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Publication numberUS3142075 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJul 28, 1964
Filing dateJun 27, 1961
Priority dateJun 27, 1961
Publication numberUS 3142075 A, US 3142075A, US-A-3142075, US3142075 A, US3142075A
InventorsGardner Hill Thomas
Original AssigneeGardner Hill Thomas
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Water ski towing device
US 3142075 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

July 28, 1964 T. G. HILL WATER SKI TOWING DEVICE 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed June 2'! 1961 INVENTOR. Thomas Gardner Hill BY g, R 7L1 ATTORNEY July 28, 1964 T. G. HILL 3,142,075

WATER SKI TOWING DEVICE Filed June 27. 1961 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 INVENTOR Thomas Gardner Hill United States Patent This invention relates to a water ski towing device and more particularly concerns a towing rig for use by a water skier which greatly facilitates the procedure of getting the skis up onto the water during the initial towing stages.

Although the sport of water skiing has become increasingly popular in recent years, the number of people who may enjoy this sport is at present limited by the formidable difiiculities encountered during the pull-out or starting stage. Not only is considerable balance and agility required, but a substantial amount of practice is needed even by persons possessed with the necessary physical attributes.

It is herein contemplated that the water ski towing rig of my invention not only provides a means for permanently avoiding the starting difilculties inherent in use of conventional towing rigs, but also has considerable application as a training aid to enable neophyte skiers to gain a facility for controlling the skis before attempting mastery of conventional pull-out procedures.

It has been recognized that much of the difficulty encounter with present methods of getting underway results from the power boat pulling force being applied at the skiers shoulder level while the high starting drag to be overcome by this force is in the region of the ski binding, i.e., near the skiers ankles. This necessitates the skier to assume various supine and squatting positions during starting in an eilort to more closely direct the pulling force through the point of maximum drag. That force which cannot be so directed must be taken up by a stiffening of the body of the skier, particularly his back and leg muscles, to maintain an essential balance of forces.

A further complication exists during the initial towing stage in that the skis tend to be directionally erratic, requiring reflex reactions to maintain the skis under control.

As will be readily appreciated from the foregoing discussion, the redoubtable skill required in present methods of getting underway from both water and shore starts deters many persons from endeavoring to participate in this sport, for even those who have the necessary physical attributes require a substantial amount of practice to master the pull-out procedure with conventional towing rigs.

One of the objects of my invention, therefore, is to provide a novel towing rig for use with water skis which overcomes the aforestated difiiculties encountered during initial acceleration and yet allows the sport to be enjoyed in its customary manner thereafter.

Another object of my invention is to provide a novel towing rig for use with water skis which permits enjoyment of the sport of water skiing by persons of only average agility and without the need of special training and practice.

Yet another object or" my invention is to provide a novel training aid device for use with water skis which greatly facilitates mastery of the sport of water skiing.

Still another object of my invention is to provide a novel attachment for water skis which enables the power boat pulling force to be transmitted directly to the skis during initial acceleration.

A further object of my invention is to provide a novel attachment for water skis which tends to maintain the skis in spaced parallel relation during pull-out but which thereafter allows the skis to be under the complete control of the skier so that the sport may be enjoyed in its customary manner.

'ice

A still further object of my invention is to provide a novel towing rig for water skis which is simple yet rugged in construction and which readily lends itself to the demands of economic manufacture.

in accordance with the objects of the invention, a novel towing rig is provided having a part thereof releasably hitched to the toe of each ski, causing the pulling force from a power boat, or other suitable means, to be directly transmitted through the hitch to each ski.

After pull-out is efiected and the high starting drag is no longer present, by a particular manipulation of the handle of the towing rig the skier can release the hitch, causing the power boat pulling force to be transmitted directly to the handle, and thereafter permitting enjoyment of the sport in the customary manner.

In application of the invention to a pair of water skis rather than a waterboard or single ski, a spacer bar may be provided between the skis and tow line to maintain the skis spaced, substantially parallel relation and to divi e the pulling force equally between the skis during the acceleration period.

For a more complete understanding of my invention, reference now made to the following description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing wherein like numeral designators indicate the same or similar parts throughout the several views, and in which:

FIG. 1A is a schematic side elevational view of a person or operator on skis employing the water ski towing device or rig of the present invention, the person and skis illustrated therein being almost completely submerged in water in the starting or pull-out position.

FlG. 1B is a schematic side elevational view similar to Fit}. 1A and illustrating the person on skis as in FIG. 1A after the skis have been pulled to a planing position, the full line representation showing the tow line assembly prio to the time it is released from the skis and the b oken line representation showing the tow line assembly a tier it has been released from the skis.

PEG. 2 is an enlarged fragmentary view of the front portion of a ski with the hitch of the present invention cing affixed thereto.

FIG. 3 is a perspective view of the general application of the water ski towing device of the present invention.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged perspective view of the hitch of the present invention and one of the harness straps from the tow line assembly being connected thereto for to. the ski.

FIG. 5A is a side elevational view of the hitch and harness strap illustrated in FIG. 4, the hitch being in the pull-out position.

FIG. 5B is a view similar to FIG. 5A and illustrating the position of the hitch and portions of the tow line assembly when the ski begins to plane.

PEG. 5C is a view similar to FIGS. 5A and 5B and illustrating the position of portions of the tow line assembly and hitch as the strap releasing operation begins.

FIG. 5D is a view similar to FIGS. 5A, 5B and 5C, and illustrating the position of portions of the tow line assembly as the strap releasing operation continues.

FlG. SE is a view similar to FIGS. 5A, 5B, 5C and 5D and illustrating the position of portions of the tow line assembly as the strap is actually released from the hitch.

Referring now in detail to the embodiment chosen for the purpose of illustrating the present invention, it being understood that in its broader aspects in the present invention is not limited to the exact details herein depicted, numeral l!) denotes generally the tow line assembly which includes the single tow line 11 which leads from a prime mover such as from the stern of a boat (not shown) for the purpose of towing the skis 2i) and the rider 39. Secured to the rear end of the tow line 11 is a towing yoke which includes the traces 12 and 13 diverging rearwardly from a central bight 14 connected to the end of the tow line 11. The rearward ends of the traces 12 and 13 are connected to intermediate portions equidistant from the center of a transversely disposed spacer bar or first tow bar 15. When the prime mover is moving, the tow line 11 exerts an essentially horizontal force to the tow bar 15, the tow bar 15 being maintained in its essentially transverse position during the entire operation.

At the ends of the tow bar 15 are a pair of harness straps 16 and 17, the ends of which are connected to a handle or second tow bar 18. The harness straps 16 and 17 are essentially equal in length and hence the tow bars 15 and 18 are maintained essentially parallel to each other and transverse of the direction of tow by the tow line assembly 10.

Leading from intermediate portions of the tow bar 15 are a pair of release lines or straps 19 and 21 which extend rearwardly in a generally converging direction and are connected at their ends to a release bar 22, the release bar 22 being substantially shorter in length than the tow bars 15 and 18. The release bar 22, in turn, is connected to the central portion or center of the tow bar 18 by means of connecting straps 23 and 24, the straps 23 and 24 being connected adjacent the ends of the release bar 22 and converging toward and connected to the center of tow bar 18.

In construction, the traces l2 and 13, the straps 19 and 21, the straps 23 and 24 and the central bight 14 may be formed of a single length of rope which passes through appropriate holes in the tow bar 15 as well as through appropriate holes in release bar 22 and an appropriate hole in tow bar 18, the ends of the rope being joined at the tow bar 18 and the bight 14 being formed at the junction of traces 12 and 13. In this construction, fastening means, such as nails 25, are employed to secure the rope portions forming the trace 12 and the strap 19 and the trace 13 and the strap 21 to the tow bar 15. Likewise, the rope portion forming the straps 19 and 23 and the straps 21 and 24 are secured to the release bar 22 by means of nails 26, the ends of straps 23 and 24 being secured to the central portion of tow bar 18 by means of nail 27.

In like manner, the ends of harness strap 16 are secured to tow bars 15 and 18 respectively by means of nails 28 and 29, while the ends of harness strap 17 are secured to tow bars 15 and 18 respectively by means of nails 31 and 32 respectively.

The arrangement is such that the effective length of straps 19 and 23 and the effective length of straps 21 and 24 are about equal to the length of harness strap 16 and harness strap 17 such that when force is exerted by the tow line 11, the straps 16, 17, 19 and 21 lie essentially parallel to each other during the normal towing operation after the assembly has been released from the skis, as will be described hereinafter.

As will be observed in FIGS. 1A and 1B, the distance from the tow bar to the tow bar 18 is such that a person 30 may grasp the tow bar 18 while standing in about an upright position on the skis with the forward portions of the harness straps 16 and 17 adjacent tow bar 15 engaging the forward end portions of the skis 20. The distance from tow bar 18 to release bar 22 is within the normal reach of the person 30 while the person 30 holds the tow bar 18.

According to the present invention, hitches, such as hitch 40, best seen in FIG. 2, are secured respectively to the pair of skis 20 adjacent the forward tip of each ski, immediately behind the upwardly turned tow portion of the ski. Preferably the hitches 40 should be secured about 6 inches from the tip of the ski. Each hitch 40 includes a flat rectangular base 41 provided with a pair of holes (not shown) for receiving the screws 42 which secure the hitch 40 in place on the ski 20, as illustrated in FIG. 2. The hitch 40 also includes an upstanding strap engaging plate 43 which is integrally connected by its lower edge to the side of base 41, the plate 43 being arranged longitudinally of the ski 20, preferably along the center line thereof. Plate 43 is provided with a central, upwardly opening vertical slot 44 and a forwardly and upwardly opening slot 45, the slots 44 and 45 forming a means by which the harness straps 16 and 17 may be releasably secured to the skis. As best seen in FIGS. 5A, 5B, SC,

I 5D and 5B, the inner ends of slots 44 and 45 terminate adjacent each other in about the same horizontal plane, the inner end of slot 45 preferably being arranged slightly above the inner end of slot 44.

The plate 43 is an essentially rectangular member and is provided with an arcuate or curved rear upper corner 46 which is generally convexed outwardly so as to merge with the upper surface or edge 47 of plate 43 and its rear surface or edge 48. A semi-circular arcuate forward sur-. face 49 is provided at the front upper corner of plate 43, the arcuate surface 49 merging with the upper surface 47 and the upper portion of plate 43 defining slot 45.

Operation From the drawings and foregoing description, the operation of the present device should be apparent. When it is desired to employ the ski towing device of the present invention, the hitches 40 are secured to the skis 20 by means of the screws 42, in the position shown in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawings. It is important in the present embodiment that the hitch 40 for each ski 20 be arranged so that the slot 45 faces forwardly.

The tow line assembly 10 is then connected to the pair of hitches 40 as illustrated in FIG. 4. In more detail, the harness straps 16 and 17 are connected respectively to the hitches 40 by those portions of the harness straps 16 and 17 which are adjacent the tow bar 15. A The arrangement is such that when the tow bar 18 is grasped by the person 30, the straps 16 and 17 remain engaged with hitches 40, and when the release bar 22 is grasped by the person 30 and the bar 18 is released, the harness straps 16 and 17 will be pulled out of the hitches 40 by upward force on tow bar 15.

To accomplish this, each harness strap 16 or 17 is passed on the outside of plates 43 of the respective hitches 40 and thence inwardly through the slot 44 and rearwardly around the back or rear edge 48 of the plate 43. Thereafter, the harness strap 17 is led forwardly and passed through the slot 45, the harness strap 16 or 17 passing inwardly through the slot 45 in the manner illustrated in FIGS. 4 and SA-SE. By such an arrangement, a keeper portion 50 of the harness straps 16 or 17 is arranged over the slot engaged portion 51 of the harness straps 16 or 17 carried by slot 44.

When the harness straps 16 and 17 have been installed in the hitches 40, the person 30 places his or her feet in the stirrups 60 of the skis 20 and grasps the tow bar 18 so that force is applied to hold the harness straps 16 and 17 in the slots 45. Since the engaging of the harness straps 16 and 17 takes up a portion of the effective length of these straps 16 and 17, the straps 19 and 21 hang relatively loosely between the tow bars 15 and 18. Under these conditions, with the pull exerted by the tow line 11 on tow bar 15 being essentially horizontal, the harness straps 16 and 17 are firmly held by the hitches 40. Thus, so long as bar 15 is not lifted vertically, the pull exerted by the boat (not shown) being essentially parallel to the surface of the water as illustrated in FIG. 1A, and being the only force applied to the tow bar 15, the harness straps 16 and 17 remain connected to the hitches 40. Thus, the person 30 may assume the position shown in FIG. 1A as the power is applied to the boat (not shown) to urge the skis 20 and the person 30 forwardly through the water, the force via tow line 11 being applied directly to the skis 20.

As speed is increased, the skis 20 carrying the person 30 become waterborne or begin to plane, thereby altering the position of the skis 20 and the person 30 from the position shown in FIG. 1A to the position shown in full lines in FIG. 1B. Also, the angle of hitch 40 is moved from an upwardly inclined position as shown in FIG. 5A to a horizontal position as shown in FIG. 5B.

The person 30 usually maintains the position shown in FIG. 1B until he or she and the skis 2% become sufficiently stable on the water that it is no longer desired to have a direct pull on the skis 26. At this time, the operator 30 reaches forward with one hand and grasps the release bar 22 and then releases with the other hand the tow bar 18 sufiiciently so that the harness straps 16 and 17 become limp and tension is applied to the straps 19 and 21.

The upward and rearward pull exerted by this operator 30 on straps 19 and 21 via the release bar 22 tends to lift or rotate the tow bar and move it in an arcuate path as illustrated by FIGS. 5C, 5D and 5E. As the tow bar 15 moves upwardly in its arcuate path, the slot engaging portion 51 of harness straps 16 and 17, respectively urge that portion of the straps l6 and 17 which pass from the rear edge 48 to slot 45, upwardly over the arcuate rear corner 46 whence portions 56 of the straps 16 and 17 are released from the hitches 4d. Further pressure in a horizontal direction by the traces i2 and i3 and upwardly and rearwardly by straps 19 and 21 urge the tow bar 15 upwardly still further and hence causes the tow bar 15 to remove the straps 16 and 17 from the slot 44. Still further movement upwardly of the tow bar 15 will urge that portion of the straps l6 and 17 within the slots 45 outwardly and forwardly sufiiciently to disengage totally the straps 16 and 17 from the hitches 40. Thereafter, the operator may again grasp the tow bar 18 with both hands so that the tow line assembly 10 is now connected only to the operator 30 and is totally disconnected from the skis 2%) as illustrated by broken lines in FIG. 113.

It will be obvious to those skilled in the art that many variations may be made in the embodiment here chosen for the purpose of illustrating the present invention without departing from the scope thereof as defined by the appended claims.

I claim:

1. In a water ski towing device of the type for towing a person on skis from an initial pull-out position to a planing position, a tow line assembly including a tow line adapted to be secured to a prime mover for providing an essentially horizontal pull to said tow line, a tow bar connected by its central portion to said tow line, a pair of harness straps connected to the ends of said tow bar, portions of said straps being releasably engageable with hitches on said skis, and a release line secured to said tow bar between said harness straps for simultaneously urging upwardly said portions of said straps for disengaging said portions from said hitches.

2. In a water ski towing device of the type for towing a person on skis from an initial pul-out position to a planing position, a tow line assembly including a tow line adapted to be secured to a prime mover for providing an essentially horizontal pull to said tow line, a tow bar connected by its central portion to said tow line, a pair of harness straps connected to the ends of said tow bar, portions of said straps being releasably engageable with hitches on said skis, a release line secured to said tow bar between said harness straps for simultaneously urging upwardly said portions of said strap for disengaging said portions from said hitches, a second tow bar connected to the ends of said harnes straps, said release line being connected directly to said first tow bar between said harness straps for urging said first tow bar upwardly to disengage said harness straps from said hitches.

3. A water ski towing device of the type for towing a person on skis from an initial pull-out position to a planing position comprising in combination with said skis, a pair of hitches respectively secured to the tow portions of said skis, each hitch including a base, means for securing said base to its ski, an upright longitudnally disposed strap engaging plate secured to said base and projecting above the upper surface of said ski, said plate being provided with an upwardly opening slot and a forwardly opening slot, the inner ends of said slots being adjacent each other, and a tow line assembly including a tow line adapted to be secured to a prime mover for providing an essentially horizontal pull to said tow line, a pair of harness straps connected by their ends to said tow line for being pulled by their connected ends essentially horizontally, each of said straps being releasably engageable with one of said hitches adjacent its connected end by being passed through said upwardly opening slot and around the rear portion of said plate and thence through said forwardly opening slot such that the portion of said strap between said rear portion and said forwardly opening slot passes over the portion of said strap within said upwardly opening slot, and a release line secured to said tow line assembly for simultaneously urging upwardly the portion of each strap within its associated upwardly opening slot to thereby release the strap from its associated hitch.

4. A water ski towing device of the type for towing a person on skis from an initial pull-out position to a planing position comprising in combination with said skis, a pair of hitches respectively secured to the tow portions of said skis, each hitch including a base, means for securing said base to its ski, an upright longitudinally disposed strap engaging plate secured to said base and projecting above the upper surface of said ski, said plate being provided with an upwardly opening slot and a forwardly opening slot, the inner ends of said slots being adjacent each other, and a tow line assembly including a tow line adapted to be secured to a prime mover for providing an essentially horizontal pull to said tow line, a first tow bar connected by its central portion to said tow line, a pair of harness straps secured to said first tow bar, each of said straps being releasably engageable with one of said hitches adjacent said first tow bar by being passed through said upwardly opening slot and around the rear portion of said plate and thence through said forwardly opening slot such that the portion of said strap between said rear portion and said forwardly opening slot passes over the portion of said strap within said upwardly opening slot, and a release line secured to said tow bar for simultaneously urging upwardly the portion of each strap within its associated upwardly opening slot to thereby release the strap from its associated hitch.

5. A water ski towing device of the type for towing a person on skis from an initial pull-out position to a planing position comprising in combination with said skis, a pair of hitches respectively secured to the tow portions of said skis, each hitch including a base, means for securing said base to its ski, an upright longitudinally disposed strap engaging plate secured to said base and projecting above the upper surface of said ski, said plate being provided with an upwardly opening slot and a forwardly opening slot, the inner ends of said slots being adjacent each other, a tow line assembly including a tow line adapted to be secured to a prime mover for providing an essentially horizontal pull to said tow line, a first tow bar connected by its central portion to said tow line, a pair of harness straps secured to said first tow bar, each of said straps being releasably engageable with one of said hitches adjacent said first tow bar by being passed through said upwardly opening slot and around the rear portion of said plate and thence through said forwardly opening slot such that the portion of said strap between said rear portion and said forwardly opening slot passes over the portion of said strap within said upwardly opening slot, and a release line secured to said tow bar for simultaneously urging upwardly the portion of each strap within its associated upwardly opening slot to thereby release the strap from its associated hitch, a second tow bar connected to the ends of said harness straps, and a release bar between said first tow bar and said second tow bar and connected to said release line.

6. A water ski towing device of the type for towing a person on skis from an initial pull-out position'to a planing position comprising in combination with said skis, a pair of hitches respectively secured to the tow portions of said skis, each hitch including a base, means for securing said base to its ski, an upright longitudinally disposed strap engaging plate secured to said base and projecting above the upper surface of said ski, said plate being provided with an upwardly opening slot and a forwardly opening slot, the inner ends of said slots being adjacent each other, a tow line assembly including a tow line adapted to be secured to a prime mover for providing an essentially horizontal pull to said tow line, a first tow bar connected by its central portion to said tow line, a pair of harness straps secured to said first tow bar, each of said straps being releasably engageable with one of said hitches adjacent said first tow bar by being passed through said upwardly opening slot and around the rear 20 portion of said plate and thence through said forwardly opening slot such that the portion of said strap between said rear portion and said forwardly opening slot passes over the portion of said strap within said upwardly opening slot, a release line secured to said tow bar for simultaneously urging upwardly the portion of each strap within its associated upwardly opening slot to thereby release the strap from its associated hitch, a second tow bar connected to the ends of said harness straps, a release bar between said first tow bar and said second tow bar and connected to said release line, and a strap connecting said release bar to said second tow bar.

References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,257,695 Gadke Feb. 26, 1918 1,588,365 Hess June 8, 1926 2,884,674 Neuberger May 5, 1959 2,938,220 Puckett May 31, 1960 2,946,305 Hill July 26, 1960

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1257695 *Jan 22, 1916Feb 26, 1918William GadkeCleat.
US1588365 *Jan 15, 1926Jun 8, 1926Hess Ezra HCord or rope holder or cleat
US2884674 *Feb 27, 1957May 5, 1959Neuberger Franklin HFasteners
US2938220 *Feb 17, 1958May 31, 1960Puckett Ronald GWater ski attachment
US2946305 *Oct 7, 1957Jul 26, 1960Hill Thomas GardnerWater ski towing device
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3227126 *Jun 3, 1964Jan 4, 1966Etzler Robert DTowing rigs for water skis
US3422786 *Sep 28, 1967Jan 21, 1969Brandhorst Jack ATowing device for water skis
US4069786 *Jul 12, 1976Jan 24, 1978Botz Richard JohnWater ski towing means
US4385581 *Jan 11, 1982May 31, 1983Patterson Howard FDevice for tying to a point of support
US4460344 *Jul 14, 1982Jul 17, 1984Lake Region Products, Inc.Water ski training apparatus
US4846690 *Jul 24, 1987Jul 11, 1989Danny WilliamsWater ski training apparatus
US5080620 *Dec 10, 1990Jan 14, 1992Reden Steven SWater ski board
US5083955 *Oct 11, 1989Jan 28, 1992Echols Donald GAquatic recreational towing devices
US5427047 *Jan 6, 1994Jun 27, 1995Woodfin; RichardTow rope holder
US8499711 *Jan 27, 2011Aug 6, 2013Jared StrongTowing rope for water skiing
US20110179987 *Jul 28, 2011Jared StrongTowing Rope for Water Skiing
US20140158036 *Dec 12, 2012Jun 12, 2014Jared StrongTowing rope for water skiing
Classifications
U.S. Classification441/73, 114/253
International ClassificationB63B35/73, B63B35/81
Cooperative ClassificationB63B35/815
European ClassificationB63B35/81T