Title:
SMALL BOAT SEA ANCHOR
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A sea anchor that is durable, easy to retrieve, pick up, and store, deploys quickly, is always open, and reduces the chances of the cords fouling is disclosed. The sea anchor is useful in controlling the speed and position of watercraft. In one embodiment, the sea anchor includes a link for securing the anchor to watercraft and a rode attached at one end to the link and at the other end to a connector. The connector is also attached to a multitude of funnel cords which are affixed to a durable rigid funnel. In one embodiment the connector is a hollow conical shape with holes for attachment of the rode and funnel cords. The funnel can have tabs adjacent the mouth of the funnel for the connection of the funnel cords and fins around the stem for orientation of the funnel when in use.



Inventors:
Swan, Richard Lee (Reno, NV, US)
Application Number:
14/657564
Publication Date:
09/17/2015
Filing Date:
03/13/2015
Assignee:
SWAN RICHARD LEE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63B21/48; B63B21/04
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
WIEST, ANTHONY D
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Southeast IP Group, LLC. (GREENVILLE, SC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A sea anchor comprising: a funnel made of a rigid material comprising a mouth, said mouth having a first diameter, a stem, and an opening at the end of the stem, said opening having a second diameter that is smaller than the first; and said funnel having attachment means for attachment to a watercraft.

2. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said attachment means includes a rode.

3. The sea anchor set forth in claim 2, wherein said attachment means includes a connector for affixing said funnel to said rode.

4. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said attachment means includes funnel cords.

5. The sea anchor set forth in claim 2, wherein said attachment means includes a link for affixing said rode to said watercraft.

6. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said sea anchor is attached to said watercraft.

7. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said means for attachment is removable from said watercraft.

8. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said funnel includes tabs protruding inwardly from the edge of said mouth for attachment of funnel cords.

9. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said funnel includes fins protruding outwardly from said stem of said funnel to assist in the alignment of said funnel when deployed in the water.

10. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein said funnel includes at least one through-hole defined by the stem of the funnel for the attachment of a second sea anchor.

11. The sea anchor set forth in claim 10, wherein a second sea anchor is attached to said through-hole.

12. The sea anchor set forth in claim 1, wherein a second sea anchor is attached to said funnel.

13. The sea anchor set forth in claim 2, wherein an additional sea anchor is attached to said rode.

14. A sea anchor comprising: a funnel made of a rigid material comprising a mouth, said mouth having a first diameter, a stem, and an opening at the end of the stem, said opening having a second diameter that is smaller than the first; a plurality of funnel cords, attached to said funnel; a connector, attached to said funnel cords; a rode, attached to said connector; and a link, attached to said rode and to a watercraft.

15. The sea anchor of claim 14, wherein a second sea anchor is attached to said funnel.

16. The sea anchor of claim 14, wherein a second sea anchor is attached to said rode.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/953,406, filed Mar. 14, 2014.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Sea anchors have been used to control boat position and speed of drift in heavy seas for hundreds of years. A variety of modern commercial sea anchors exist including a parachute style canopy made of fabric which is connected by many cords to a single line that is then attached to the bow of a boat. To slow or stop a boat from drifting downwind, the sea anchor is tossed into the water. Once the anchor is in the water, the canopy opens and catches the water and creates resistance, which slows the drift of the boat and positions the bow so that it faces into the wind and waves. This anchoring device has saved many ships and smaller craft from rolling sideways and capsizing in heavy winds and seas.

However, these canopy style anchors suffer from several disadvantages. The canopy style anchors are not easy to deploy, store, pick up, or retrieve. The canopy style anchors are prone to tangling cords, wear and tear, and do not allow for connection of additional canopies.

For the foregoing reasons, there is a need for a sea anchor that can overcome the aforementioned disadvantages. The present invention relates generally to boat anchors, and in particular, to a sea anchor device for controlling the speed and position of watercraft, such as a small boat, kayak, or paddle board, in the wind. More specifically, the present invention is directed to a novel sea anchor, wherein the anchor utilizes a rigid funnel that is durable, allows for connection of additional funnels, reduces the chances of the sea anchor cords fouling, and is easier to retrieve, pick up, and store.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with one aspect of the invention, a sea anchor device may include a link for securing the anchor to watercraft, such as a small boat, kayak, or paddle board, and a cable, or rode, attached to the link and to a connector. The connector is also attached to a multitude of funnel cords which are affixed to a durable rigid funnel. The sea anchor may be used to assist in controlling the speed and position of watercraft with respect to the wind.

According to one aspect, the sea anchor may be affixed to the bow or stern of a small boat, kayak, or paddle board by a link which affixes the rode to the watercraft. The link may be a removable clip, carabineer, knot, or any other suitable means for affixing the rode to the boat. The rode may be affixed at one terminal end to the link and at the opposite terminal end to the connecter, thereby joining the sea anchor to the boat. The rode may be made of materials that provide strength to offset the tensile forces associated with the use of the sea anchor. Additionally, the rode may be elastic to absorb some of the shock load and tensional forces created by use of the sea anchor. The rode may be a rope, chain, cable, or the like. In order to produce desired characteristics, such as strength, durability, and elasticity, the rode may utilize a three strand twisted, double braid, single braid, para-cord, or other suitable construction. Additionally, the rode may be constructed using materials and combinations of materials to provide desired characteristics, such as nylon, metal, or other sufficient materials.

According to another aspect, the connector may attach the funnel to the rode through funnel cords. The connector may be any design desired to secure the rode and the funnel cords. However, in a preferred embodiment, the connector may be a hollow, conical shaped device made of plastic with an opening through the nose of the cone for attaching the rode, and further including, along the base of the cone, a means for attaching the funnel cords. The funnel cords may be four separate cords, each with one end attached to the connector and the other attached to the funnel. Alternatively, the funnel cords may be two bridles, each passing through the holes in the connector and with each end being attached to the funnel. The funnel cords may be made of any material suitable to durably attach the connector and funnel.

According to a further aspect, the funnel component comprises the typical funnel shape whereby the diameter of one end is larger than the diameter of the other end. The larger end is often referred to as a mouth. The smaller end may include a stem-like projection, the stem, forming a traditional funnel structure and an opening in the base of the stem. The shape, dimensions, and volume of the funnel affect the resistance of the sea anchor. The resistance being necessary to slow and align a small boat, kayak, or paddle board. As a result, the shape, dimensions, and volume of the funnel may be different depending upon the desired resistance. The desired resistance may differ base on the size of the boat or board, the depth of the water, and the speed of the wind.

According to another aspect, the funnel is preferably made of a rigid and durable material. A rigid funnel reduces the chance of the cords fouling or tangling. Additionally, an anchor of this type deploys faster because the rigid funnel is always open, whereas a fabric canopy sea anchor may fail to open. Also, a rigid funnel is more durable, easier to pick up, and store on the deck of a small boat, kayak, or paddle board than a fabric canopy sea anchor. Further, the funnel allows water to drain out through the opening in the stem when the sea anchor is removed from the water making the funnel lighter and easier to retrieve than a cloth canopy or closed vessel design sea anchor. The funnel may have tabs around the interior edge of the mouth for attaching the funnel cords. Additionally, the funnel may have fins around the outside of the stem to assist in deployment of the sea anchor by orienting the funnel more quickly when in use.

According to yet another aspect, the stem of the funnel may include a hole passing through one side of the stem to the other. These holes, through-holes, may be utilized to attach additional sea anchor devices. A rode of a second sea anchor may be attached to the through-hole in order to connect a second funnel. Attaching, additional sea anchor devices may be useful to increase resistance when conditions change, such as when the wind or waves increase. Alternatively, the rode of a second sea anchor device (second rode) may be attached directly to the rode of the first sea anchor device (first rode). The attachment of a second sea anchor in series may be advantageous in certain situations, such as in shallow water where a larger diameter sea anchor would come into contact with the bottom surface.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

These and other features, aspects, and advantages of the present invention will become better understood with regard to the following description, appended claims, and accompanying drawings where:

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of one embodiment of the sea anchor in use attached to the stern of a boat with the wind direction identified as W and the drift direction identified as D;

FIG. 2 is a side view of one embodiment of the sea anchor showing the connector and funnel;

FIG. 2A is a side view of one embodiment of the connector showing the conical shape and the holes in the base;

FIG. 3 is a side view of one embodiment of the sea anchor with an additional sea anchor attached through the through-holes of the first sea anchor funnel;

FIG. 4 is a side view of one embodiment of the sea anchor with an additional sea anchor attached to the rode of the first sea anchor; and

FIG. 5 is a perspective view of one embodiment of multiple sea anchors in use attached to the stern of a boat with the wind direction identified as W and the drift direction identified as D.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is a sea anchor 10 that is durable, easy to retrieve, pick up, and store, deploys quickly, is always open, and reduces the chances of the cords fouling. The sea anchor 10 is useful in controlling the speed and position of watercraft such as a small boat, kayak, or paddle board. In one embodiment shown in FIG. 1, the sea anchor 10 includes a rode 14 affixed to stern of a boat 40 by a link 12. The link 12 may be a removable clip, carabineer, knot, or any other suitable means for affixing the rode 14 to a boat 40. The rode 14, which may be a cable, rope, or chain, may be affixed to the link 12 at one terminal end and to a connector 16 at the opposite terminal end, thereby joining the sea anchor 10 to the boat 40. A rode 14 may be made of strong materials in order to resist the tensile forces created by the interaction of the boat 40, wind, and water. Additionally, a rode 14 may be elastic to absorb some of the shock load and tensional forces created by the interaction of the boat 40, wind, and water. In order to produce desired characteristics, such as strength, durability, and elasticity, a rode 14 may utilize various materials and constructions. For example, the rode 14 may utilize a three strand twisted, double braid, single braid, para-cord, or other suitable construction. Additionally, the rode may be constructed using materials or combinations of materials to provide desired characteristics, such as nylon, metal, or other sufficient materials.

In an embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the sea anchor 10 may include a connector 16 affixed at a terminal end of a rode 14. The connector 16 may join the rode 14 with the funnel cords 18 attached to the funnel 20. In a preferred embodiment shown in FIG. 2A, the connector 16 may be a hollow, conical shaped device made of plastic with a hole through the nose of the conical shape, for attaching the rode 14, and holes on the base of the conical shape for attachment of the funnel cords 18. However, the connector 16 may be any construction desired to secure the rode 14 to the funnel cords 16. In a preferred embodiment as shown in FIG. 2, the end of a rode 14 extends through the hole in the top of the cone and exits a hole in the base, terminating in a loop. Alternatively, the rode 14 may terminate in a small ring, a d-ring connection device, or other suitable means for securing the rode 14 through the hole. The funnel cords 18 may be two or more separate cords, each with one terminal end attached to the connector 16 and the other attached to the funnel 20. Alternatively, the funnel cord 18 may be one or more bridles, which is a cord with both ends secured to an object to be held, lifted, or towed and with the cord secured and held or lifted generally about the cord's center. In a preferred embodiment, the funnel cords 18 may be two bridles. The bridles may have both of their terminal ends affixed to the funnel 20 and, generally about their centers, may be affixed to the connector 16 by the bridle passing in one hole on the connector 16 and out another. The funnel cords 18 may be of any material and construction suitable to durably secure the attachment of the connector 16 and funnel 20.

In an embodiment shown in FIGS. 1-5, the sea anchor 10 includes a funnel 20. The funnel 20 has a mouth 24, stem 26, and opening at the end of the stem. As shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, the funnel 20 provides resistance against the movement of a boat 40, kayak, or paddle board as a result of wind and waves, which helps to slow and align a boat, kayak, or paddle board. The volume, shape, and dimensions of the funnel 20 have a direct effect on the resistance created during use. For example, as the surface area, and volume increase, the resistance generally increases. In one embodiment shown in FIGS. 2-4, the diameter of the mouth 24 of the funnel 20 is larger than the diameter of the opening at the end of the stem 26. The volume, shape, and dimensions of a funnel 20 may be designed based on the amount of resistance necessary to provide a desired speed and alignment in relation to the size of the boat 40 or board, depth of the water, and the speed of the wind.

The funnel 20 may be made of a rigid and durable material. For example, the funnel 20 may be made of plastic, fiberglass, or other rigid and durable materials. A sea anchor with a rigid funnel 20 reduces the chance of the cords 14, 18 fouling, is easier and faster to deploy, is easier to retrieve, pick up, and store, and is more durable than a fabric canopy sea anchor. Additionally, a rigid funnel 20 is always open, removing the issue that a fabric canopy sea anchor may fail to open. As shown in FIG. 2, the funnel 20 may have tabs 22 protruding inwardly from the interior edge of the mouth 24, for attachment of funnel cords 18. The tabs 22 may serve to hide or protect knots or other means of attachment of the funnel cords 18 with the funnel 20. However, it is anticipated that the funnel cords 18 may be attached to the funnel 20 in other suitable locations, such as around the mouth 24 or along the sides of the funnel 20. Further, the funnel 20 may have fins 28 protruding outwardly from the stem 26 to assist in the speedy deployment of the sea anchor 10 by more quickly orienting the funnel 20 when in use.

In an embodiment shown in FIGS. 2-4, the stem 26 of the funnel 20 may include a through-hole 30 or two through-holes 30 on parallel sections of the stem 26. The through-holes 30 may allow for attachment of a second sea anchor 10. As shown in FIG. 3, a rode 14 of a second sea anchor 10 (second rode) may be attached to the through-hole 30, thereby connecting two sea anchors 10 in series and increasing the resistance. Increased resistance may be necessary to slow and orient a boat 40 or board in situations where conditions change, such as when wind or waves increase. Alternatively, the second rode, may be attached directly to the rode 14 of the first sea anchor device (first rode), the first anchor device being attached to the boat 40 or board. As shown in FIG. 4, the second rode 14, may be attached to the terminal end of the first rode 14 after the first rode 14 has exited through a hole in the base of the connector 16. The attachment of a second sea anchor 10, may be advantageous when conditions require increased resistance. For example, when in use on a larger boat, in windy conditions, or when shallow water prevents the use of a larger diameter sea anchor 10 because the anchor 10 would come into contact with the river, sea, or lake bottom.

In one embodiment, the sea anchor 10 and any additional attached sea anchors 10 may be useful in slowing and positioning the boat 40 for fishing. The resistance created by the funnel 20 when in use pulls on the funnel cords 18, connector 16, rode 14, link 12, and boat 40 keeping the boat facing into the wind in a direction dependent upon where the sea anchor 10 is attached. For example, if the sea anchor 10 is attached to the bow of a boat 40, the bow will be facing the wind. Alternatively as shown in FIGS. 1 and 5, if the sea anchor 10 is attached to the stern of a boat 40, the stern will be facing the wind. Utilizing a sea anchor, an angler may wish to position the boat 40 with either the bow or stern side opposite the wind to allow him to fish off of that side. Fishing on the side of the boat opposite the wind may present a clear view of approaching fish. Slowing the drift of the boat 40 may also allow more time to bait the fish before the fish sees the boat. Additionally, use of the present sea anchor 10 to slow and position watercraft may be useful when someone is doing exercises like stretching or yoga on a paddle board.

Although the present invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred versions thereof, other versions are possible. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained herein. All features disclosed in this specification may be replaced by alternative features serving the same, equivalent or similar purpose, unless expressly stated otherwise. Thus, unless expressly stated otherwise, each feature disclosed is one example only of a generic series of equivalent or similar features.