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Title:
MULTI-HULL ARTICULATED VEHICLE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/224736
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A multi-hull articulated vehicle (1) comprising a central hull (2), a first side hull (3) and a second side hull (4) which are connected to each other by means of an articulated connecting structure (51-58; 61-64; 100-103; 500, 501) able to transmit a rotary movement of one of the hulls, performed in a predetermined direction of rotation, to the other hulls; the transmission occurring simultaneously and in the same direction. The vehicle (1) is equipped with a central opening (600) formed in a frame (21, 200, 201, 202) fixed to the central hull (2) and set up for housing and confining a user. By shifting his or her weight in the opening (600), the user is able to safely control the vehicle (1) and to perform movements on different types of surfaces, such as water, ice and the ground. The vehicle (1) is particularly suited to use with wing sails gripped and manoeuvred by the user.

Inventors:
GALLO CLAUDIO (IT)
Application Number:
IB2019/054222
Publication Date:
November 28, 2019
Filing Date:
May 22, 2019
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GALLO CLAUDIO (IT)
International Classes:
B63B1/14; B63B1/12; B63B3/08; B63B7/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004016497A12004-02-26
WO2004016497A12004-02-26
Foreign References:
US3232261A1966-02-01
US3566819A1971-03-02
US4878447A1989-11-07
DE10216194A12003-04-10
US3742886A1973-07-03
US3232261A1966-02-01
US3566819A1971-03-02
US4878447A1989-11-07
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BIANCIARDI, Ezio (IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1. A multi-hull articulated vehicle (1 ) for performing movements on a surface (S), comprising:

a central hull (2) and at least one side hull (3, 4), having an elongate shape in the direction of a first axis (X) and positioned side by side along a second axis (Y) perpendicular to the first axis (X),

each of the hulls comprising:

a first body (22, 32, 42} designed to be in contact with the surface

(S);

a frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202; 31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) connected rigidly to the first body (22, 32, 42) and extended in height in the direction of a third axis (Z) perpendicular to the first axis (X) and the second axis (Y),

the vehicle also comprising an articulated structure for connecting the central hull (2) to the at least one side hull (3; 4), comprising:

a first set of articulations (52, 53, 56, 57; 90, 91 } connected at least to the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2);

a second set of articulations (51 , 54, 55, 58; 61 , 62, 63, 64) connected to the frame (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) of the at least one side hull (3; 4),

and a plurality of connecting elements (100, 101 , 102, 103; 500, 501 } positioned in a plane containing the second axis (Y) and the third axis (Z), in such a way as to connect the central hull (2) to the at least one side hull (3; 4) by means of the articulations of the first set (52, 53, 56, 57; 90, 91 ) and the second set (51 , 54, 55, 58; 61 , 62, 63, 64} of articulations, the articulations of the first (52, 53, 56, 57; 90, 91 ) and the second set (51 , 54, 55, 58; 61 , 62, 63, 64} being configured as revolute joints to allow a rotary movement of the central hull (2) or of the at least one side hull (3; 4) in said plane in a direction of rotation,

wherein the articulated structure for connecting the central hull (2) to the at least one side hull (3: 4) is configured in such a way as to form with the 2 i frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull and the frame (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) of the at least one side hull (3, 4) a closed kinematic chain suitable for transmitting the rotary movement simultaneously and in the same direction as said direction of rotation from the central hull (2) to the at least one side hull (3; 4) or vice versa, the vehicle being characterised in that

the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) comprises at least one opening (600, 800) configured in such a way as to form a housing for a user between the first body (22) and the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2).

2. The multi-hull articulated vehicle (1 ) according to claim 1 , consisting of the central hull (2), a first side hull (3) and a second side hull (4) having an elongate shape in the direction of the first axis (X) and positioned side by side along the second axis (Y), the central hull (2) being positioned between the first side hull (3) and the second side hull (4),

each of the three hulls (2, 3, 4) comprising the first body (22, 32, 42) and said frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202; 31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402), the vehicle also comprising said articulated connecting structure, wherein: the connecting elements (100, 101 , 102, 103; 500, 501 ) comprise linear connecting elements (100, 101 , 102, 103) having an elongate shape;

the first set of articulations (52, 53, 56, 57; 90, 91 ) comprises first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53) connected to the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) at a first height (htvi) along the third axis (Z) measured relative to the first body (22) of the central hull (2), as well as a first rotation articulation (90; 91 ) connected to the first body of the central hull (2);

the second set of articulations (51 , 54, 55, 58; 61 , 62, 63, 64) comprises second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54), connected to the frames (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) of the side hulls (3; 4), as well as a second rotation articulation (61 ) and a third rotation articulation (62), connected respectively to the frame (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) of the first side hull (3) and of the second side hull (4);

the central the hull (2) being connected, respectively, to the first side hull (3) and to the second side hull (4) by at least one first linear connecting element (100) and at least one second linear connecting element (101 ), the first and second linear connecting elements (100, 101 ) being each connected, at opposite ends, respectively to the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) and to the frame (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) of the respective side hull (3; 4) by means of one of the first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53) and one of the second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54),

the plurality of connecting elements also comprising:

a third connecting element (500) for rigidly connecting the first side hull (3), the central hull (2) and the second side hull (4),

the third connecting element (500) being formed by a first arm (SOOv) having an elongate shape in the direction of the third axis (Z) and being hinged at an end to the first body (22) of the central hull (2) by means of a first rotation articulation (90), and by a second arm (500h) of elongate shape in the direction of the second axis (Y) and connected rigidly and perpendicularly to the first arm (SOOv), the second arm (500h) being hinged at the relative opposite ends respectively to the frame of the first side hull (3) and to the frame of the second side hull (4) by means of the second rotation articulation (61 ) and the third rotation articulation (62), the second rotation articulation (61 ) and the third rotation articulation (62) being positioned on the frame, respectively, of the first and second side hull at a second height (hn) along the third axis (Z), measured relative to the first body (22) of the central hull (2) which is different from the first height (hM) and preferably less than the latter.

3. The vehicle (1 ) according to claim 2, wherein each of the first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53) is connected to the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) in such a way as to be free to perform a rotation about the third axis (Z) in the region between the central hull (2) and the respective side hull (3; 4), and wherein the second rotation articulation (61 ), the third rotation articulation (62) and each of the second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54) are equipped with respective release devices, by means of which:

the first linear connecting element (100) and the second linear connecting element (101 ) can be disconnected from the respective second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54) and rotated by means of the respective first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53) about the third axis (Z) in said region;

and the third connecting element (500) can be disconnected from the frames of the first and second side hulls (3, 4),

in such a way as to allow the central hull (2) to be disconnected from both the side hulls (3, 4).

4. The vehicle (1 ) according to claim 3, wherein the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) comprises at least one first upright (201 ) and a second upright (202) positioned on the first body (22) of the central hull (2) along the first axis (X) and hinged to the first body (22) respectively by means of a first articulated element (92, 92’) and a second articulated element (93), the articulated elements (92, 92’, 93) being configured in such a way as to allow to the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) to rotate around the second axis (Y) and be folded on the first body (22) of the central hull (2), when the latter is disconnected from both side hulls (3, 4)

5. The vehicle (1 ) according to claim 4, wherein the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) further comprises at least one second body (21 ) fixed rigidly to the first upright (201 ) and to the second upright (202) and facing the first body (22), the opening (600) which defines the housing being formed in the second body (21 ) and being sized and located in the direction of the third axis (Z) at a height relative to the first body (22) such as to retain the user between the first body (22) and the second body (21 ) within the frame of the central hull (2).

6. The vehicle (1 ) according to claim 5, wherein the frame of each of the side hulls (3, 4) comprises at least one first lateral upright (301 , 401 ) and a second lateral upright (302; 402) positioned on the respective first body (31 , 41 ) along the first axis (X) and connected rigidly to the respective first body (31 , 41 ), the uprights (301 , 302, 401 , 402) positioned on the first body (31 , 41 ) of each side hull (3, 4) being rigidly connected to each other by means of a lateral barrier element (31 , 41 ).

7. The vehicle (1 ) according to claim 6, wherein each of the lateral barrier elements (31 , 41 ) is a tubular element connected to each of the lateral uprights (301 , 302, 401 , 402) by means of fastening devices, and wherein each of the second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54) is located in the first lateral upright (301 , 401 ) or in the second lateral upright (302, 402).

8. The vehicle (1 ) according to claim 8, wherein each of the lateral barrier elements is a second substantially flat body (31 ; 41 ), connected to each of the lateral uprights (301 , 302; 401 , 402) by means of fastening devices and facing the first body (32; 42) in the direction of the first axis (X), and wherein each of the second manoeuvring articulations (51 ; 54) is located in the second substantially flat body (31 ; 41 ).

9. The vehicle (1 ) according to any one of claims 2 to 8, wherein the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull (2) is further connected to the frame (300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) respectively of the first side hull (3) and of the second side hull (4) by at least one fourth linear connecting element (102) and at least one fifth linear connecting element (103), the fourth and the fifth linear connecting elements (102, 103) being furthermore each positioned at a predetermined distance (dpp) along the first axis (X) from the second and from the third linear connecting elements (100, 101 ),

the fourth and the fifth linear connecting elements (102, 103) being each connected, at opposite ends, respectively to the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) of the central hull and to the frame (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) of the respective side hull (3, 4) by means of a further first manoeuvring articulation (56, 57} fixed to the central hull (2) at the first height (KIM) and by means of a further second manoeuvring articulation (55, 58),

the articulated connecting structure further comprising a sixth connecting element (501 ) for rigidly connecting the first side hull (3), the central hull

(2) and the second side hull (3), and a plurality of rotation articulations comprising a fourth rotation articulation (91 ), a fifth rotation articulation (63) and a sixth rotation articulation (64),

the sixth connecting element (501 ) being also positioned at the predetermined distance (dpp) along the first axis (X) from the third transversal connecting element (500),

the sixth connecting element (501 ) being formed by a first arm (500v ) having an elongate shape in the direction of the third axis (Z) and hinged at one end to the first body (22) of the central hull (2) by means of the fourth rotation articulation (91 ), and by a second arm (500h’) with an elongate shape in the direction of the second axis (Y) and rigidly connected with the first arm (500v ), the second arm (500h ) being also hinged at its opposite ends respectively to the frame of the first side hull

(3) and to the frame of the second side hull (4) by means of the fifth rotation articulation (63) and the sixth rotation articulation (64), the fifth rotation articulation (63) and the sixth rotation articulation (64) being positioned in the direction of the third axis (Z) at the second height (hn)

10. The vehicle (1 ) according to any one of claims 2 to 9, wherein the central hull (2) and/or at least one of the side hulls (3, 4} is equipped with watertight compartments, preferably removable, for housing material.

1 1. The vehicle (1 ) according to any one of claims 2 to 10, wherein the first body (21 , 31 , 41 ) of each of the three hulls (2, 3, 4) has a bottom configured to allow movements on the water.

12. The vehicle (1 ) according to any one of claims 2 to 1 1 , comprising blades, runners or wheels connected to the first body (21 , 31 , 41 ) of each of the three hulls (2, 3, 4) and configured to allow movements of the vehicle on ice or land.

13. Use of a vehicle (1 ) according to any one of the preceding claims in combination with a wing sail which can be manoeuvred by a user without the use of a fixed mast, preferably of the type known as kite wing, to perform movements on water, ice or land.

14. An assembly kit for assembling a multi-hull articulated vehicle (1 ), comprising:

a central hull (2) having an elongate shape in the direction of a first axis (X) and comprising a first body (22), a frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) rigidly connected to the first body (22) and hinged to it in such a way as to rotate around a second axis (Y) perpendicular to the first axis (X), the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) extending in height in the direction of a third axis (Z) perpendicular to both the first axis (X) and the second axis (Y) and being equipped with first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53, 56, 57) configured as revolute joints and positioned along the third axis (Z) at a first height (IΊM) relative to the first body (22) of the central hull (2), the frame of the central hull (2) comprising at least one opening (600, 800) for housing a user, sized and located relative to the first body (22) of the central hull (2) at a height along the third axis (Z) such as to define a space between the first body (22) and the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202) designed to retain the user on the central hull (2) and inside the frame (21 , 200, 201 , 202);

a first and a second side hull (3, 4), each having an elongate shape in the direction of the first axis (X) and comprising a respective first body (32, 42) and a respective frame (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) rigidly connected to the respective first body (32, 42) and extending in height in the direction of the third axis (Z), each of frames (31 , 300, 301 , 302; 41 , 400, 401 , 402) being equipped with second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54, 55, 58) configured as revolute joints;

a plurality of linear connecting elements (100, 101 , 102, 103) for connecting the centra! hull (2) to each of the side hulls (3, 4), each of the linear connecting elements (100, 101 , 102, 103} having an elongate shape and being able to be hinged at opposite ends respectively to one of the first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53, 56, 57} and to one of the second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54, 55, 58);

- a plurality of rotation articulations of (61 , 62, 63, 64; 90, 91 ) configured as revolute joints and comprising rotation articulations (90, 91 ) connected to the central hull (2), and rotation articulations (61 , 62; 63, 64) connected to the first and second side hulls (3, 4} at a second height (hn) along the third axis (Z), measured relative to the first body (22) of the central hull (2), which is different from the first height (hvi) and preferably less than the latter;

cross-shaped connecting elements (500, 501 } for rigidly connecting the first side hull (3), the central hull (2) and the second side hull (3), each cross-shaped connecting element (500, 501 ) being formed by a first arm (500v, 501 v) having an elongate shape in the direction of the third axis (Z) and able to be hinged at one end to the first body (22) of the central hull (2) by means of one of the rotation articulations (90, 91 ) connected to the central hull (2), and by second arm (500h, 501 h) having an elongate shape and rigidly connected with the first arm (5Q0v, 501 v) in such a way that the first and the second arms (500v, 501 v; 500h, 501 h) are positioned perpendicularly to each other, the second arm (500h, 501 h) further being able to be hinged at its opposite ends respectively to the frame of the first side hull (3) and to the frame of the second side hull (4) by means of two of the rotation articulations (61 , 62; 63, 64) connected to the first and second side hulls (3, 4);

a plurality of removable fastening devices;

each of the second manoeuvring articulations (51 , 54, 55, 58} and each of the rotation articulations connected to the side hulls (61 , 62, 63, 64} being equipped with a release device by which each linear connecting element (100, 101 , 102, 103} may be disconnected from the respective side hull (3, 4), rotated by means of the respective first manoeuvring articulations (52, 53, 56, 57) towards the centra! hull (2) and fixed around the at least one opening (600, 800) of the latter by means of the removable fastening devices.

Description:
i

DESCRIPTION

MULTI-HULL ARTICULATED VEHICLE

Technical field

This invention relates to a multi-hull articulated vehicle usable on different surfaces such as water, ice and the ground for recreational and/or sports purposes and combinable with sail, electric or human propulsion

Background art

Vehicles usable on different surfaces are known from the prior art, for example for military purposes (amphibious vehicles) or for recreational or sports activities. The latter include, as far as transport on water is concerned, catamarans, trimarans, sailboards in which the sail is supported by a mast (windsurfing sail) or by the user (kite wing sail), for using the wind as propulsion, and boards without a sail but equipped with a paddle operated by a user in an upright position on the board (SUP board, from the term stand-up paddle); for transport on ice or the ground carnages and sledges with a sail or motor are known.

For example, patent application US 3,742,886 describes a catamaran formed by two hulls which are connected to each other by a four-bar linkage and equipped with foot rests for a user who can steer it in an upright position on the vehicle by shifting the hulls by means of the rests, in such a way as to turn a rudder connected to the four-bar linkage. The catamaran described in patent US 3,742,886 is able to move on the water thanks to the action of the wind on a sail held and supported by the user without the need to make use of a mast for fixing the sail to.

A further example of a multi-hull vessel of the prior art not requiring a mast is the watercraft disclosed in US patent 3,232,261.

Other prior art multi-hull vehicles use a mast to support a sail, in such a way that the wind can be used for vehicle propulsion on water, ice or the ground. Another example of a prior art vehicle is the vessel described in the international application published as WO 2004/016497 A1. The vessel in question comprises four hulls positioned in a cross shape and connected to each other by means of an articulated structure, positioned at the centre of which there is a frame which forms a housing for a passenger. The structure is designed in such a way that, every time two of the hulls positioned on opposite sides of the central frame lift up due to the wave motion, the other two hulls are lowered, thereby guaranteeing that the vessel does not capsize: the motion of one pair of hulls is therefore always opposite the motion of the other pair. The vehicle described in international application WO 2004/016497 A1 does not disclose use in combination with a sail.

Further examples of multi-hull vessels of the prior art provided with a mast are disclosed in US 3,566,819 and US 4,878,447.

The vehicles of the prior art equipped with a mast for supporting a sail have the disadvantage of being unstable, for example in the presence of strong winds, due to the listing moment caused by the action of the wind on the mast.

The catamaran described in patent US 3,742,886 is not subject to this drawback since it has no mast, but it presents considerable difficulties for balancing the set formed by the user, the hulls and the sail and is therefore unstable, above all during a water start or in the presence of lateral wind thrusts; moreover, the vehicle described in that patent does not offer the user sufficient protection.

The vessel described in application WO 2004/016497 A1 is intrinsically stable thanks to the use of four hulls which are positioned in a cross shape and thanks to the balancing of the movement of one pair of hulls, induced by the wave motion, by means of a movement in the opposite direction by the other pair of hulls; however, the vehicle described in that document does not allow the use of sails and is not able to dynamically react to a shifting of the weight of the passenger, so as to allow the latter to easily steer the vehicle.

The watercraft described in US 3,232,261 does likewise not allow a user to easily and safely steer the vessel by shifting the user’s own weight.

A further limitation of the prior art vehicles is the fact that, generally speaking, they can only be used on one type of surface and do not allow the transportation and stowage of materials and accessories which allow their use for tourist purposes.

Finally, the prior art vehicles are characterised by bulky structures whose volume cannot be reduced, for example when they are not in use and they have to be transferred from one place to another on another vehicle.

Disclosure of the invention

The aim of this invention is to provide a multi-hull articulated vehicle which overcomes the above-mentioned disadvantages of the prior art.

In particular, the aim of this invention is to provide a multi-hull articulated vehicle which is easy for a user to dynamically steer by shifting his own weight.

A further aim of this invention is to provide a multi-hull articulated vehicle which is intrinsically stable and combinable with different means of propulsion, in particular with various types of sails and more specifically with sails which do not require the presence of a mast to support them, for example “kite wing” sails, while simultaneously guaranteeing the user sufficient protection and safety and avoiding contact between the sail and the movement surface.

This invention also has for an aim to provide a multi-hull articulated vehicle able to move on different surfaces and to also allow the transportation and stowage of materials and accessories, in particular for tourist purposes. Finally, the aim of this invention is to provide a multi-hull articulated vehicle whose dimensions can be reduced, when it is not in use, in such a way as to facilitate its transfer on another means of transport.

These aims are fulfilled by the vehicle according to this invention, which is characterised as described in the appended claims.

!n its most general form, the vehicle according to the invention comprises a central hull and at least one side hull. The hulls have an elongate shape in the direction of a first axis, called the longitudinal or X axis, and are positioned side by side along a second axis, called the transversal or Y axis and perpendicular to the longitudinal axis. Each of the at least two hulls comprises a first body designed to be in contact with the surface, and a frame connected rigidly to the first body and extended in height in the direction of a third axis, called the vertical or Z axis, perpendicular to the longitudinal axis and to the transversal axis.

The vehicle also comprises an articulated structure for connecting the central hull to the at least one side hull, comprising a first set of articulations connected at least to the frame of the central hull, a second set of articulations connected to the frame of the at least one side hull, and a plurality of connecting elements positioned in a plane (called the transversal plane) containing the transversal and vertical axes, in such a way as to connect the central hull to the at least one side hull by means of the articulations of the first set and the second set of articulations.

The articulations of the first and the second set are configured as revolute pairs (for example by means of joint pins) and allow a rotary movement of the central hull or the at least one side hull in the plane containing the transversal and vertical axes in a direction of rotation (clockwise or anti clockwise); the rotary movement is constrained by the articulated structure to be performed in the transversal plane.

The frame of the central hull comprises at least one opening configured in such a way as to form between the first body and the frame of the central hull a housing intended to accommodate and confine a user.

The vehicle according to the invention is characterised in that the articulated structure connecting the central hull to the at least one side hull is configured in such a way as to form, with the frame of the central hull and that of the at least one side hull, a closed kinematic chain suitable for transmitting the rotary movement in the above-mentioned direction simultaneously and concordantly in the same direction as that direction, from the central hull to the at least one side hull or vice versa.

In other words, the connecting elements of the connecting structure are connected to each other and to the frames of the hulls by means of the articulations of the first and second sets in such a way as to form a structure with only one degree of freedom, in which the rotating movement of one of the members of the structure in a predetermined direction is transmitted simultaneously and concordantly in the same direction (that is to say, going the same way) to the other members of the structure; it is apparent from what is described above regarding the articulated structure that the rotating movement is transmitted and is performed exclusively in the transversal plane.

When the user housed in the opening formed in the frame of the central hull shifts his weight, the articulated structure according to the invention therefore allows the vehicle to be dynamically steered in a simple way thanks to the simultaneous transmission in the same, i.e. concordant direction of the movement from the central hull to the other hull.

In a preferred embodiment, the multi-hull articulated vehicle according to this invention preferably consists of three hulls, respectively designated as central hull, first side hull and second side hull, which have a substantially elongate shape in the direction of the first axis (longitudinal or X) and are positioned parallel to each other along the second axis (transversal or Y) perpendicular to the first axis, with the central hull between the two side hulls.

Each of the hulls has a lower body or first body intended to make contact with the surface on which the vehicle moves and a structure, generica!ly definable as a frame, extending vertically on the lower body of each hull and rigidly connected to the latter. The contact between the first body and the surface may be direct, for example when the vehicle is intended to be used on water, or indirect and with interposed elements such as runners, wheels or blades, when the vehicle is intended for use on the ground or on ice.

The vehicle also has an articulated connecting structure formed by a plurality of connecting elements having elongate shape and positioned in the vehicle transversal plane, that is to say, in the plane which contains the transversal axis Y and the vertical axis Z; those elements, hereinafter indicated as linear connecting elements, are preferably rigid and are connected to each other and to the hulls by means of articulations, referred to as manoeuvring articulations, which allow the hulls to rotate about the longitudinal axis X. The linear connecting elements allow paired connection of the central hull to each of the side hulls. Those linear elements are connected at one end by means of first manoeuvring articulations to the frame of the central hull at a characteristic first height, called the manoeuvring height, above the lower body of the centra! hull; at the opposite end the linear elements are connected, by means of second manoeuvring articulations, to the frame of a side hull.

The connecting structure also comprises one or more connecting elements with two arms, the elements being in the form of cross-shaped crosspieces and preferably rigid, whose function is to rigidly connect all three hulls, and a plurality of articulations, called rotation articulations, configured as revolute pairs. The vertical arm of each two-armed transversal element is hinged to the lower body of the centra! hull by means of a rotation articulation which allows the element to rotate about the longitudinal axis of the vehicle; at the same time, the horizontal arm of each two-armed transversal element is simultaneously connected, by means of two further rotation articulations, to the frames of the side hulls. The connection between the horizontal arm of each two-armed transversal element and the side hulls is achieved by means of rotation articulations located at a characteristic second height, called the rotation height, above the lower body of the central hull; the rotation height is preferably lower than the manoeuvring height. As in the case of the more general structure composed of at least two hulls, also in the case of a three-hull vehicle according to the preferred embodiment the frame of the central hull has an opening intended to house a user or passenger on the lower body (or first body) of the central hull, confining him in a space delimited by the frame.

Thanks to the use of an articulated structure formed by linear elements connected to each other and to the three hulls by means of articulations (i.e. joints) in the form of revolute pairs, it is possible to simultaneously transmit the tilting/rotating movement of any one of the hulls to the other two hulls. The use of elements which by means of the manoeuvring and rotation articulations are constrained to rotate exclusively in the vehicle transversal plane makes the vehicle stable and sturdy.

Moreover, thanks to the use of at least one two-armed connecting element for simultaneously connecting the three hulls, it also becomes possible to simultaneously transmit the movement of one hull to the other two hulls concordantly, that is to say, keeping the three hulls substantially aligned: for example, if one of the side hulls performs a rotation and is tilted in a predetermined direction (clockwise or anti-clockwise), that rotating movement will be simultaneously replicated in the same direction (that is to say, going concordantly the same way) by the other two hulls, which will be tilted in the same direction. In other words, the movement of one of the hulls is transmitted to the other hulls in such a way that the latter move simultaneously and concordantly in the same direction.

Therefore, the articulated structure allows the vehicle to be dynamically steered in a simple way, specifically thanks to the simultaneous and concordant (i.e. in same direction) transmission of a movement of the central hull, induced by the user housed in it by shifting his weight, to the side hulls.

In kinematic terms, the linear and cross-shaped elements of which the articulated connecting structure is composed are connected to each other and to the three hulls by means of the above-mentioned manoeuvring and rotation articulations in such a way as to form a closed kinematic chain. In other words, the linear and cross-shaped elements and the articulations form a sequence of members (represented by the linear and by the cross- shaped connecting elements and by the frames) and of pairs (represented by the manoeuvring and by the rotation articulations) which connect the members, at the same time allowing their relative movement in such a way that, once the relative speed of one member has been set relative to any other member, the relative speeds of all of the other members of the chain are unambiguously determined. Therefore, the articulated structure only has one degree of freedom, that is to say, the rotation/tilting in the vehicle transversal plane.

It is immediately apparent to the skilled person that the choice of length of the connecting elements and the height of the frames make it possible to control, based on basic kinematic considerations, the direction in which the movement of one member of the kinematic chain is transmitted to the other members: in particular, such considerations make it possible to choose whether the transmission will occur in the same direction, that is to say, going concordantly the same way, or in the opposite direction, that is to say, going discordantly the opposite way. Those considerations are well known to the skilled person and will not be repeated herein; it is enough to recall that the articulated structure of this invention basically behaves in a similar way to a bar linkage.

As indicated above, the frame of the central hull has an opening intended to house a user or passenger on the central hull, confining him in a space delimited by the frame. In this way, the frame of the central hull acts as (i.e. forms) a protective cage for the user; at the same time, that frame allows the user to steer the vehicle in a particularly simple way by leaning against the inner edge of the opening in the frame.

For that purpose, the frame of the central hull is preferably placed at a height, measured relative to the lower body of the hull, corresponding to the average height of the sacroiliac joint of an adult person, equal to approximately 80 cm. The height of the frame of the central hull and the opening formed in it may of course differ from this average value and be adapted, at the vehicle design stage, depending on the average physical characteristics of the users for whom the vehicle is intended: for example, that height may be reduced, if the vehicle is intended for young, not yet adult users, or varied relative to the above-mentioned 80 cm value, if the vehicle is, for example, intended for users from particular geographical areas characterised by a different average height of the sacroiliac joint.

By shifting inside the opening until he rests his body at the height of that joint against the inner edge of the opening itself, the user can easily and effectively modify the angle of the hulls in the transversal plane. Use of the articulated structure guarantees that, during that movement, the vehicle does not capsize; at the same time, the“cage” formed by the frame of the central hull prevents the user from being thrown out of the vehicle.

The structural sturdiness and steerability of the vehicle can advantageously be increased by using an articulated structure for connecting the hulls as described above, but replicated in two or more transversal sections of the vehicle: using, for example, a system of linear and two-armed elements connected by manoeuvring and rotation articulations in a first transversal section that traverses the opening, and in a second section located at the stern of the vehicle, it is possible to improve steering of the vehicle and make it sturdier.

In a first embodiment, each of the side hulls is preferably removably connected to the central hull and can be disconnected from the latter by acting on release devices located on the manoeuvring and rotation articulations: in that way, it becomes possible to stow the vehicle, when it is not in use, in a smaller space; at the same time, it becomes easier to transport the vehicle, once disassembled.

In the first embodiment, the linear connecting elements are connected to the manoeuvring articulations on the side hulls (that is to say, to the second manoeuvring articulations) by means of release mechanisms: by acting on the latter, the linear elements can be disconnected from the manoeuvring articulations. Since the linear elements are connected to the central hull by means of manoeuvring articulations (first manoeuvring articulations) which allow the linear elements, once disconnected from the side hulls, to perform a rotation through 90 degrees in the plane XY, the above-mentioned linear elements can be rotated and aligned with the body of the central hull, to which they can then be temporarily fixed by means of a plurality of mobile fastening devices.

In the first embodiment, the two-armed connecting elements, that is to say, the cross-shaped crosspieces, are connected to the second manoeuvring articulations on the side hulls by means of a release mechanism realised as a push-button: by acting on that push-button, the crosspiece can easily be disconnected from the side hulls; then, once disconnected, the crosspiece can be disconnected by means of a lifting movement from the manoeuvring articulation ( power joint) which fixes it to the central hull and can be removed, thereby allowing complete disconnection of the central hull from the side hulls.

The above-mentioned release mechanisms therefore allow releasable connection of the central hull to the side hulls.

In a first variant of the first embodiment, the frame of the central hull is preferably connected to the lower body by means of articulated elements (for example universal joints) which allow the frame to be rotated about the transversal axis and therefore to be“folded” on the lower body, when the central hull is not connected to the side hulls: in that way, the central hull becomes foldable and its dimensions can be further reduced in order to facilitate its transportation, when the vehicle is not in use.

In a second variant of the first embodiment, the frame of the central hull comprises a second body, superposed at a predetermined height on the lower body and hinged to it by means of a system of articulated uprights: that variant allows the realisation of a central hull which is foldable and at the same time allows improvement in safety and user protection, thanks to the use of an upper body located, like a further cage, at the height of the torso of the user. The use of at least two bodies which are connected by means of uprights also increases the structural sturdiness of the central hull.

In a third variant of the first embodiment, combinable with the first or the second variant, even the frame of the side hulls may advantageously be made - similarly to the central hull - as two or more bodies superposed and connected by uprights, in such a way as to increase the side protection of the user and the sturdiness of such hulls. The frame of the side hulls and, in particular, the body superposed on the lower body of the hull therefore perform a side barrier function.

In a second embodiment, it is possible to make each of the side hulls as a single lower body equipped with at least two rigid uprights fixed at the base to that body and connected to each other by tubular elements, preferably hollow, which are fixed to the upper end of each upright. In that embodiment, the side barrier function is performed mainly by the tubular elements. Thanks to the use of tubular elements, the second embodiment allows a reduction in the overall weight of the vehicle compared with the configuration of the third variant of the first embodiment, while ensuring increased structural stability and greater side protection of the user, as in that third variant.

Thanks to its intrinsic stability, the vehicle according to the invention is particularly suited to use in combination with a wing sail held by the user, for example a sail of the kite wing type, so as to make use of the wind for vehicle propulsion. The use of such sails in combination with conventional vehicles based on boards or hulls, such as the vessel described in the above-mentioned patent US 3,742,886, has so far proved quite difficult, if not impossible, particularly when the vehicle is entering the water: in fact, prior art vehicles are unstable and capsize extremely easily during that entry step due to the rough motion of the water or gusts of wind; moreover, conventional vehicles do not avoid contact of the sail with the water and are therefore unable to prevent a possible capsize caused by the lever effect of the water on the sail.

As explained, the vehicle according to this invention has an intrinsic stability and resistance to capsizing thanks to the use of the articulated connecting structure described above; the frame present on each side hull, that is to say, the side barrier, may also advantageously be used by the user for resting a sail on without the sail making contact with the water: in this way, the vehicle according to the invention is able to overcome an onerous limitation of prior art vehicles and therefore can be safely used in combination with a wing sail.

Thanks to its intrinsic stability and ease of use with a wing sail, the vehicle according to the invention advantageously does not comprise masts for fixing the sail and is therefore not subject to the disadvantageous leeward listing effect which characterises vehicles having a mast, when subjected to a strong the wind.

Thanks to the use of a foldable centra! hull and removable side hulls, the vehicle according to the invention may advantageously be made in the form of an assembly kit. The kit comprises the three hulls, equipped with rotation articulations and manoeuvring articulations but disconnected, a plurality of linear and two-armed connecting elements, as well as a plurality of mobile fastening devices, for example in the form of clamps, for fixing the elongate linear connecting elements to the centra! hull. The second manoeuvring articulations and the rotation articulations have release devices, for example in the form of a push-button or sleeve, by means of which the connecting elements can be removably connected to the side hulls.

The vehicle disclosed may be equipped with fairings in order to improve its aerodynamic and hydrodynamic properties; if the vehicle is used on dry land, for example on ice, it can be equipped with blades, runners or wheels. The vehicle may also be equipped with watertight compartments, preferably removable, for transporting material.

These and other characteristics are more apparent in the following description of a preferred, non-limiting embodiment, shown purely by way of example in the accompanying drawings, in which:

- Figure 1 is a perspective rear view of a multi-hull vehicle according to this invention;

- Figure 2 is a schematic view along the cross-section A - A’ of the multi- hull vehicle of Figure 1 in the absence of stresses;

- Figure 3 is a schematic view along the cross-section A - A’ of the multi- hull vehicle of Figure 1 in the presence of stresses;

- Figure 4 is a schematic view along the cross-section A - A of the multi- hull vehicle of Figure 1 in the presence of stresses;

- Figure 5a illustrates a first manoeuvring articulation of a vehicle according to this invention, made with a fork-shaped bracket;

- Figure 5b illustrates the rotating movement of a linear connecting element hinged on the first manoeuvring articulation of Figure 5a;

- Figure 6a is an exploded view of the connection between a two-armed connecting element and a rotation articulation, equipped with a release mechanism, on the rear upright of a side hull in a vehicle according to this invention;

- Figure 6b illustrates the articulation of Figure 6a connected to the two armed connecting element and housed in the rear upright.

An example of a vehicle according to this invention is schematically illustrated in Figure 1 , which is a perspective rear view of a three-hull vehicle, labelled 1.

The vehicle 1 comprises an articulated and foldable central hull 2 in turn comprising at least two bodies 21 and 22, of which the lower body 22 (also called the first body) is intended to be in contact with the surface S on which the vehicle 1 moves. The upper body 21 has a lower side 21 b (not visible in Figure 1 but shown in Figure 2), called the underside, facing the upper side 22a of the lower body 22, called the deck; the upper body 21 also has an upper side 21 a, called the back, on the opposite side to the underside 21 b, whilst the lower body 22 has a lower side 22b, called the bottom, intended to make contact with the reference surface and located on the opposite side to the deck 22a.

The two bodies 21 and 22 of the central hull 2 are substantially facing each other, the underside 21 b of the upper body 21 being opposite the deck 22a of the lower body 22, and they extend longitudinally along an axis labelled X in the figures; that axis will also be referred to as the longitudinal axis hereinafter. Each of the two bodies 21 and 22, although having a length greater than its own width and therefore being elongate, may have a different shape to that of the body if is facing: in particular, the ratio of the length to the width of the lower body 22 of the central hull 2 may be adapted according to the surface S on which the vehicle is mainly intended to move.

In the example illustrated in Figure 1 , relating to a vehicle 1 intended mainly for moving on water, that is to say, a vessel, that ratio (also designated as form factor) is closer to unit than the value which the form factor would take on in the case of a vehicle of equal length intended to move on dry land: in other words, the lower body 22 of the central hull 2 in the example in Figure 1 is squatter than the lower body that would typically be adopted for the central hull of a vehicle of equal length intended to move on dry land. Choosing a form factor closer to unit in the case of the vessel allows its floating to be improved; in contrast, for a vehicle intended to move on dry land, the choice of a form factor noticeably greater than unit (for example, greater than three) allows the central hull 2 to be tapered and improves the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle.

In the example configuration of Figure 1 the two bodies 21 and 22 are connected to each other by means of three uprights 200, 201 and 202, located along the above-mentioned longitudinal axis X respectively at the bow, at the centre and at the stern of the central hull 2 between the underside 21 b of the upper body 21 and the deck 22a of the lower body 22.

At their upper end, each of the stern uprights 202 and central uprights 201 has a plate or flange by means of which it is connected to the underside 21 b of the upper body 21 ; at the opposite end, that is to say at the base, each of those uprights 201 and 202 in contrast is connected to the deck 22a of the lower body 22 by means of articulations 92 and 92’ (as concerns the central upright 201 } and 93 (not visible in the figure, as concerns the stern upright) which allow the uprights 201 and 202 to rotate about the transversal axis Y. The articulations 92, 92’ and 93 preferably consist of pins with related supports. In contrast, at each of its ends the bow upright 200 has a plate or flange by means of which it is connected between the upper body 21 and the lower body 22 of the hull 2. Each of the plates or flanges used for connecting the three uprights 200, 201 and 202 to the bodies 21 and 22 of the central hull 2 is equipped with holes, usually countersunk, info which fixing devices (e.g. screws) are inserted which allow each upright to be securely connected to the hull.

When it is not connected to the side hulls 3 and 4 (which are described below), the central hull 2 can be folded flat in such a way that it is easier to transport when it is not in use. For this purpose, the fixing devices which anchor the lower plate and the upper plate of the bow upright 200 respectively to the deck 22a and to the underside 21 b are removed, in such a way that the bow upright 200 can be disconnected from the lower body 21 and from the upper body 22: in that way, it becomes possible to fold the upper body 21 of the central hull 2 on the opposite lower body 22, by making the two uprights 201 and 202 rotate towards the bow about the articulations 92, 92’ and 93 which respectively connect the base of the central upright 201 and that of the stern upright 202 to the lower hull 22. During that rotation, the upper body 21 moves together with the uprights 92, 92’ and 93 and advances towards the bow, being lowered until it is folded on the lower body 22: for this reason, the stem upright 202 and the central upright 201 hereinafter will also be called articulated uprights.

The use of articulated uprights therefore makes the central hull 2 foldable and makes it easier to transport, once disconnected from the side hulls 3 and 4, when it is not used for performing movements on the reference surface.

The number of uprights used for connecting each pair of opposite bodies is not limited to three, as shown in the illustrative configuration of Figures 1 and 2, but may be reduced to two if the aim is to reduce the weight of the hull 2 without compromising its structural stability: in this case, both of the uprights must be fixed to the lower body 22 by means of articulations, if it is required to maintain the possibility of folding the central hull.

Alternatively, the number of uprights may be greater than three, if the aim is to ensure greater structural sturdiness of the central hull 2. In that case, the uprights may be distributed in an equidistant way along the longitudinal axis (X); however, it is also possible to position the uprights at variable distances along that axis, for example by placing a subset of uprights closer together in a limited region of the central hull, so as to ensure greater structural sturdiness in that region. It is obvious that, in the case in which the number of uprights is greater than three, all of the uprights except at the most the bow upright must be connected to the lower body 22 of the central hull 2 by means of articulations, as described above, if it is required to maintain the possibility of folding the central hull.

Even the shape and dimensions of each upright may be different, as illustrated in Figure 1 in a non-limiting way relative to the side hulls 3 and 4 (described in detail below): the central upright 401 of the side hull 4, for example, has dimensions which are greater than those of the bow and stern uprights 400 (not visible in the figure) and 402, which are in turn different to each other, in such a way as to ensure greater structural sturdiness at points of the hull which are subjected to stronger stresses than other parts.

The number of bodies which form the central hull 2 is not limited to two and may comprise further bodies connected in pairs by uprights and superposed, as described above, in such a way as to increase the structural sturdiness of the hull and offer greater side protection to the user, who is intended to be confined inside a space defined by an opening 600 formed through the bodies of the central hull and described in more detail below.

Also in the case of a central hull with more than two bodies, the uprights are connected between two opposite bodies by means of plates or flanges and articulations, as explained in detail for the example of Figure 1. In a similar way to what has already been described, it is necessary that all of the uprights positioned between two opposite bodies - except at the most the bow upright - are connected to the respective lower body by means of articulations, if itis required to maintain the ability to fold the central hull. The vehicle 1 comprises at least one opening 600 positioned in the central section and intended to house and confine a user in an upright position on the lower body 22; as shown in Figure 1 , the latter is equipped with foot straps (shown without reference signs) by means of which the user can remain anchored to the central hull even when the latter tilts or oscillates. In the example vehicle in Figure 1 the opening 600 is formed in the upper body 21 of the central hull and defines a space between the lower body 22, on one side, and the edge of the upper body around the opening 600 and the upright 201 on the other. The upper body 21 and the upright 201 therefore form a frame or“cage” equipped with an opening. The space defined by the opening formed in that frame confines and cages the user, in such a way as to protect the user from impacts or external agents; at the same time, that“cage” allows the user to shift his weight inside said space, in such a way as to cause tilting and/or rotation of the hulls, thereby allowing the vehicle 1 to be easily and safely controlled. Optionally, the vehicle 1 may comprise an additional second opening, preferably located at the bow and intended to house at least one further passenger and/or a removable stowage locker or material, for example a fishing kit.

As illustrated in Figure 1 , the vehicle forming the object of the present invention comprises a first side hull 3 and a second side hull 4 which are respectively positioned on the left and on the right of the central hull 2. In the preferred embodiment of Figure 1 , the number of side hulls is precisely equal to two, so that the multi-hull vehicle has, in that preferred embodiment, a total number of hulls which is precisely equal to three. As shown in the figure, both the first side hull 3 and the second side hull 4 have an essentially elongate shape in the direction of the longitudinal axis X and are positioned alongside the central hull 2, parallel to it, along the transversal axis Y.

The side hulls 3 and 4 are removably connected to the central hull 2, as explained in detail below, and therefore can be disconnected from the latter, for example for laying-up or for transporting the vehicle when it is not in use.

Although the side hulls 3 and 4 may have a different shape to the central hull 2, as shown in Figures 1 and 2, they are preferably identical to each other in terms of shape and structure, so as to ensure that the vehicle 1 is substantially symmetrical along the above-mentioned transversal axis Y and longitudinal axis X and, as explained below, also along a third axis, called the vertical or Z axis, perpendicular to the transversal and longitudinal axes. The symmetry along the three axes X, Y and Z makes the vehicle 1 stable and limits its tendency to capsize, according to a principle well-known in the prior art and used in the category of vessels known as trimarans.

As shown in the figures, the central hull 2 is connected to each of the side hulls 3 and 4 by means of a plurality of connecting elements, labelled 100 to 103, 500 and 501 , and a plurality of articulations, labelled 51 to 58 and 61 to 64

The connecting elements 100 to 103, 500 and 501 are preferably rigid and have the function of connecting the hulls to each other in the transversal plane in which the longitudinal axis Y and vertical axis Z lie, in such a way as to allow transmission of the movement of one of the hulls to the rest of the hulls and, simultaneously, to prevent any movement of the hulls outside of the above-mentioned transversal plane, also referred to as the YZ plane.

The connecting elements consist of one or two preferably rigid elements, each having an elongate shape, and extending substantially in the above- mentioned transversal plane of the vehicle. In the example illustrated in the figures, particularly in Figure 3, the basic types of connecting elements used in the vehicle 1 according to the invention are shown: the first type, called linear, is shown by way of example by the rods 100, 101 , 102 and 103, formed by a single elongate rigid element; the second type, called two-armed or cross-shaped , is exemplified by the cross-shaped crosspieces 500 and 501 , consisting of a first elongate element (horizontal arm, labelled 500h in Figure 2) and a second elongate element 500v (vertical arm, labelled SOOv in Figure 2) connected rigidly and perpendicularly to the first elongate element 5G0h.

The connecting elements are positioned in such a way as to form, respectively in the section of the stern uprights 202, 302 and 402 and in the section of the central uprights 201 , 301 and 401 , a connecting structure between the hulls having the form of a closed kinematic chain whose members consist of the connecting elements and, in the vehicle illustrated in the figures, of the uprights of the three hulls which are positioned in the same transversal section. With reference to Figure 2 relating to the central section A - A’ of the vehicle 1 , the connecting structure in the section in question comprises for example the following six members: the central upright 301 of the side hull 3, the rod 100 which connects the side hull 3 to the central hull 2, the central upright 201 of the central hull 2, the rod 101 which connects the central hull 2 to the side hull 4, the central upright 401 of the side hull 4 and the centre cross-shaped 2 u crosspiece 500.

The members of the kinematic chain are coupled to each other by means of articulations. With reference to the example of Figure 2, the articulations of the central section A - A’ which connect the uprights 201 , 301 and 401 , the rods 100 and 101 and the cross-shaped crosspiece 500 are labelled 51 , 52, 53, 54, 61 , 90 and 62.

The function of the articulations is to connect both ends of each of the connecting elements to the hulls in such a way as to allow the rotation of each hull basically only in the transversal plane, that is to say, the plane which contains the Y and Z axes: in other words, the articulations are revolute pairs (i.e. revolute joints), in kinematic terms. Since the hulls are connected to each other by means of connecting elements which are constrained to move exclusively in the transversal YZ plane, the rotating movement of the hulls, made possible by the use of the articulations, is constrained to be performed exclusively in that plane, that is to say, only about the longitudinal axis X.

The articulations comprise a group of eight manoeuvring articulations, labelled 51 to 58 and fixed by manoeuvring blocks (not illustrated in Figure 1 ) housed in steps made on the edge of the upper bodies 21 , 31 and 41 of the three hulls 2, 3 and 4, and a further group of four rotation articulations, labelled 61 to 64 and located in the lower part of the stern uprights 302 and 402 and of the central uprights 301 and 401 of the side hulls 3 and 4.

In one particularly advantageous variant not illustrated in the figures, the manoeuvring articulations 51 , 54, 55 and 58 located on the side hulls 3 and 4 are housed in the upper end part of the stem uprights 302 and 402 (articulations 55 and 58) and in the upper end part of the central uprights 301 and 401 (articulations 51 , 54): in other words, the manoeuvring articulations are located lower down, that is to say, on the uprights, than in the configuration of Figure 1 , in which the articulations are housed in the steps (not visible) made on the edges of the upper bodies.

In the variant in which the manoeuvring articulations are housed in the upper end part of the stern and central uprights, it is not necessary to use the above-mentioned blocks and it is not even necessary to make steps, with obvious advantages in constructional and structural terms. Moreover, the variant can be usefully applied in the second embodiment in which the side hulls have only one body: in that configuration, in which the side hulls do not have an upper body but are joined to each other by means of tubular elements fixed at the top of the uprights, the manoeuvring articulations of the side hulls are positioned in the upper end part of the uprights.

Figures 5a and 5b illustrate in more detail one of the manoeuvring articulations fixed in the central section of the vehicle on the edges of the upper body of the central hull 2, that is to say, one of the first manoeuvring articulations 52 and 53 in the central section: as shown in Figure 5a, each of the first manoeuvring articulations 52 and 53 consists of a fork 53a equipped with a threaded shank 53d and also comprises a manoeuvring pin, not visible, located between the tines 53b and 53c of the fork; a rigid transversal connecting element 101 in the form of a rod is hinged on that pin. As shown in Figure 5b, the shank 53d of the fork can be rotated in the XZ plane which contains the longitudinal and vertical axes, in such a way as to allow a 90 degree rotation in the XY plane by the rod 101 , when the latter has been disconnected from the side hull 3 (as explained below) for allowing the central hull 2 to be transported separately or folded. The articulations 52 and 53 therefore allow the central hull to be removably connected to the side hulls. When the hulls 2, 3 and 4 are connected, the articulations 52 and 53 are positioned as shown in Figure 5a and allow a rotation of the rods only about the longitudinal axis X: therefore, those articulations are configured as revolute pairs which allow the rotation about said longitudinal axis.

The stern manoeuvring articulations 56 and 57 are configured differently to the central articulations 52 and 53, but equally allow the central hull to be removably connected to the side hulls. Those articulations 56 and 57 are equipped with eyelet ends hinged by means of pins, which are positioned in a longitudinal direction, at the edges of a wing support 700: in that way the articulations 56 and 57 are free to rotate about the pins. Consequently, similarly to what was discussed above for the articulations 52 and 53, also the stern manoeuvring articulations 56 and 57 allow a rotation of the rods 102 and 103, which are connected to those articulations, only about the longitudinal axis X and are therefore configured as revolute pairs. The pins about which the articulations 56 and 57 are hinged are positioned in through holes made on the edges of the above-mentioned wing support 700 and can be pulled out, to allow disconnection of the stern rods 102 and 103 when the central hull 2 is detached from the side hulls 2 and 3. In other words, unlike the rods 100 and 101 in the central section, the rods 102 and 103 cannot be positioned along the edge of the central hull 2, when the latter is disconnected from the side hulls; instead they must be removed, after removal of the pins of the articulations 56 and 57.

Each of the second manoeuvring articulations 51 , 54, 55 and 58 by means of which the rods 100, 101 , 102 and 103 are connected to the side hulls is provided with a release mechanism, made in the form of a sleeve (not illustrated), which can be made to slide in such a way as to unfasten the rod from the articulation and thereby allow the central hull 2 to be disconnected from the side hulls.

Figure 1 illustrates a first variant of the rotation articulations 61 to 64 in which the ends of the horizontal arms 500h, 501 h of the cross-shaped crosspieces 500, 501 are hinged on pins, which are positioned in fork shaped brackets fixed to the central uprights 301 , 401 and the stern uprights 302, 402.

Figures 6a and 6b illustrate a particularly advantageous second preferred variant of the rotation articulations 61 to 64 used for connecting the ends of the horizontal arm of each cross-shaped crosspiece (i.e. two-armed connecting element) to the uprights of the side hulls. The figures illustrate in particular the articulation 64 which connects the horizontal arm 501 h of the stern crosspiece 501 to the stern upright 402 of the side hull 4. As shown in Figure 6a, the articulation 64 comprises an eyelet end 64a and a base 64b equipped with a hole, into which a grooved pin 501 hp is inserted, that is, positioned at the end of the arm 501 h; that end is covered by a bell through which the pin 501 hp comes out. The end of the arm 501 h of the stern crosspiece 501 is removably connected to the articulation 64: in fact the latter is equipped with a release mechanism, shown in the figure by a release push-button 64c on the base 64b, by means of which the crosspiece can be disconnected from the articulation 64. The latter is housed in a through hole 402a made in the body of the upright 402 in such a way that the eyelet end 64a is hinged around a rotation pin 1000, positioned in the direction of the longitudinal axis X inside a through hole 402b in the upright 402. Therefore, the articulation 64 is free to rotate only about the longitudinal axis X and so forms a revolute pair.

The arrangement of the transversal connecting elements and of the uprights to form a kinematic chain which connects the three hulls 2, 3 and 4 to each other means that the connecting elements are able to transmit the movement of one of the hulls to at least one other hull.

The use of articulations in the form of revolute pairs (i.e. revolute joints) for connecting the connecting elements and the three hulls to each other also means that, as already indicated, those elements are able to transmit a rotating movement. Finally, the arrangement of the connecting elements and of the hulls, in particular of the uprights in the illustrated examples, to form a closed chain, means that via the connecting elements it is in general possible to transmit a movement of one of the hulls to both of the other hulls.

In the case of a vehicle comprising only two hulls side by side, the effects of the invention and, in particular, the dynamic steering of the vehicle by means of a shift of the weight of the user, can be achieved by configuring the articulated connecting structure in such a way that, together with the frames on the two hulls, it forms a closed kinematic chain: for this purpose it is sufficient to use linear connecting elements in said articulated connecting structure.

In the case of a three-hull vehicle, as in the preferred embodiment of Figure 1 , the kinematic chain also comprises one or more two-armed connecting elements, that is to say, cross-shaped crosspieces, which are set up for rigidly connecting the three hulls of the vehicle. In that way the vehicle can be dynamically steered by a shift of the weight of the user housed on the central hull, and at the same time vehicle stability is guaranteed.

Therefore, thanks to the use of both types of connecting element (linear and cross-shaped) arranged in a closed kinematic chain, it is possible to simultaneously transmit a tilting movement of the central hull 2, caused by a shift of the weight of the passenger confined in the opening 600 to both of the side hulls 3 and 4 of a three-hull vehicle; it is also possible to simultaneously transmit a tilting movement of one of the side hulls, as a result of the action of the wind, of the waves (for a vehicle intended for transport on water) or of a change in the slope of the reference surface (for example for a vehicle intended for transport on the ground or on ice), to the central hull and to the other side hull. In both cases, the hulls tilt simultaneously and concordantly, that is to say, in the same direction, and they remain substantially parallel even when they are tilted.

As shown in the perspective view of Figure 1 , each cross-shaped crosspiece 500 and 501 is housed in a respective step, labelled 700a and 800a in Figure 1 , made in the upper body 21 of the central hull. The upper end part of the vertical arm 50Gv (or 501 v) of each crosspiece is inserted into a tilting collar, free to move along the transversal axis Y in rails formed on the inner walls of the respective step 800a or 700a. In this way, each cross-shaped articulated crosspiece is constrained to perform rotations about the longitudinal axis X within a range of between 20 and 30 degrees relative to the vertical; it is preferable that the angle of inclination does not exceed 30 degrees, beyond which the safety and comfort of the user housed in the central hull are considerably reduced. Each of the steps 700a and 800a is usually covered by a cover (not illustrated) which prevents the vertical arm of each crosspiece from moving in the direction of the vertical Z axis. When the centra! hull 2 is disconnected from the side hulls 3 and 4, it is necessary to remove that cover so as to then allow unfastening and lifting of each crosspiece 500, 501 from the universal joint 90, 91 by means of which if is fixed to the deck 22a of the lower body 22 of the central hull 2.

The lower end of the vertical arm 50Gv and 501 v of each cross-shaped articulated crosspiece 500 and 501 is respectively fixed to the deck of the central hull by means of the above-mentioned universal joints 90 and 91. Each joint (also called a power joint) is in principle free to rotate through 360 degrees; thanks to insertion of the upper end of each vertical arm into the steps 700a and 800a described above, the rotation of each crosspiece is constrained to be performed only in the transversal YZ plane.

Since each of the connecting elements, that is to say, the cross-shaped articulated crosspieces and the rods, is hinged at two opposite ends on articulations able to rotate only about the longitudinal axis X, the movement of the connecting elements following a rotation of the articulations positioned on a side hull and, in the opposite position, on the central hull, is in turn constrained to be performed exclusively in the plane containing the transversal axis, that is to say, the second axis or Y axis, and the vertical axis or Z axis: in other words, the movement is constrained to be performed only in the transversal YZ plane.

Figure 1 shows how, similarly to the central hull, each side hull has at least two bodies which are facing each other and connected by uprights positioned along the longitudinal axis X. Although the multi-body structure of the side hulls is preferable because it guarantees greater vehicle stability, sturdiness and safety, it is not essentia! for achieving the aims of the present invention, in particular for being able to dynamically steer the vehicle by means of shifting of the weight of a user positioned on the central hull.

!n a second, not illustrated embodiment, the side hulls each consist of only one body, on whose deck at least two uprights are positioned in a longitudinal direction, said uprights being connected to each other by a tubular element which replaces the upper body 31 (or 41 } illustrated in the examples of Figures 1 to 4. In this second embodiment the central hull 2 and the structure which connects the latter to the side hulls 3 and 4 are substantially identical to those illustrated above relative to Figures 1 to 4: therefore, the vehicle can be dynamically controlled by shifting of the weight of the user, thanks to the use of a structure for connecting the hulls in the form of a closed kinematic chain; moreover, the use of a central hull guarantees user safety. In the second embodiment, both the manoeuvring articulations and the rotation articulations which connect each side hull to the central hull are positioned on the uprights, and spaced along the vertical Z axis; mounting of the manoeuvring articulations by means of manoeuvring blocks is not possible.

The use of tubular elements positioned between the uprights of each hull allows the vehicle to be made lighter and at the same time, if the vehicle is being used in combination with a wing sail, prevents the sail from making contact with the reference surface. Contact between the sail and the reference surface must be avoided above all if the vehicle is used on water, since it may cause capsizing: the tubular elements located on the uprights of the side hulls form a peripheral structure which is raised relative to the reference surface and they can be used to rest the sail on at a safe distance from the water, for example when entering the wafer with the vehicle. It is evident that the same technical effect is achieved by using multi-body side hulls, since, similarly to the tubular elements, the upper body of each side hull allows a sail to be kept at a distance from the surface of the water. In both embodiments, the upper bodies and the tubular elements also act as a protective side barrier.

As explained above, each of the side hulls is removable and can be disconnected from the central hull by means of release devices; the linear connecting elements of the articulated connecting structure, once the side hulls have been disconnected from the central hull, can be rotated 90 degrees in the XY plane and fixed along the upper body of the central hull by means of fastening devices, for example consisting of flexible “C”- shaped elements equipped with clamps. Those flexible elements are positioned along each rod (connecting element) and then fixed to the edge of the opening 600 by means of the clamps.

Each of the hulls may be equipped with watertight compartments, preferably removable, which allow material to be transported.

Each of the hulls may also be equipped with fairings in order to facilitate movement on water, with blades or runners, for a vehicle to be used on ice, or with wheels, if the vehicle is for use on dry land. If it is intended to be used on water, the vehicle may advantageously be equipped with directional fins and/or centreboards.

Thanks to the intrinsic stability of the vehicle guaranteed by the connecting structure described above, the vehicle is ideal for use in combination with wing sails supported and manoeuvred by a passenger, for example of the kite wing type, without the need to use a mast fixed to one of the hulls of the vehicle; the use of multi-body side hulls or of side hulls equipped with tubular elements, as described above, is particularly advantageous if the vehicle is used with such sails for the reasons set out above; in particular, multi-hull vehicles with a length of less than four metres, not normally usable with wing type sails, can advantageously be used in combination with such sails, for tourist - recreational activities, if configured according to the teachings of this invention.