US 3869743 A
A watercraft of classic kayak configuration which is collapsible and which disassembles to a compact package. The hull structure, to which a plastic or like skin is slip fit, includes a framework of tube-like elements interconnecting transverse rib means and end pieces in the form of nose members. The skin assists in holding the framework in an assembled relation and provision is made for its simplified removal. In the absence of the skin, the tube-like elements may be readily detached, at least at their one ends, and collapsed for compact packaging with other watercraft components.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Brown et al.
[ 51 Mar. 11, 1975 1 KAYAK  Filed: July 14, 1972  Appl. No.: 272,057
 US. Cl. 9/2 C, 9/6  Int. Cl B63b 7/00  Field of Search 9/5, 2.5, 2 C, 6; 287/21  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1.067.659 Kankkonen FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 269,290 4/1927 Great Britain 9/2 C Primary liraminer-Robert J. Spar Assistant Examiner-Donald W. Underwood Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Jerome P. Bloom  ABSTRACT A watercraft of classic kayak configuration which is collapsible and which disassembles to a compact package. The hull structure, to which a plastic or like skin is slip fit. includes a framework of tube-like elements interconnecting transverse rib means and end pieces in the form of nose members. The skin assists in holding the framework in an assembled relation and provision is made for its simplified removal. 1n the absence of the skin, the tube-like elements may be readily detached, at least at their one ends, and collapsed for compact packaging with other watercraft components.
7 Claims. 9 Drawing Figures PATENTED MRI 1 I975 FIG! sum 1 0f 2 "with.
FIG-2 FIG-3 FIG-4 KAYAK BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The kayak type canoe enjoys considerable popularity as a watercraft. It has certain disadvantages, however, stemming at least in part from its unitary, essentially hand-made construction. It does not lend itself to mass production and is, therefore, relatively expensive. Traditionally made light in weight for ease of maneuvering and portage, kayak type craft of the prior art achieve this advantage at the cost of being fragile and easily damaged. Although relatively easily carried, as from one navigable portion of a stream to another, the prior art devices are not subject to assembly and disassembly and do not fold or collapse to a compact package. They are not easily stored, therefore, and have limited attraction to campers who require equipment that reduces to a package form for easy handling and transporting and which can readily be erected or assembled for use.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION A kayak type watercraft according to the present invention obviates objections of the prior art. The hull is comprised of a comparatively few number of parts which can be cheaply mass produced. Certain components are disengageable from one another and assembly and disassembly of the craft is easily accomplished. According to a feature of the invention assembly does not require the use of separable fasteners, parts being inherently interfitting. A plastic or like skin, which can conveniently be zippered into and out of position covering the canoe hull, assists in maintaining disengageable parts in an assembled relation. I-lull components are strong but light weight and in an illustrated form of the invention include elongate tubes sealed at their ends for greater buoyancy. Metallic and plastic constructions can be used, insuring strength and a long useful life.
An object of the invention is to provide a generally new kayak type watercraft remedying and avoiding difficulties of the prior art.
Another object of the invention is to provide a watercraft which is collapsible and disassembles to a compact package.
A further object of the invention is to provide a watercraft having a simple, light weight hull structure comprised at least in part of components interengageably connected and held in an assembled relation by a removable slip fit skin.
Still another object of the invention is to introduce a use of mass produced components in a watercraft hull which can conveniently and inexpensively be made of light weight but strong metallic and plastic materials.
A still further object of the invention is to construct a watercraft hull of transverse rib and nose components uniquely joined by a framework of tube-like connectors releasably connected to one component and pivotally connected to the other.
With the above and other incidental objects in view as will more fully appear in the specification, the invention intended to be protected by Letters Patent consists of the features of construction and of the parts and combinations thereof, as hereinafter described or illustrated in the accompanying drawings, or their equivalents.
Referring to the accompanying drawings, wherein it is found one but not necessarily the only form of embodiment of the invention:
FIG. 1 is a view in longitudinal section of a kayak type watercraft in accordance with the illustrated embodiment of the invention, the outer skin covering being omitted;
FIG, 2 is a top plan view of the structure shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 3 is a view like FIG. 1, showing the skin covering installed over the hull structure;
FIG. 4 is a top plan view of the kayak as shown in FIG. 3;
FIG. 5 is an enlarged elevation view of a rib device comprised in the hull structure of the invention kayak taken from a view on line 5-5 of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a view in side elevation of the rib device of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 is a detail view, in front elevation, of a nose section of the invention hull structure;
FIG. 8 is a fragmentary view, in longitudinal section, of a nose section of the watercraft showing the connector elements which dispose between a nose section and a rib device in a disconnected collapsed condition; and
FIG. 9 is a sectional view showing the selective application of the kayak skin and the utilization thereof in accordance with the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF A PREFERRED EMBODIMENT OF THE INVENTION Referring to the drawings, a kayak type watercraft according to the illustrated embodiment of the invention includes a hull structure comprised of a plurality of interengageable relatively separable parts including transverse rib devices 10 and 12, oppositely projected nose members 14 and 16, and sets of interconnecting connector elements 18, 20 and 22.
The rib devices 10 and 12 are identical so that a description of one will suffice for both. As shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 each is comprised of a continuous relatively narrow strip of material, such as aluminum, having a loop form giving it a picture frame appearance. The opposite faces of said strip are flat and generally parallel and each frame, as employed, defines a plane transverse to the central longitudinal axis of the hull structure. A series of identically positioned, spaced apart, stud-like protuberances 26 is connected integral with and extends from each of the opposite faces of the rib frame. These studs are so disposed as to position in pairs, the studs of each pair being transversely aligned and equidistantly spaced from a vertical plane extending through the center of the hull structure. As shown in the drawings, the respective pairs of studs are at three different horizontal levels, identified as levels A, B, and C. As will be seen, as the kayak skin is applied, the studs 26 at the lowermost level A, which are relatively close, define the bottom of a kayak in the area of the rib devices. Between the studs 26 at the level A, the bottom portion 28 of the frame defining each rib device is upwardly displaced in an arc form, on a generally uniform radius, to outline a concavity in the base of the hull structure. The studs 26 at the intermediate level B are spaced outwardly of those at the level A and lie in a horizontal plane parallel thereto and spaced fairly closely thereabove. Between the studs 26 at levels B and A, to either side of the central vertical plane of the hull structure, the rib frame has each of the lower side portions 30 thereof formed on a generally uniform radius similarly to the bottom frame portion 28. At the uppermost level C, which is spaced upwardly of the level B a greater distance than the level B is spaced above the level A, the studs26 are spaced further apart than the studs at level B. Between adjacent studs 26 at the levels C and B, to either side of the hull structure, the upper side portions of the rib frame again have an arc form, the configuration of which is defined by a generally uniform radius. Thus, the bottom and side portions of each rib device are arranged to define concavities in defining the outline of the outermost surface portions of the hull structure. However, between studs 26 at the uppermost level C, the rib frame extends in an upwardly bowed flat curve formed on a generally uniform radius. Thus, in a transverse sense the rib devices and 12 provide a top for the hull structure which has a flatly arcuate outline.
The nose members 14 and 16 have an identical hollow boxlike form and in this case also a description of one will suffice for both. As shown in the drawings, each nose member is open at its lateral sides and includes a vertically disposing back wall 32, a top wall 34, a bottom wall 36 and a forward wall 38. A series of rectangularly arranged apertures 33, in this instance six in all, are formed in the back wall 32. The apertures 33 are disposed in pairs, one pair lying in each of three horizontal and equidistantly spaced planes. The apertures 33 of each of the horizontally disposed pairs are equidistantly spaced also.
Each of the top and bottom walls 34 and 36 of each nose member has a generally triangular outline the base of which connectsto the back wall 32 and the apex of which is trunctated and joined to the forward wall 38, the latter of which is provided by a relatively narrow plate segment. Since the bottom wall 36 is shorter than the top wall 34, the forward wall 38 inclines downwardly and inwardly of each nose member.
Accordingly, each nose member has a relatively narrow blunt projected extremity, the sides thereof converge towards the projected extremity, and the outermost face thereof is sloped inwardly of the hull structure.
The individual connector elements of each of the sets 18, and 22 .eaeh comprise a substantially identical element 40 of cylindrical form. In the preferred embodiment illustrated. each element 40 has an open tube-like configuration and may be made of a material such as aluminum or plastic. The primary consideration is that the tube be lightweight, yet substantially rigid in form so as to impart adequate strength to the hull structure. The inner diameter of each of the elements 40 is so formed and dimensioned to enable an end thereof to telescope about and friction fit to a stud 26 such as formed on the rib devices 10 and 12. The telescoping fit provided is so designed to be sufficiently close as to substantially seal the tube 40 at the end thereof which couples to a stud but to allow for a relatively easy axial engagement and disengagement of the tube with respect to the stud and the related rib device, the surface of which the coupled tube end will abut.
With reference to FIG. 1 it may be seen that the set 20 of the tube-like connector elements 40 are disposed between the rib devices 10 and 12 to telescope on their facing and relatively aligned stud portions 26 in a manner believed obvious. On the other hand, the tube-like connectors 40 forming the respective sets 18 and 22 of .the connector elementshave their one ends telescoped studs 26 of the rib devices 10 and 12 while'their opposite ends are respectively projected for'c'onnection to the nose members 14 and 16. In each of the ends of the connector elements 40 which dispose adjacent a nose member is inserted an adapter element 42 used for connection thereof to a nose member.
The adapters 42 each having a cylindrically shaped body portion 44 one end of which may be frictionally coupled to seal the related end of a connector element 40. Formed on the body portion 44, intermediate the ends thereof, is a radially projected circumferential flange 48. The latter provides a shoulder which the end of the connector element may abut as the adapter is slip or press fit in sealing relation thereto. The end of the adapter 42 remote from the portion which mounts the related connector element 40 is expanded to provide thereon a head 50 of generally truncated conical form. As may be seen with reference to FIG. 8 of the drawings, this head 50 is adapted to be thrust through an aperture 33 in the back wall 32 of a nose member.
It is noted that the adapters 42 are preferably formed of a low density polyethylene material by an injection molding or like process. The expanded heads 50 thereof are made sufficiently resilient to accommodate deformation in thrusting thereof through an aperture 33 of a nose member and to return to original form whereby to provide that the shoulder provided by the expanded head 50 will abut the inner surface zof the back wall 34 of the related nose member so as to resist its inadvertent withdrawal from the nose member.
As has been noted previously, the body 44 of each adapter may have a press fit into a respectively related tube-like connector element 40 in a simple and obvious manner. If desired, the cylindrically formed body portion of the adapter 42 may be slightly tapered to facilitate its insertion inthe connector element 40. However, in any case the dimensioning may be such to provide for an easy connection and disconnection of the elements, as may be require'd,.by opposite and axial pull on the respectively telescoped elements,
It is comprehended in a preferred view'of the invention embodiment that the hull components be constructed with a view to obtaining the most favorable weight to strength ratio. By reason of the construction here provided, lightweight metals and strong plastics may be used throughout. The rib devices 10 and I2 lend themselves to casting and may, as in the illustrated instance, be formed in one piece out of an aluminum alloy material. Similarly, connector elements 40 may be simple aluminum alloy tubing or rod formed by extruding'or similar process. In the event of rod formed elements '40,.the mating coupling elements may be tubular, for example. The hollow construction, however, provides lightness of weight and since the tubes are sealed at both ends, contributes to buyoancy of the craft. The tube elements may be given any desired or needed curvature to conform to hull configuration. Additionally, the nose sections 14 and 16 are preferably though not necessarily made of an impact resistant material and one providing for some deformation to accommodate stress and compression.
As is evident from the foregoing, the hull structure of the kayak is so designed to lend itself to easy assembly and disassembly. In the assembly process the rib de' vices l0 and 12 will occupy longitudinally spaced apart positions substantially aligned with each other and substantially aligning their opposite stud portions 26, at which point the tube connector elements of the set 20 may have their respective ends telescoped on and sealed by the relatively opposite studs of an aligned pair to which they couple. This establishes the rib devices and 12 in the required spaced relation and forms thereby a substantially rigid sub-assembly. To the outermost faces of the rib devices and through the medium of the projected stud portions 26 thereon are coupled the connector elements of the respective sets 18 and 22. It is contemplated in accordance with the invention that the ends of the elements 40 of the sets 18 and 22 have previously had press fit therein the body portions 44 of adapter elements 42 while the heads 50 of the adapter elements 42 have previously been coupled to a related nose member by projection to the interior thereof through apertures 33 in the back wall of the related nose member. Thus, with the connection of the elements 40 of the sets 18 and 22 to the respective outer faces of the rib devices 10 and 12, the invention hull structure is complete.
It will be seen from the drawings and the foregoing description that the adapters 42 provide a sub-assembly for either end of the hull structure wherein the nose member is interconnected with the tube-like elements 40 of the related set 18 or 22 in a manner to provide for a swinging movement of the connector elements 40 relative the nose member. This permits a disassembly of the hull structure in selective sections for carrying purposes. The end sections including a nose member, adapters 42 and connected tubes may be collapsed and carried as a sub-assembly since the connector tubes 40 thereof may be brought together in side by side longitudinally extending relation.
It is contemplated, therefore, in accordance with one aspect of the invention, that the whole hull structure may be comprised of elements which are merely frictionally related. Such structure is contained in the assembled form by a skin covering 52. The latter is shaped to the hull configuration and may be made of a reinforced plastic laminate fabric. The part of the skin forming the bottom and the sides is integrated with that defining the top. In preferred embodiment the portion of the skin forming the top is provided centrally thereof with an opening 54 rimmed by an upstanding flotation collar structure 56. The collar structure 56 may act as a splash protector. In the illustrated instance it incorporates flotation material lending the craft and its load a positive element of buoyancy in the event of submersion. The collar section 56 may also include flap extension means to attach to the occupant of the cockpit area of the craft which is formed within the hull structure in the area of opening 54. The flap extension provides for added protection in that it inhibits taking water on board the craft. The skin covering is split at the top in the central vertical plane of the craft, from the collar to one nose section. The split portion is provided with a slide fastener 58.
As seen from the drawings and particularly FIG. 9 thereof, the skin as applied to the simple hull structure, which may be very quickly assembled, is of such a nature that it assumes a body form which is defined in the area of the rib devices 10 and 12 by the uppermost upwardly bowed surface portions 35 and by the points of the rib frames which are defined by the positions of the studs 26. In conventional application, the side and bot tom portions of the rib frames cause the side and bottom portions of the skin to produce flats between stud mounting bottom and side portions of the frames. Accordingly, the concavities defined in the rib frames between the positions of the studs 26 will afford relief within the hull structure to accommodate an inward stretching of skin portions between the areas in which they bear on the points of the rib frames. It is to be understood, of course, that the points of the rib frames, against which the skin bears are smoothly arcuate in configuration.
While not required, a pin-like coupling element may be inserted through interconnecting and telescoping portions of the connector elements 40 and studs 26 or adapters 42. This may be desired where one has a more loosely related skin structure. However, the basic concepts and the nature and manner of provision of the elements of the hull structure will remain the same.
It will be obvious that once the hull structure is assembled that the single zippered split portion of the skin may be opened and the hull structure quickly and easily inserted into the skin. On closing the zipper there is a snug fitting relation of the skin to the hull framework. To a degree depending on the tightness with which the skin is designed to fit, the skin will conform to the nose sections as well as to the ribbed side portions of the hull structure and impose a reactant pressure on the nose sections 14 and 16 and transmit to the tube-like elements 40 and the interposed rib devices a reactant pressure which will inhibit the separation of the elements.
Of course, to disassemble the craft the slide fastener 58 of the skin may be opened and the skin readily stripped from the hull structure, whereupon the connectors 40 of the sets 18 and 22 may be readily and axially pulled free of engagement with the rib devices 10 and 12. The rib devices 10 and 12 may then be pulled free of the connector devices 40 of the set 20. As noted previously, the pivotal connection of the elements 40 of the sets 18 and 22 to the respective nose members allows them to be not only readily spread apart and interfitted with studs 26 on the related rib devices during assembly but in disassembly to be closed upon one another to a position such as shown in FIG. 8 of the drawings, for convenient handling and packaging.
It will be observed that a watercraft in accordance with the present invention is symmetrical so as to lend it stability and maximum ease and versatility of movement and maneuvering. As has been commented, the form of the rib devices with their concavities give the completed craft unique relief of stress on the outer skin, which skin can accommodate impact and adjust in clearing encountered obstructions without material effect on the craft or damage to the rib devices. Moreover, the relief provided by the rib devices lend the construction a form enabling the imparting of a bubble effect for stability and low center of gravity.
Referring to FIG. 9 of the drawings once more, it may be seen that the skin can have an original tension and- /or configuration to enable it to readily adapt towards the peripheral outline of the bottom and side portions of the rib devices so as to produce pockets in the bottom of the watercraft lending lateral stability in an obvious manner.
For portage, once the components are quickly and easily disassembled, the elements 40 may be assembled in a compact side by side relation, a portion thereof having interrelated therewith the adapters 42 and the vention can be readily adapted to various craft. For example, the length of the basic hull structure may be increased by the addition of further transverse rib devices such as the devices 10 and 12 with additional interconnecting' tube-like elements 40, whereupon the hull structure may be used in duplicate and with related skins to form a twin-hulled catamaran type watercraft. In this case the two pods or hulls may be placed in side by side spaced apart relation and interconnected by a superposed platform type deck. in accordance with the present invention the deck would be constructed for easily disassembly and folding so as to be packaged similarly to the hulls for easy portage. Of course, the upper bridging portions of the rib devices would provide locations for positive support and attachment of the deck and the skin coverings employed would be suitably adapted for the needs of the catamaran type unit.
From the above description it will be apparent that there is thus provided a device of the character described possessing the particular features of advantage before enumerated as desirable, but which obviously is susceptible of modification in its form, proportions, detail construction and arrangement of parts without departing from the principle involved or sacrificing any of its advantages.
.While in order to comply with the statute the invention has been described in language more or less specific as to structural features, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to the specific features shown, but that the means and construction herein disclosed comprise but one of several modes of putting the invention into effect and the invention is therefore claimed in any of its forms or modifications within the legitimate and valid scope of the appended claims.
Having thus described our invention, we claim:
1. A watercraft providing a hull relatively broad intermediate its ends and tapering therefrom toward appreciably more narrow nose portions at its opposite ends, including intermediately disposing transverse rib means, nose members separate from and spaced longitudinally from said transverse rib means, and a framework of individual connector elements extending between and interconnecting said rib means and said nose members, characterized by said rib means including at least one rib device having plug-like protuberances defih'ing an arrangement of attachment locations for said connector elements which conforms, approximately, to the transverse outline of the hull at a mid section thereof, said connector elements which connect to said rib means being tubular to provide for their slip fit to said protuberances, each of said nose members being hollow and presenting in a rear face thereof a plurality of closely grouped openings, and an end of each said connector element which connects to a nose member having in connection therewith an adapter portion of barblike configuration the form of which facilitates its penetration of one of said openings while resisting withdrawal therefrom, said adapter portions of barb-like configuration being relatively loosely received in said openings to provide for free pivotal movement thereof with respect to the related one of said nose members 5 and tight fitting cover means in containing relation to the assembly comprising said rib means, said nose members and said connectors in an assembled relation thereof.
2. A watercraft according to claim 1, wherein each said nose member is made of a molded plastic or the like and the said adapter portions of said connector elements are snap fitted to effect a generally semipermanent connection thereof to said nose members.
3. A water craft providing a hull relatively broad intermediate its ends and tapering therefrom toward appreciably more narrow nose portions at its opposite ends, comprising intermediately disposing transverse rib means including at least two rib devices longtitudinally spaced apart in a mid-section of said hull, each rib device having a frame-like configuration and a unitary lightweight rigid construction embodying connector means, nose members separate from and spaced longitudinally from said rib devices, individual connector elements in the form of substantially rigid tubes some of which extend between and interconnect said rib devices and others of which have one end connected with a nose member and the other end connected with the adjacent of said rib devices, said tube connector elements having a plug and socket-type connection with the connector means of said rib devices and being separable therefrom for assembly and disassembly of said hull and the said tube connector elements which connect to said nose members each having a barb-like adapter at the end thereof which connects to the related nose member, said barblike adapters being snap fit to said nose members and tight fitting cover means in containing relation to the assembly comprising said rib means, said nose members and said connector elements, said tight fitting cover means being applied to hold said rib means and said interconnecting elements in an assembled relation.
4. A watercraft including a hull structure comprised of transverse rib means in the form of an open framework and, longitudinally spaced therefrom, means defining shaped nose elements, rod-like longitudinally extending connector elements disposing between the respective nose elements and the adjacent portions of said rib means, means pivotally attaching said connector elements to said nose elements and means defining detachable telescoping connections between said connector elements and said adjacent portions of said rib means providing for interfitting assembly thereof without the need for tools, said hull structure having an enveloping skin the configuration of which is defined by the outline of said rib means and said nose elements, and said rib means having portions thereof displaced inwardly from said skin to provide an accommodation of a displacement of said skin due to externally applied forces.
5. A watercraft including a hull structure comprised of transverse rib means in the form of an open framework and, longitudinally spaced therefrom, means defining shaped nose elcments, rod-like longitudinally extended connector elements disposing between said rib means and the respective nose elements, means pivotally attaching said connector elements to said nose elements, and means defining telescoping connections between said connector elements and said rib means providing for an interfitting assembly thereof into a hull structure without the need for tools, said hull structure having an enveloping skin the configuration of which is defined by the outline of said rib means and said nose elements, said rib means having the bottom thereof displaced inwardly from said skin in a concave arcuate configuration and side portions being similarly formed to lend strength and stability to the assembled watercraft and to accommodate displacement of said skin due to externally applied forces.
6. A watercraft as in claim wherein the upper portion of said rib means is a flatly arcuate frame section presenting a convex surface uppermost.
7. A watercraft providing a hull relatively broad intermediate its ends and tapering therefrom toward appreciably more narrow nose portions at its opposite ends, including intermediately disposing transverse rib means, at least one of which rib means has a unitary construction with stud-like protuberances projecting to either side thereof in outlines corresponding substantially to the cross sectional outline of a watercraft hull, nose members separate from and longitudinally spaced from said transverse rib means, a framework of individual connector elements extending between and interconnecting said rib means and said nose members, said connector elements achieving a plug and socket relationship with said stud-like protuberances and being separable from at least one of said rib means or respective nose members for purposes of assembly and disassembly, and a skin slip fit in containing relation to the assembly comprising said rib means, said nose members and said connectors, said skin holding said rib means and said interconnecting connector elements in an assembled relation, said one rib means having a frame-like shape an upper part of which is arched to act as a skin support and handle and side and bottom parts of which have said stud-like protuberances projecting therefrom in a substantially continuous arcuate series form, the frame-like shape of said one rib means including along a bottom part thereof recessed formations of longitudinal extent constituting a series of inwardly directed arches between stud-like protuberances.