US 3580209 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent i 13,ss0,209
 Inventor BirgerH.0lson Lansing, Mich.  AppLNo. 856,657  Filed Sept. 10,1968  Patented May2S,1971
 CONTROLLED RELEASE SAFETY CLEAT 7 Claims, 4 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 114/218, 24/115  Int.Cl ..B63b21/08  FieldoiSearch 114/218, 199,2l5;24/1l5, 132, 133, 134, 249
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 832,104 10/1906 Walter 24/249 2,932,873 4/1960 Reichert 24/134(X) 3,091,207 5/1963 Songer 24/134(X) 3,161,393 12/1964 Swanson 24/249(X) Primary Examiner-Milton Buchler Assistant Examiner.lames E. Pittenger Attorney-Miller, Morriss, Pappas & McLeod ABSTRACT: A friction-controlled release safety cleat apparatus for automatically and controllably permitting movement of a sheet therethrough in response to an excess force acting on the sheet. The cleat apparatus consists of a base member having a raised sheet guide wall along one side thereof. A spring biased cam arm is pivotally mounted on the base member and is provided with a freely rotatable ratchet wheel thereon. The ratchet surface of the ratchet wheel is adapted to press against a sheet positioned against the guide wall. A tightening means is provided on the cam arm in association with the ratchet wheel so as to selectively restrict the ratchet wheel against rotation below a predetermined force level. The ratchet wheel and sheet guide wall are adapted to retainably hold a sheet therebetween against movement and to permit a controlled playing out of the sheet only while a predetermined force upon the sheet is being exceeded.
Patented May 25, 1971 INVENTOR E/RGfHM 0150 ATTORNEYS CONTROLLED RELEASE SAFETY CLEAT SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a friction-controlled release safety cleat apparatus for sail boats whereby a sheet is retained against movement as long as the force exerted thereagainst is below a certain predetermined force level selectively set by the sailor. Once the predetermined force on the sheet is exceeded, the cleat apparatus of this invention permits a controlled playing out of the sheet in response to such excess force acting thereon. When the force acting on the sheet falls below the predetermined force level, the sheet is again automatically restrained against movement. Thus, the sheet remains in full engagement with the cleat apparatus at all times.
PRIOR ART The use of automatic release cleats for sail boats is well known in the prior art. Representative of such prior art are the US. Pat. Nos. 3,046,929 and 3,113,545. In general, the structures of the prior art are configured to restrict the sheet against movement, with the retentive pressure on the sheet increasing in direct proportion to the force being exerted on the sheet. The automatic release cleats of the prior art are further configured to automatically snap release the sheet when a predetermined force on the sheet is reached. In the automatic release cleats of the prior art, the sheet is completely released and disengaged from the cleat apparatus. If the excessive force on the sheet and sail subsides, the sheet must be retrieved and reengaged with the cleat apparatus.
Nowhere in the devices of the prior art is there found an automatic friction-controlled release safety cleat such as the present invention wherein a predetermined release force level can selectively be preset so that the sheet is controllably allowed to play out so as to relieve excess force acting thereagainst. At no time is the sheet disengaged from the cleat apparatus.
Nowhere in the devices of the prior art is there found a safety release cleat such as the present invention which maintains positive control of the sheet while it is permitted to move through the cleat assembly in response to excess force acting thereagainst and which prevents further movement of the sheet therethrough when the excess or gust force is terminated.
The controlled release safety cleat finds particular utility in racing. The angle of keel is automatically maintained by use of this safety cleat. It functions more quickly than a person would release a sheet from an ordinary cam cleat.
OBJECTS It is therefore an object of this invention to provide an automatic friction-controlled release safety cleat which controllably permits movement of a sheet therethrough in response to an excess force exerted thereon.
Another object of this invention is to provide a release safety cleat apparatus which can be selectively adjusted so as to controllably permit a sheet to play out when the sail force acting thereon exceeds a predetermined force set by the sailor.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an automatic release safety cleat apparatus which retainably holds a sheet therein at all times but permits movement of the sheet therethrough in response to a force exerted on the sheet above a preset predetermined force lever.
Yet another object of this invention is to provide an automatic release safety cleat which controllably plays out a sheet in response to any force in excess of a predetermined force level, but which maintains operative engagement with the sheet at all times.
Still another object of this invention is to provide an automatic release safety cleat which maintains full engagement with a sheet at all times while controllably permitting movement of the sheet therethrough in response to gust forces and which provides for quick retrimming of the sheet back through the cleat to its original or any desired postgust force setting.
Other objects and advantages found in the construction of the invention will be apparent from a consideration of the following specification in connection with the appended claims and the accompanying drawings. In the drawings:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the controlled release safety cleat showing a sheet held therein.
FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view of the invention taken on line Il-II of FIG. 4.
FIG. 3 is a side elevational view of the invention mounted on a rotatable mounting bracket having a block pulley in as sociation therewith.
FIG. 4 is a top view of the invention mounted on the rotata ble mounting bracket as shown in FIG. 3.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION In general, a friction-controlled release safety cleat is provided which engages a sheet in such a manner that the sheet is permitted to slowly play out when the force acting thereagainst exceeds a predetermined force level. The safety cleat maintains positive engagement with the sheet at all times, even during the periods when excess gust forces are applied to the sheet. Once the force against the sheet falls below a predetermined safety level, the sail can be quickly trimmed in the usual manner by merely pulling the sheet back through the safety cleat apparatus.
SPECIFIC DESCRIPTION As shown in FIG. 1, the friction-controlled release safety cleat 11 is shown with a sheet 12 positioned therein. The safety cleat 11 consists of a base member 13 which can be secured to a suitable position on a sailing vessel S. The base member 13 is provided with a raised sheet guide wall 14 along one side thereof. A cam arm 15 is pivotally mounted within a recess 16 which is provided on the upper surface of the base 13. A freely rotatable ratchet wheel 17 is mounted on pin 18 which is fixedly attached to and extends upwardly from the arm 15. A tightening knob 19 is provided in association with pin 18 and arm 15 so as to exert a holding force on the ratchet wheel 17 when tightened thereagainst.
As shown in FIG. 2, the pin 18 is fixedly attached to arm 15 and extends upwardly therefrom and downwardly therethrough. The upper end of pin 18 is threaded so as to threadably engage a threaded nut 20 which is fixedly attached to the tightening knob 19.
The pin 18 also extends downwardly from the arm 15 into slot 21 provided in the base 13. A spring 22 is anchored at one end thereof to the wall of slot 21 and is connected to the end of the pin 18 which extends downwardly into slot 21. The spring 22 acts to urge the arm 15 and, hence the ratchet wheel 17, toward the raised sheet guide wall 14 which extends upwardly along one end of the base 13.
As shown in the breakaway view of FIG. 4, a metal washer 23 is keyed to the flattened upper end of pin 18. This prevents rotation of the metal washer when the tightening knob 19 is operated thereagainst. Silicon rubber or rubber washers 24 and 25 are also provided intermediate the metal washers 23 and 26 and the plastic ratchet wheel 17.
In another embodiment of this invention, as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the cleat apparatus 11 is mounted upon a mounting bracket 27. The bracket '27 is rotatably connected to a mounting pedestal 28 which is anchored to the deck of the sailboat. A block pulley assembly 29 is also fixedly provided on the mounting bracket 27 proximate to, aligned with and spaced apart from the cleat apparatus 11 and rotates therewith. The block pulley assembly 29 is configured to operatively receive the sheet 12 as it passes from the cleat II to the sail (not shown). This embodiment of the invention permits the cleat apparatus 11 to rotate in response to changes in direction of the sheet, thus keeping the cleat apparatus 11 in constant operative alignment with the sheet 12.
OPERATION In use, a sheet 12 is positioned along the top of the base 13 and is retained along the sheet guide wall 14 by action of the ratchet wheel 17 pressing thereagainst. A tightening knob 19 threadably engages the threaded upper end of the pin 18. The tightening knob 19 can be selectively tightened downwardly so as to exert a restraining force upon the ratchet wheel 17 so as to restrict the rotation thereof as desired. Thus, the sheet 12 is selectively retained in the safety cleat 11 and cannot move therethrough until a predetermined force thereon is exceeded. When the predetermined force level is reached and exceeded, the ratchet wheel 17 rotates in response to the pull exerted on the sheet so as to permit the sheet to controllably play out, thus relieving the excess pressure thereagainst occasioned by excess wind forces against the sail to which the sheet is attached. When the force on the sheet 12 exceeds the predetermined force level set by the sailor, the ratchet wheel rotates in response to the excess force or pull on the sheet, permitting the sheet to play out between the ratchet wheel 17 and the guide wall 14. When the excess force on the sheet decreases below the predetermined force level, the sheet is again automatically restrained against movement. The original setting (trim) is set by merely pulling the sheet back through the cleat. At no time is the sheet disengaged from the cleat.
It is thus seen that an automatic friction-controlled release safety cleat is provided which protects sailing craft from overturning or otherwise being damaged due to sudden gust forces acting upon the sails thereof. Additional safety is imparted to the sailing of such craft because this invention permits the operator of such craft to devote his full attention and energy to the overall operation of the craft. It is no longer necessary to keep one hand on the sheet so as to retain control thereof as was necessary in the automatic snap release cleats of the prior art. As was previously pointed out, such cleats completely released the sheet and the sheet had to be manually reengaged with the cleat when the sails were to be trimmed after the gust force decreased.
Various other modifications of the invention may be made without departing from the principle thereof. Each of the modifications is to be considered as included in the hereinafter appended claims, unless these claims by their language expressly provide otherwise.
1. In a friction-controlled release safety cleat, the combination comprising:
a. a base member adapted to be secured to a suitable position on a sailing vessel, said base member having a raised sheet guide wall along one side thereof;
b. a spring-biased cam arm pivotally mounted on said base member, said cam arm being spring biased toward said guide wall;
c. a ratchet wheel rotatably mounted on said cam arm, said ratchet wheel positioned on said arm so that the ratchet surface thereof bears against a sheet positioned along said guide wall; and
d. tightening means provided on said cam arm in association with said ratchet wheel, said tightening means adapted to selectively restrict rotation of said ratchet wheel so as to permit controlled movement of a sheet through said safety cleat only when a predetermined force on said sheet is exceeded.
2. The friction-controlled release safety cleat of claim 1 further comprising:
a. a support pedestal;
b. a mounting bracket rotatably mounted at one end thereof on said support pedestal, said mounting bracket having a block pulley fixedly provided thereon above said support pedestal, said mounting bracket adapted to fixedly support said base member of said friction-controlled release safety cleat thereon in an aligned fixed spaced-apart relationship to said block pulley.
3. In the friction-controlled releases safety cleat of claim ll wherein said base member is provided with an elongate cam arm-receiving recess In the upper surface thereof, said base member defining a spring-receiving slot therein, said springreceiving slot being in open communication with said cam arm-receiving recess.
4. In the friction-controlled release safety cleat of claim 3 wherein said cam arm is pivotally mounted within said recess, said cam arm having a mounting pin extending upwardly therefrom and downwardly therethrough into said springreceiving slot.
5. In the friction-controlled release safety cleat of claim 4 wherein a cam ann spring is mounted within said springreceiving slot, said cam arm spring connected at one end thereof to the wall of said slot and at the opposite end thereof to said mounting pin extending downwardly into said slot.
6. In the friction-controlled release safety cleat of claim 5 wherein said ratchet wheel is rotatably mounted on the upwardly extending portion of said mounting pin.
7. In the friction-controlled release safety cleat of claim 6 wherein said tightening means comprise a tightening knob in threadable operative engagement with the upwardly extending portion of said mounting pin, said tightening knob adapted to selectively exert pressure against said ratchet wheel so as to selectively restrict rotation of said ratchet wheel.