldable for facilitating its storage, as shown by the arrows 502 in FIG. 5b. In one embodiment, the sprayskirt 140 can include a zipper 144 designed to facilitate folding the sprayskirt. In a further aspect, the sprayskirt 140 can be rolled and folded to minimize its size for storage, as illustrated by the steps 144a-144c of FIG. 5c.

The folding boat 100 can further include a backpack frame insert 160, best viewed in FIG. 6. The backpack frame insert 160 can include a set of backpack straps 165. The backpack frame insert 160 can be permanently or detachably attached to the internal surface of the aft hull portion 120.

In one embodiment, the space 168 defined by the internal surface of the aft hull portion 120 and the backpack frame insert 160 can be used as a storage compartment, e.g., for storing sports gear, equipment, or other goods which can be stored and accessed when the boat is in either the assembled state or the folded state. In one embodiment, the storage compartment occupying the space 168 can be waterproof.

When the boat 100 is in the assembled state, the backpack frame insert 160 can be covered by a waterproof cover 170, best viewed in FIG. 1.

To transform an assembled boat into the folded state, the user can open the compression buckle 150 and then detach the forward hull portion 110 or the aft hull portion 120 from the engagement with the waterproof joint 130, as shown in FIG. 7a. Then, the user can remove the sprayskirt 140 from the forward hull portion 110, and insert the aft hull portion 120 into the empty forward hull portion 110, so that the external surface of the aft hull portion 120 is facing the internal surface of the forward hull portion 110, and the bow end 114 of the forward hull portion 110 is facing the stern end 124 of the aft hull portion 120, as shown in FIG. 7b. The sprayskirt 140 can be rolled and folded for storage and transportation, as described herein supra. Then, the user can remove the waterproof cover 170 from the aft hull portion 120, to release the backpack straps 165, as shown in FIG. 7b. The boat 100 in the folded state ready to be carried as a backpack is shown in FIG. 7c.

While the present invention has been described with reference to a number of specific embodiments, it will be understood that the true spirit and scope of the invention should be determined only with respect to claims that can be supported by the present specification. Further, while in numerous cases herein systems and apparatuses and methods are described as having a certain number of elements, it will be understood that such systems, apparatuses and methods can be practiced with fewer than the mentioned certain number of elements.