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United States Patent 3,724,011
Scholle April 3, 1973

FOLDABLE BOAT

Abstract

A foldable boat is provided having stern and bow sections which can be unfolded and extended from a folded, collapsed and closely nested relationship to a rigid, unitary assemblage ready for use, said stern and bow sections being locked in the extended position by stiffening means which are hingeably associated with the assemblage. The foldable boat of the invention is of a size so that it can be readily transported from place to place on the roof of a car, rack of a station wagon or on the deck of a station wagon and is provided with means to be propelled by outboard motor, sail or oars.


Inventors: Scholle; Roger A. (Scarsdale, NY)
Appl. No.: 05/141,213
Filed: May 7, 1971


Current U.S. Class: 114/353
Current International Class: B63B 7/00 (20060101); B63b 007/00 ()
Field of Search: 9/2F 220/6,7

References Cited

U.S. Patent Documents
67342 July 1867 Olmstead
2157186 May 1939 Pinter, Sr. et al.
Foreign Patent Documents
176,965 Mar., 1922 GB
Primary Examiner: Blunk; Evon C.
Assistant Examiner: Lane; Hadd S.

Claims



What is claimed:

1. A foldable boat comprising a bow section and a stern section each having side decks and each of which terminate in substantially perpendicular, adjacent bulkheads, said bow and stern sections being hingedly secured to each other at opposite ends of said bulkheads in a common pivot axis transverse to said boat at the level of the decks thereof; and, stiffening means at opposed sides of said boat extending onto said bow and stern sections and hingedly secured thereto, said stiffening means being movable from inoperative positions substantially in the plane of said decks to operative positions substantially perpendicular to said decks, each of said stiffening means having a central pivot means extending transversely thereof in alignment with said common pivot axis when said stiffening means are in said inoperative positions such that said stiffening means are capable of being folded with said bow and stern sections when said bow and stern sections are placed in a collapsed position.

2. A foldable boat as defined in claim 1 wherein said stiffening means comprises two pair of stiffening members positioned to form coextensive edges and abutting side edges, the coextensive edges of each pair of stiffening members being hingeably secured to said deck levels and the abutting side edges of said stiffening members being hingeably secured to each other, the axes of the hinges securing said abutting side edges being in alignment with said common pivot axis, such that when said stiffening members are in their inoperative position in alignment with said decks, they can be folded with said bow and stern sections, and when they are in their substantially perpendicular, operative positions they act as an effective truss in forcing said adjacent bulkheads into abutting relationship against each other to maintain the extended bow and stern sections in a rigid, unitary relationship; and, means for locking said stiffening members in place when they are in their substantially perpendicular operative positions.

3. A foldable boat as defined in claim 2 wherein said locking means comprise a plurality of knee braces at opposed sides of said boat, one end of each knee brace being pivotally secured to one of said stiffening members and the other end thereof being secured to one of said bulkheads, and the pivoted midpoints of said knee braces being spring loaded, said knee braces providing a toggle action to assist in raising said stiffening members to their operative positions.

4. A foldable boat as defined in claim 1 wherein the upper edges of said adjacent bulkheads are provided with cutouts such that when said bow and stern sections are in a collapsed, folded condition, said stiffening members are accommodated in said recesses.

5. A foldable boat as defined in claim 1 wherein the end of said stern section remote from the bulkhead thereof is provided with a transom extending above said side decks; and, a stern deck area comprising a plurality of triangularly shaped stern deck sections inclined downwardly toward their apexes and which terminate at a drain, said drain extending through said transom above the water line but substantially below the gunwales of said boat such that water washed onto said stern deck area can be easily drained off.

6. A foldable boat as defined in claim 5 wherein the contour of said stern deck area is capable of accommodating the bow of said foldable boat in a nested position therein when said stern and bow sections are in a collapsed position; and, said transom has an aperture therein through which a ring secured by a link to said bow can be inserted such that said bow and stern sections can be locked together when said foldable boat is in its collapsed position.

7. A foldable boat as defined in claim 1 wherein said bow section has a bow deck area remote from the bulkhead of said bow section, said bow deck area having means associated therewith for supporting a mast when said foldable boat is to be used as a sail boat.

8. A foldable boat as defined in claim 7 wherein said associated means comprises an aperture in said bow deck area in alignment with a stud protruding upwardly from the bottom of said bow section such that said stud and said aperture are capable of supporting a mast inserted through said aperture and positioned on said stud.

9. A foldable boat as defined in claim 8 wherein said stern section is provided with means for affixing thereto a rudder and tiller.

10. A foldable boat as defined in claim 9 wherein a center board trunk is provided to accommodate a center board therein.

11. A foldable boat as defined in claim 1 wherein said bow and stern sections are provided with a plurality of oar locks hinged to said side decks such that said oar locks can be raised from a collapsed, inoperative position to a vertical, operative position.

12. A foldable boat as defined in claim 1 wherein a bouyant, flotable material is provided within and throughout a substantial portion of said boat adjacent the gunwales and bottoms of the bow and stern sections thereof.
Description



This invention relates to a foldable boat having stern and bow sections which can be unfolded from a collapsed, closely nested position to an extended, rigid, unitary assemblage and locked in the extended position by stiffening means hingeably associated with the assemblage, the boat being adapted for propelsion by means of oars, sail or outboard motor.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The increase in leisure time has led many persons to pursue water sports and water activities with the result that participation in boating activities has grown at an extremely rapid rate over the past decade. Almost all boats presently utilized to pursue boating activities are of a unitary, rigid construction requiring that they be moored or stored at one location or, where desired to be transported from place to place, require the use of cumbersome and costly boat trailers. Those boats which can be transported on roofs of cars or racks of station wagons are of a size so that they can generally be used by only one or two persons at a time.

Some small boats are designed so that portions of their superstructures can either be removed or folded out of the way for compactness during transport. Such boats, however, are either too heavy or too long to be transported on vehicles and, therefore, must be trailered to their destination, or require extensive reassembly on reaching the point where they are to be used.

Many attempts have been made to provide boats which have foldable components. Exemplary of such assemblages are those disclosed in U.S. Pat Nos. 1,899,900 to Nelson, 3,057,316 to Hansen, 3,090,973 to Levinson, and 3,097,371 to Rough. While these illustrative prior art patents disclose means for folding a boat, it is important to note the complexity of the means employed and that assembly and disassembly requires the use of additional tools.

More recently, other embodiments for similar type boats have been provided such as are disclosed and described in my prior U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,349,415 and 3,497,885. These boats, however, are relatively small, being designed for convenient use and storage by owners and operators of large sailing vessels or yachts since they lend themselves to ready assembly when required for use but can be reduced to a size suitable for storage and transport aboard larger sized vessels. The size and structure of these boats is satisfactory for transporting one or two persons to a moored vessel but they are not of a size or structure for general use as a pleasure craft, such as for rowing, fishing, sailing and the like.

THE INVENTION

It has now been found that a foldable boat can be provided which is sufficiently compact when in a folded, collapsed condition so that it can be readily transported on the roof of a car or a station wagon, or on the inside deck of a station wagon, but which can be unfolded and extended to provide an integral, unitary structure capable of transporting three, four or more persons. The foldable boat of the invention is of simple construction, all parts thereof being self-contained so that additional tools or components are not required for assembly. In addition, it is also provided with means so that it can be adapted to be propelled with oars, by outboard motor, or sail.

In general, the foldable boat of the invention comprises a bow and stern section each having lateral or side decks and each of which terminate in substantially perpendicular, adjacent bulkheads, the bow and stern sections being hingeably secured to each other at opposite ends of said bulkheads in a common pivot axis transverse to said boat at the level of the decks thereof; and, stiffening means at opposed sides of the boat extending onto said bow and stern sections, said stiffening means being movable from inoperative positions substantially in the plane of said decks to operative positions substantially perpendicular to said decks so that they are capable of being folded with the bow and stern sections when these sections are placed in a collapsed position. Preferably, the stiffening means have associated therewith means for locking them in place when they are in their substantially perpendicular, operative positions. The structure of the foldable boat is such that it can be readily unfolded from a collapsed, closely nested relationship to an extended, assembled condition within a few minutes by one person. In addition to having means for propelsion by oar, outboard motor and/or sail, the foldable boat can also be provided with buoyant, flotable plastic to render it sinkproof, means for draining water washed aboard the boat during use, and means for locking the bow and stern sections to each other when they are in their collapsed positions.

The structure and various embodiments of the foldable boat of the invention will be more fully understood when considered together with the accompanying drawing wherein the several figures exemplify various preferred embodiments thereof which are set forth by way of illustration and wherein:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the foldable boat of the invention shown in its fully extended condition;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation view taken substantially on line 2--2 of FIG. 1;

FIGS. 3-8 are half sectional schematic views taken substantially on the lines 3--3, 4--4, 5--5, 6--6, 7--7, and 8--8, respectively, of FIG. 2 illustrating, primarily, the distribution of floatable material in the hull;

FIG. 9 is a side elevation view showing the foldable boat in its folded condition;

FIG. 10 is an end view taken substantially in the direction of arrows 10--10 of FIG. 9;

FIG. 11 is a fragmentary perspective view illustrating one embodiment of a foldable oar lock which can be used with the foldable boat of the invention; and,

FIG. 12 is a fragmentary elevation view showing one manner by which the foldable boat can be securely locked against tampering or theft.

As shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, the foldable boat of the invention, comprises a blow section 20 and a stern section 21 which are hingeably secured to each other at their adjacent ends by means of hinges 22, 23.

Bow and stern sections 20, 21 each comprise hulls 24, 25, respectively, extending upwardly from contoured bottoms 26, 27, to gunwales 28, 29 (FIG. 2). Gunwales 28, 29 have inwardly protruding portions extending longitudinally of the boat to form lateral or side deck areas 30, 30' and 31, 31' which terminate, respectively, in a bow deck section 32 and a stern deck or seat section 33 (FIG. 1). The adjacent ends of bow and stern sections 20, 21 terminate in bulkheads 34, 35 (FIG. 2) which are substantially perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the foldable boat and which are in closely abutting relation when the boat is in the opened, extended position.

The hinges 22, 23 are secured to the decks 30, 31 and 30', 31' in a manner to provide a common pivot axis transversely of the boat as clearly seen in FIG. 10 and the decks extend slightly above the bulkheads 34, 35 to accommodate the foldable associated stiffening means which support the boat in extended position.

The stiffening means comprises two pair of stiffening members 36, 37, 36a, 37a of generally L-shaped or triangular contour with the members of each pair oriented in mirror image relation to provide, collectively, straight, coextensive edges which are joined to the decks 30, 31 and 30', 31' by hinges 38, 39 and 38a, 39a, respectively, in a manner to align the surfaces thereof substantially in the plane of the decks when in collapsed position (note FIGS. 1 and 10). Stiffening members 36, 37 and stiffening members 36a, 37a are joined at their abutting side edges by hinges 40 and 41, respectively, in a manner to align the pivot axes thereof with the common pivot axes of hinges 22, 23 as clearly seen in FIGS. 1 and 10. This alignment of the surfaces of the stiffening members with the decks and of the hinges 40, 41 with the hinges 22, 23 enables the stiffening means to fold freely with the stern and bow sections when folding and collapsing the boat, while providing sturdy trusses when raised to the elevated position after unfolding of the boat sections.

While the side edges of the stiffening members which are joined together will be substantially at right angles to the edges joined to the decks, it is important that this angular relationship be precisely adapted to a particular boat assemblage to provide a maximum of compressive forces between the abutting bulkheads 34, 35 of the extended boat, consistent with the strength of the hinges 22, 23 being employed.

With a properly fitted stiffening means, it should require considerable force (about 20 to 30 pounds for a 16 foot boat) to raise the stiffening means to their fully extended or substantially vertical position, and once in that position, they should be supported against accidental displacement. This can suitably be accomplished by a spring-loaded knee or toggle brace 42 having a central pivot 43 and pivoted at one end 44 to the stiffening means and at the other end 45 to a bulkhead or adjoining structure, and adapted when collapsed to seat within a recess 46 formed therein as shown in FIGS. 1 and 7. The knee or toggle brace 42 not only locks the stiffening means in elevated position but can assist in raising it to the elevated position by applying force in the vicinity of the central pivot 43.

In order to provide a compact, closely nested relationship between bow and stern sections 20, 21 when the boat is in its folded condition as shown in FIG. 9, cut outs 47 and 48 are provided in bulkheads 34, 35 (FIG. 10) to receive stiffening members 36, 37 and 36a , 37a.

As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, bow deck section 32 can be provided with an aperture 49 for receiving a mast therethrough (not shown) which can be secured therein by seating its lower end on a stud 50 protruding upwardly from the bottom 26, stud 50 being in alignment with aperture 49. A center board trunk can be provided as at 51 for receiving a centerboard or dagger board and at the stern or transom 52, there can be provided a substantially vertical raised portion 53 (FIGS. 2 and 12) to which a rudder and tiller, shown in dotted lines at 54, 55 in FIG. 2, can be secured so that, together with a mast secured by aperture 49 and stud 50, the foldable boat can be rigged as a light sail boat.

In lieu of outfitting the foldable boat as a light sailing vessel, a small outboard motor (not shown) can be secured to raised portion 53 of the transom 52. In addition, raised portion 53 can be notched as seen at 56 in FIG. 1 for positioning a single oar for sculling the boat in gondola-fashion.

In a preferred embodiment, stern deck section or seat 33 is suitably contoured to provide three triangular sections 57, 58 and 59 disposed downwardly from the horizontal at their bases so that their apexes meet at a drain 60 (FIGS. 2 and 11) extending through the transom 52, the drain 60 being above the water level but below the gunwales 28, 29 so that any water washed aboard the boat can be readily drained off.

Spaced from the bulkhead 34 is a forward bulkhead 34a and area 62 is enclosed with a cover 63 transverse of the boat (FIG. 2). Similarly, a rear bulkhead 35a is provided in stern section 21 spaced from bulkhead 35 with area 62a also enclosed by a cover 63a. Covers 63, 63a, being substantially athwart the midships of the boat, provide convenient seating for carrying additional passengers or crew.

In a preferred embodiment, the foldable boat is provided with a suitable flotation material, such as polystyrofoam or other plastic which can be formed in situ and which is buoyant. The flotation material can be molded in place at selected areas within the boat adjacent the bottoms 26, 27 and hulls 24, 25 thereof as indicated at 61 in FIGS. 2-8. When molding the flotation material 61, it should be permitted to cure until a firm skin is formed thereon so that it can support the weight of passengers or crew. Alternatively, the selected areas in which the flotation material 61 is to be provided can be of double hull construction as indicated at 24a and 25a so that selection of the flotation material to be used need not be limited to one which must alone support the weight of passengers and crew. When including flotation material 61, it is further preferred that while area 62a can be filled with the flotation material 61, area 62 should be left vacant. Cover 63 can then be hinged to the inner edge of the deck beneath stiffening members 36, 36a as at 64 (FIG. 7) so that area 62 can be utilized as a locker.

In addition to being propelled by either sail or motor, the foldable boat of the invention can also be adapted to be propelled by oars and, for this purpose, it can be equipped with a plurality of oar locks as at 66, 67, 68 and 69. Preferably, these oar locks are each hingeably secured to an adjacent deck as shown in detail in FIG. 11 where oar lock 66 is shown hingeably secured at 70 to the inner edge of deck 30.

Due to the structural contour of stern deck 33 in combination with transom 52 and its raised portion 53, the bow deck section 32 of the foldable boat can be nested thereon when folded as shown in FIG. 9 so that any contents therein are protected from the elements. However, it is also desirable to protect the interior of the foldable boat as well as its contents when it is in its folded, collapsed condition from tampering or theft. This can be readily accomplished by securing a ring 71 to a link 72 attached to the bow as shown in FIG. 12 and providing an aperture 73 in transom 52 through which ring 71 can be slipped so that part of the ring 71 protrudes through aperture 73 and can be secured thereat by means of a suitable lock 74.

A foldable boat of the type herein described has been constructed and tested with oars, sail and outboard motor under a wide range of weather conditions. In this testing, the boat was found to be completely sea worthy in all instances due to the action of the stiffening members forcing the adjacent bulkheads into firm abutting relationship. Even when sailing in a stiff breeze, probably the most strenuous type of test conditions, the stiffening means provided a rigid structure that reacted and performed in the same manner as a similar sized boat of integral unitary structure.

When the boat is stored, either afloat or on land, in the folded position with bow section up (FIG. 9), it will be noted that the interfitting relation of the bow 20 with the inclined rear seat or deck sections 57, 58, 59 permits rain water to drain onto said seat or deck and out through the drain 60. Thus, items stored within the folded boat are quite well protected from the elements. Still more protection is provided when in dead storage by having the bow section 20 resting horizontally on suitable support with the stern section 21 folded over and onto the bow section 20.

Although the foldable boat of the invention has been described with particularity and in some detail, it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art and those practicing the invention that various changes, modifications and variations can be made therein without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention.

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