US 3520265 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
July 14, 1970 w. M. SANFORD CONTROL MEANS FOR STABILIZING WATERCRAFT 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 Filed Feb. 12, 1968 FIGB INVENTOR f U. ,7 m O 6 N A S M f m a U n w ATTORNEYS July 14, 1970 w. M. SANFORD CONTROL MEANS FOR STABILIZING WATERCRAFT Filed Feb. 12, 1968 2 Sheets-Sheet 2 FIG.6
INVENT OR WILLIAM M. SANEORD ATTORNEYS United States Patent 3,520,265 CONTROL MEANS FOR STABILIZING WATERCRAFT William M. Sanford, Edenton, N.C., assignor to Chris- Craft Industries, Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., a corporation of Delaware Filed Feb. 12, 1968, Ser. No. 704,888 Int. Cl. B63b 1/18 U.S. Cl. 11466.5 6 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE Control means are disclosed for stabilizing watercraft,
in the form of a pair of adjustably operated flaps, elevators or like planing members disposed at the hull bottom directly forward of the stern transom and somewhat outboard of the respective dual rudders of the boat. There is an individual motor-driven actuator mechanism of improved design for each planing member.
Each such mechanism comprises a vertically elongated actuator or connecting rod pivotally connected at its lower end to a planing flap or elevator, which is itself pivoted on a tansverse axis on the hull bottom; and a lengthwise operation of the rod in one direction or another produces an adjusting swing of the plane from an inoperative position substantially flush with the hull to an outwardly extended operative position at a desired planing angle, or vice versa. In the interest of safety and stability the angle of adjusting swing is quite limited.
The connecting rod extends upwardly through an elongated tubular protective housing, which housing is rigidly secured to the transom of the craft, as by a Welded bracket structure in an installation in which the hull is of steel or aluminum. This bracket also serves to mount a reversibly motorized, reduced-speed drive unit as a prime mover; and upward and downward adjusting movement of the connecting rod are derived through the agency of a screw BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION Field of the invention mounting bracket thereof, as well as a fiush, non-recessed mount of the planing flaps or elevators at the hull bottom, just forwardly of the transom.
Description of the prior art Of the prior patented art of which I am aware, the patents to Langston 1,003,364 of Sept. 12, 1911; Smith 2,322,178 of Oct. 19, 1943; Frederick 3,159,131 of Dec.
, 1, 1964; and British) White 474,908 of Nov. 9, 1937,
rotated by the speed reducer and threadedly engaging a nylon nut.
A driving connection from the nut to the actuator rod CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS A copending application of common ownership in the name of Eugene L. Eckfield, Ser. No. 577,878, filed Sept. 8, 1966, now U.S. Pat. No. 3,435,795, discloses Watercraft planing means of a type to which the control mechanism of the present application could well be applied.
appear most pertinent. All relate to one type or another of a mechanical through-hull bottom actuator for a planing or like member; but none discloses a reasonable approximation of the improved control structure herein described and illustrated.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In regard to the present improved control mechanism and the planing or elevator member which it operates, the latter is, as indicated above, hingedly connected compactly to the hull bottom, directly adjacent and forward of the transom and a bit outboard of a rudder, in a manner to be as nearly flush as possible with the adjacent surface of the hull, i.e., without recessing of the latter to accommodate the planing member. The function of this member is, upon appropriate adjustment, to compensate for a maldistribution of live or dead weight within the boat, as well as to improve its travel characteristic under different parameters, such as the specific craft design, loading, motive power, sea condition, and the like. The arrangement is such, in regard to the operation of the two planing members, that there is no danger involved in the responsive performance of the boat even if one. member is fully extended to maximum planing angle and the other fully withdrawn to hull-flush position. The craft may go into a bank, but there is no danger at the helm and no sense of danger felt by the pilot. A limitation is imposed against injudicious handling of the elevator controls.
In regard to the mechanical actuator for the plane or elevator, the sleeve piston which articulates the motor driven actuating screw to the elevator adjusting rod is a sealed one having upper and lower O-rings which prevent water from entering the boat, whether due to excessive water in the bildge, which is sealed out by the protective tubular housing receiving the piston and welded to the hull bottom, or due to a velocity head created in the tubular housing, as by running the craft at full throttle in reverse. A pivoted, clevis-type connection of the sleeve to the elevator actuating rod accommodates slight bodily swing of the latter attending the pivotal adjustment of the angle of the elevator; and the limited nature of said swing avoids interference of the rod with the lower end of the housing.
3 BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE. DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a fragmentary and substantially rear e1evational view of a twin screw and rudder type power boat equipped with planing control structure according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary, larger scale bottom plan view illustrating the positional arrangement of one of the two planing elevators in relation to the hull bottom, side and stem;
FIG. 3 is a fragmentary perspective view further showing the plane or elevator structure, indicating respecively in solid and dotted lines the position of the elevator member in an inoperative, flush condition and in an extended, an'gularly inclined operative condition.
FIG. 4 is a fragmentary view of the control mechanism of the structure, being in an upright, practically vertically fore-to-aft plane through the protective housing of the mechanism;
FIG. 5 is a fragmentary view in elevation, partially broken away, as viewed aft-wards at the arrow 5; and
FIG. 6 is a fragmentary view in section on line 6-6 of FIG. 4, showing details of a clevis-type connection between the actuator or connecting rod and the piston-like sealing sleeve of the control mechanism.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT FIGS 1, 2 and 3 show the general type of power boat to the bottom of the hull 10 of which planing flaps or elevators 12 are adjustably applied, one at the left of FIG. 1 being shown in an inoperative retracted position substantially flush with the hull bottom 13, the other being shown in an extended planing position.
These members are fiat, as in the hull bottom 13 in extending from the respective chine lines 14 to the keel line at 15. Further in respect to the hull section, its stern transom 16 is transversely convex and slants downwardly and aft-wise across the boat beam. Typically, the boat 10 is a metal-hulled cruiser having twin propeller screws 18 and twin rudders 19, all operated by entirely conventional means (not shown).
In regard to the planing elevators 12, reference being had to FIGS. 1-4, they are of rigid sheet or plate steel, flat and substantially rectangular in shape, modified to match the rounded contour of stem 16, 'with the lower edge of which the aft end 20 of each elevator comes flush in its retracted position, indicated in dot-dash line in FIG. 4. At its forward end, each elevator 12 is hingedly connected to the hull bottom 13 on a straight transverse axis, as by a line of piano-type hingle sections 22. These articulate the forward elevator end with a metal mounting strap 23, which is secured by a series of screws 24 to hull bottom 13, more especially to an inner back-up rib or 'beam part 25 secured to the latter. An adapter piece 26 of epoxy resin is molded on the hull bottom forward of each mounting strap 23 being in a forwardly tapering outline to eliminate flow turbulance.
As indicated above, and as best depicted in FIG. 4, the arrangement and proportioning of parts is such that the elevator flaps 12 are as closely as possible flush with the surrounding surface of hull bottom 13 when members 12 are in the retracted, dotted-line position of FIG. 4 (solid line of FIG. 3). That is, the hull is not recessed for the reception of the elevators, yet there is a subsatntial continuity of bottom hull contour throughout the length of the era-ft, including the fore-aft elevator zone.
Although the exact dimensioning and positioning of elevators 12 is of course subject ot change, in a typical installation, reference being had to FIGS. 1, 2 and 3,
the inner edge of the elevator will lie approximately four inches outboard of the axis of the adjacent rudder 19, the member 12 extending fully outward to the chine 14 of the boat, a distance of, say, thirty inches. Illustratively, the fore and aft dimension of elevator 12 is eight inches.
In the fully extended position of the elevator, indicated in dotted line in FIG. 3, the maximum opening between its rear edge 20 and the bottom of the transom 16 is approximately two and one-half inches. At this limited setting, there is ample compensation for a maximum mal-distribution of weight, live or dead, within the boat. There is no danger in the operation of the boat, even if one elevator 12 is fully distended and the other is hullflush. As indicated above, the boat may be thrown into a bank, however, there is no danger at the helm and no sense of danger felt by the helmsman when this occurs.
In short, a definite limitation is imposed in regard to the extent of elevator operation, which prevents injudicious handling of the elevator controls by the pilot, for example in a state of some panic.
Finally, each of the elevators 12 carries, approximately at its transverse center and near its rear, an upright welded piece or block 27, to which the actuator rod of the improved control mechanism, now to be described, is pivotally connected.
Referring in particular to FIG. 4, in conjunction with FIGS. 5 and '6, the control mechanism, generally designated 28, is in large part housed within an upright tubular steel protective housing 29 of considerable axial length, the lower end of this housing being received in an opening at 30 in the hull bottom 13 closely adjacent the transom 16. Here the housing 29 is welded about its circumference to the hull, thus affording a watertight seal at this critical point.
Housing 29 slants upward and forward, being also at a slight angle to a vertical plane including keel line 1 5; and a rigid mount of the housing to the hull 10 is completed by an upright steel :bracket plate 32 of triangular shape. This bracket is welded to the rear of tubular housing 29, preferably by seaming along its length, and to an upright, relatively thin-walled extension 33 of housing 29, shown as being integral with the latter. Bracket 32 is of substantial thickness, and is rigidly seam-or otherwise welded to the inner surface of transom 16, as at 32, the weld connection also preferably extending along the length of the aft end of bracket 32. As will be understood, each of the elevator flaps 12 is equipped with a control mechanism 26, including a protective housing 29 mounted in the manner just described. Brackets 32 also serve to mount the prime movers of the respective controls 26, as will be described.
An elongated cylindrical actuator or connecting rod 36 extends upwardly within each housing 29 from a clevis-type pivotal connection by a pin 35 to the block 27 on the upper surface of planing elevator 12. At its upper end the rod 36 is forked at 37 for another clevis connection, through the agency of a pivot pin 38-, to a cylindrical plug 39, which is fitted snugly into the cylindrical bore of a sleeve-like sealing piston member 40 of aluminum or other rustproof metal, the plug 39 being fixedly connected by a cross pin 41 to the lower end of sleeve piston 40.
The latter is slidably received in the counter-bored, relatively thin-walled top extension 33 of tubular housing 29, being of substantial axial length; and piston 40 is provided with a pair of axially spaced O-rings 42 to pro vide a watertight seal between the same and the interior of housing extension 33. The latter may be provided with an appropriate oil fitting 43 for lubricating the relatively sliding surfaces.
For the purpose of operatively connecting the piston 40 to its prime mover, the piston has a nut 45, preferably of nylon or other plastic of good anti-friction property, fitting into a counterbore at its top. Nut 45 is secured in place by diametrically-opposed pins 46 carried by the Wall of piston 40 and engaged in side recesses in the nut.
An elongated threaded actuator rod or screw 48 mates from above with the nut 45, entering the protective housing 29 through a suitable packing 49 in an opening in a top closure member 50 of the housing. As shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, screw 48 is rotatably driven by a speed reducer 51, which has a swiveled mount within a fixed,
U-shaped bracket extension 52. The mount is effected through the agency of suitable trunnion means 53; and reducer 51 is driven by a small, appropriately rated electric motor 54 of the reversing type, preferably through an appropriate yieldable coupling 55, with motor 54 being fixedly mounted on one of the arms of bracket extension 52. The latter is itself fixedly mounted by appropriate means to the upper end of a vertically elongated, rigid strap 56, which strap is rigidly secured by a pair of bolts 57 to the upper end of the basic mounting bracket 32 for the control mechanism 28.
Motor 54 is battery energized through conventional circuitry (not shown), which may, if desired, incorporate limit switch means to appropriately restrict the period of motor energization. However, the yieldable coupling 55 may of itself act to limit the axial and swinging throw of the actuator or connecting rod 36. The rotation of screw 48 attending motor energization causes nylon nut 45 and the sleeve piston 40 to shift the rod 36 longitudinally in one direction or another, attended by a corresponding pivotal adjustment of the planing elevator or flap 12 about its piano hinge 22. The inner diameter of protective housing 29 is sufficient to accommodate the necessary very slight swing of connecting rod 36 which accompanies its longitudinal shift. This swing amounts to a very few degrees, represented by the angle a between the centerline XX of the screw 48 and the centerline YY of rod 36, as pivoted to piston plug 39 by clevis pin 38.
The relatively slight and restricted adjustments of the elevator flaps 12 make possible the safe and foolproof handling of the boat by adjustment of the angularity of one or the other of the planing members 12. The parts of the control mechanism 28 are well shielded by tubular housing 29, being protected both against excessive bilge water and any velocity head which might be built up within the tube 29 in reverse running at full throttle, for example. Quite obviously, the control mechanisms 28 are readily adapted to remote electrical control from the wheel, regardless of where the latter is situated on the craft. The structure is rigid and rust-resistant, adapted for efficient use throughout the life of the boat.
The elongated nature of housing 29 has been mentioned; and the main reason for this is to dispose sleeve piston 40 at a sufficiently elevated level to keep it free of water, without need for sealing, as at the O-rings 42. Under normal conditions, these come into effect only when the craft is operating in reverse and the resultant velocity head forces water up to the zone of the piston. This lends a great deal of security to the unit, the seals being in effect for insurance only.
What is claimed is:
1. Control means for watercraft, comprising a planing member hinged to the hull of the craft'on a transverse axis forward of the stern, and an actuator. mechanism to pivotally adjust the angle of the planing mem ber relative to the hull in operative positions of said member, said mechanism including an elongated upright tubular housing opening downwardly through the hull forward of the transom closely adjacent thereto, there being a water-tight seal of the housing to the hull at this point, upright bracket means rigidly connecting said housing to the hull transom rearwardly of the housing, an elongated actuator rod disposed in said housing and pivotally connected at its lower end to said planing memher, said rod being received in said housing with sufficient lateral clearance for side shift attending axial adjusting movement of the rod, a prime mover to so adjust said rod, and means operatively connecting the upper end of said rod to said prime mover, comprising a tubular piston slidable in said housing and pivotally connected at a lower end to said rod, said piston having a water-tight seal to the housing in moving axially in the latter and being provided with internal nut means coaxial therewith, elongated screw means mating with said nut means, and means drivingly connecting one of said screw and nut means to said prime mover to adjust said actuator rod and said planing member upon relative rotation of said last named means.
2. Control means for watercraft, comprising a planing member hinged to the hull of the craft on a transverse ax s forward of, the stern, said member being substantial ly flat and flush with the surface of the hull in an inoperative retracted position, with the rear of the member substantially flush with the bottom of the crafts transom, and an actuator mechanism to pivotally adjust the angle of the planing member relative to the hull in operative positions of said member, said mechanism including an elongated upright tubular housing opening downwardly through the hull forward of the transom closely adjacent thereto, there being a water-tight seal of the housing to the hull at this point, upright bracket means rigidly connecting said housing to the hull transom rearwardly of the housing, an elongated actuator rod disposed in said housing and pivotally connected at its lower end to said planing member, said rod being received in said housing with sufficient lateral clearance for side shift attending axial adjusting movement of the rod, a prime mover to so adjust said rod, and means operatively connecting the upper end of said rod to said prime mover, comprising a tubular piston slidable in said housing and pivotally connected at a lower end to said rod, said piston having a water-tight seal to the housing in moving axially in the latter and being provided with internal nut means coaxial therewith, elongated screw means mating with said nut means, and means drivingly connecting one of said screw and nut means to said prime mover to adjust said actuator rod and said planing member upon relative rotation of said last named means.
3. The control means of claim 2, in which said prime mover comprises an electric motor having a speed reducer drivingly connected to said screw means.
4. The control of claim 3, in which said motor and speed reducer are mounted on said bracket means.
5. In a motor driven cruiser having at least one stern propeller and provided with a substantially vertical stern transom and a pair of flat metal hull sections extending forwardly from said transom between the keel and the underwater chines, together forming a V-shaped metal hull control means for watercraft comprising a planning member mounted on each of said metal hull sections for movable adjustment relative thereto, each planning member being positioned close to one of said chines with its rear end closely adjacent said stern transom, and an actuator mechanism to so adjust said member comprising an elongated actuator rod operatively connected at a lower end thereof to said planning member, an elongated tubular housing having a water-tight sealed connection to the hull at an opening in the latter closely adjacent said stern transom through which said rod extends, said housing being of gerater diameter than said rod to accommodate lateral shift of the latter in its adjusting lmovement, and means operatively connected to said rod adjacent the upper end thereof to adjust the latter longitudinally, said housing affording water-tight sealed protection for the rod and the adjusting means therefor well above the bottom of the hull.
6. In a motor boat of the cruiser type having a metal hull with the stern portion V-shaped in cross section with straight sides from a central keel to underwater chines at opposite sides, said motor boat provided with a stern transom and two propellers beneath opposite sides of said V-shaped metal hull, a pair of individually adjustable flat planing members on opposite sides of said hull adjacent said stern transom and adjacent the respective side chines, each planing member being hinged to the hull at its forward end with its rear end adjacent to but not projecting beyond said rear transom, each planing member being pivotable about its hinge from a position flush against the hull bottom through a limited arc of depression for the purpose of controlling the running attitude of the boat, each planing member being flat and rigid and having on the under side near the rear a bracket, an actuator rod for each planing member pivotally connected to said bracket and extending upwardly through an opening at the intersection of said hull with said transom, an elongated tubular metal housing surrounding each actuator rod and integrated into said hull where said hull adjoins said transom, there being a Water-tight seal of the housing to the hull at this point, upright bracket means rigidly connecting said housing to the stern transom rearwardly of the housing, said rod being received in said housing with suflicient lateral clearance for side shift attending axial adjusting movement of the rod, a prime mover to so adjust said rod, and means UNITED STATES PATENTS 956,487 4/ 1910 Fauber. 1,003,364 9/1911 Langston 114-66-.5 1,868,054 7/ 1932 Easthope 11466 .5 3,371,642 3/196 8 Joy 114 66'.5 3,435,795 4/1969 Eckfield 11466.5
ANDREW H. FARRELL, Primary Examiner