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Title:
ANCHOR SYSTEM FOR VESSEL
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2022/152887
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An anchor system is provided which is installed on a pontoon boat. The pontoon boat includes at least two pontoons and a base deck structure supported by the pontoons. The anchor system is disposed on at least one of the pontoons. The anchor system comprises: an anchor; anchor rode connected to the anchor; and an anchor fairlead disposed at a forward portion of the pontoon boat. The anchor fairlead is configured to guide the anchor rode during hauling in and letting out of the anchor. The anchor system further includes a windlass disposed rearwardly of the anchor fairlead and configured to haul in and let out the anchor rode. An enclosed anchor rode conduit is disposed between the windlass and the anchor fairlead, the enclosed anchor rode conduit being configured to shield and guide the anchor rode between the fairlead and the windlass.

Inventors:
BARRETT ALASDAIR CRAIG (GB)
Application Number:
PCT/EP2022/050804
Publication Date:
July 21, 2022
Filing Date:
January 14, 2022
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
LEWMAR LTD (GB)
International Classes:
B63B21/22; B63B21/10; B63B21/50
Domestic Patent References:
WO2004031031A12004-04-15
Foreign References:
US5205234A1993-04-27
GB2532289A2016-05-18
US10308320B12019-06-04
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MEWBURN ELLIS LLP (GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1 . An anchor system installed on a pontoon boat, the pontoon boat including at least two pontoons and a base deck structure supported by the pontoons, wherein the anchor system is disposed on at least one of the pontoons and comprises: an anchor; anchor rode connected to the anchor; an anchor fairlead disposed at a forward portion of the pontoon boat, the anchor fairlead configured to guide the anchor rode during hauling in and letting out of the anchor; a windlass disposed rearwardly of the anchor fairlead and configured to haul in and let out the anchor rode; and an enclosed anchor rode conduit disposed between the windlass and the anchor fairlead, the enclosed anchor rode conduit being configured to shield and guide the anchor rode between the fairlead and the windlass.

2. An anchor system according to claim 1 wherein the anchor rode includes a length of chain and a length of rope connected in series, the length of chain being connected to the anchor at a distal end of the chain and the length of rope being connected to a proximal end of the chain.

3. An anchor system according to claim 2 wherein the length of chain is less than the distance, measured along the anchor rode, between the windlass and the anchor fairlead.

4. An anchor system according to claim 3 wherein the windlass is adapted to haul and let out rope.

5. An anchor system according to claim 4 wherein the windlass is adapted to store multiple turns of anchor rode on a windlass drum reel.

6. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 5 wherein the entirety of the anchor rode is constituted by anchor rode stored on the windlass and anchor rode between the windlass and the anchor, as measured along the anchor rode.

7. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 6 wherein the anchor fairlead is fixed to an underside of the base deck structure.

8. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 7 wherein an inner surface of the anchor rode conduit, facing the anchor rode, is formed of a plastics material.

9. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein the anchor rode conduit is disposed below the base deck structure and above the pontoon on which the anchor rode conduit is disposed.

10. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 8 wherein the anchor rode conduit is disposed below the base deck structure and circumferentially displaced from vertical alignment with a centre line of the pontoon on which the anchor rode conduit is disposed.

11. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 10 wherein the windlass is disposed in a compartment of the pontoon, the anchor rode being conducted along the anchor rode conduit from the anchor fairlead and around an anchor rode diverter to the windlass.

12. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 11 wherein the windlass has a drum reel for receiving the anchor rode and the diameter of the drum reel is greater than the axial length of the drum reel.

13. An anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 12 wherein the anchor rode conduit has an end cap for reducing water ingress along the anchor rode conduit, the end cap permitting passage of the anchor rode.

14. A pontoon boat with an anchor system according to any one of claims 1 to 13.

Description:
ANCHOR SYSTEM FOR VESSEL

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to an anchor system for a vessel and to a vessel incorporating such an anchor system. It has particular, although not necessarily exclusive, application to an anchor system for a pleasure craft such as a pontoon boat.

Background

A form of windlass having a gypsy (in which a line and/or chain executes only a single turn or less between inward and outward runs) is commonly used on marine craft to haul and let out the anchor rode i.e. the line and/or chain attached to the anchor. Since the combined weight of the anchor and chain can be relatively great, windlasses powered by electric or hydraulic motors are known. These typically haul the chain over the gypsy of the windlass and allow the anchor rode to fall under gravity into an anchor locker under the deck of the craft at the bow. One example of such a windlass is the Lewmar Pro-Fish series windlass, such as Part Number: 6656411199-311 (https://www.lewmar.eom/node/11669?v=25247 accessed 15 December 2020).

The anchor rode is typically guided over the bow of the craft by an anchor fairlead such as a bow roller. The bow roller may ensure that the anchor rode does not escape from the bow roller during hauling and letting out of the anchor.

In view of the need to provide a suitable space for the anchor locker, the windlass is usually set back a particular distance (which may vary from craft to craft) from the bow of the craft, so that the windlass can be located directly above the anchor locker, allowing the anchor rode to drop substantially vertically into the anchor locker.

An anchor rode may include a length of chain and a length of line (rope) connected in series. The chain is typically connected to the anchor at a distal end of the chain and the line is typically connected to a proximal end of the chain. The purpose of the chain is to assist the anchor in providing engagement with the sea bed (or lake bed or river bed, as appropriate) and therefore enhances the anchoring capability of the anchoring system. The purpose of the line is to provide an adequate length of connection between the boat and the proximal end of the chain, to allow relatively deep water anchoring where necessary.

A known example of a pleasure craft is a pontoon boat. Pontoon boats comprise a flat deck attached on top of buoyant elongate tubes (known as pontoons). These pontoons extend the length of the boat and can house a variety of marine equipment, such as the fuel & water tanks and pressurised (buoyant) tanks. Pontoon boats are popular, relatively low-cost boats in the leisure boating industry. The pontoons of such pontoon boats may for example have an internal diameter in the region of 600mm. Pontoon boats are particularly suitable for use on inland waters and are typically highly stable, allowing boat manufacturers to build comfortable user accommodation space on the deck, such as seating, sunloungers and fishing stations. Some pontoon boats may have two pontoons. Some pontoon boats have three pontoons, in which case they may be referred to as ‘tritoons’.

One of the advantages of pontoon boats is that they may have a shallow draft, allowing them to explore areas of relatively shallow water without risk of grounding. This is made possible because the multiple shallow pontoons provide stability without the need for a keel or centreboard. However, the relatively shallow pontoons also mean that there is no adequate vertical space available for an anchor drop between a windlass and an anchor locker.

In order to avoid the need for an anchor locker, a captive reel windlass is known, such as the Lewmar Captive Reel Windlass 400W, Part Number: 66910441 (https://www.lewmar.eom/node/13257?v=26566 accessed 15 December 2020). However, such a captive reel windlass is typically only suited to hauling and storing line (rope) rather than chain, meaning that the use of such a windlass would foreclose the advantages of incorporation of chain into the anchor rode.

The present invention has been devised in light of the above considerations.

Summary of the Invention

In a first aspect, the present invention provides an anchor system installed on a pontoon boat, the pontoon boat including at least two pontoons and a base deck structure supported by the pontoons, wherein the anchor system is disposed on at least one of the pontoons and comprises: an anchor; anchor rode connected to the anchor; an anchor fairlead disposed at a forward portion of the pontoon boat, the anchor fairlead configured to guide the anchor rode during hauling in and letting out of the anchor; a windlass disposed rearwardly of the anchor fairlead and configured to haul in and let out the anchor rode; and an enclosed anchor rode conduit disposed between the windlass and the anchor fairlead, the enclosed anchor rode conduit being configured to shield and guide the anchor rode between the fairlead and the windlass.

In a second aspect, the present invention provides an anchor system for installation on a pontoon boat, the pontoon boat including at least two pontoons and a base deck structure supported by the pontoons, wherein the anchor system is suitable to be disposed on at least one of the pontoons and comprises: an anchor; anchor rode connected to the anchor; an anchor fairlead to be disposed at a forward portion of the pontoon boat, the anchor fairlead configured to guide the anchor rode during hauling in and letting out of the anchor; a windlass to be disposed rearwardly of the anchor fairlead and configured to haul in and let out the anchor rode; and an enclosed anchor rode conduit to be disposed between the windlass and the anchor fairlead, the enclosed anchor rode conduit being configured to shield and guide the anchor rode between the fairlead and the windlass.

In a third aspect, the present invention provides a pontoon boat having an anchor system, the pontoon boat including at least two pontoons and a base deck structure supported by the pontoons, wherein the anchor system is disposed on at least one of the pontoons and comprises: an anchor; anchor rode connected to the anchor; an anchor fairlead disposed at a forward portion of the pontoon boat, the anchor fairlead configured to guide the anchor rode during hauling in and letting out of the anchor; a windlass disposed rearwardly of the anchor fairlead and configured to haul in and let out the anchor rode; and an enclosed anchor rode conduit disposed between the windlass and the anchor fairlead, the enclosed anchor rode conduit being configured to shield and guide the anchor rode between the fairlead and the windlass.

Optional features of the present invention are now set out. These may be applied singly or in any combination to any aspect of the invention, except where such a combination is clearly impermissible or expressly avoided.

In preferred implementations of the present invention, the anchor rode includes a length of chain and a length of rope connected in series. In this case, the length of chain is preferably connected to the anchor at a distal end of the chain and the length of rope is preferably connected to a proximal end of the chain. In this way, the length of chain can be selected in order that the chain does not reach the windlass, even when the anchor is in its fully hauled in configuration. The length of the anchor rode conduit may be substantially the same as the length of chain. Accordingly, when the anchor is in its fully hauled in configuration, the anchor chain may be stowed inside the anchor rode conduit. In some embodiments, for example, the length of chain may be less than the distance, measured along the anchor rode, between the windlass and the anchor fairlead.

The windlass may be adapted to haul and let out rope. For example, the windlass may be adapted to store multiple turns of anchor rode on a windlass drum reel. Wherein the entirety of the anchor rode may be constituted by anchor rode stored on the windlass and anchor rode between the windlass and the anchor, as measured along the anchor rode. In this way, the anchor system may be considered to use a captive reel windlass, without the need for an anchor rode locker. Preferably, the windlass does not include a gypsy. A gypsy is typically of particular use for hauling chain, but in the present case the chain typically does not reach the windlass. The anchor fairlead may be fixed to an underside of the base deck structure. This is not a typical configuration in anchor systems and allows the anchor to be stowed out of the way of the users of the boat. This in turn increases the available deck space to the users. The anchor fairlead provides a stowage space in which the anchor snugly fits. Furthermore, the anchor fairlead preferably also comprises one or more rollers configured to guide the anchor rode. The use of a fairlead with such rollers permits smooth letting out and hauling in of the anchor.

The length of the anchor rode conduit will typically be selected in view of the available space, bearing in mind its role in storing part of the anchor rode and preferably the chain part of the anchor rode. This will therefore vary with the size of the boat. Typically, the anchor rode conduit has a length of at least 1 m. The anchor rode conduit may have an internal diameter corresponding to not more than twice the maximum external diameter of the anchor rode to be guided and the anchor rode conduit. In the case of rope, the diameter is readily measurable. In the case of chain, the diameter can be taken as the maximum width (measured in a direction perpendicular to the length of the anchor rode) of the links of the chain.

The anchor rode conduit may take the form of a pipe. The exterior of the anchor rode conduit may be formed of any suitable material, such as a metal (e.g. aluminium). The inner surface of the anchor rode conduit, facing the anchor rode, may be formed of a material that assists in low friction movement of the anchor rode along the anchor rode conduit. Furthermore, such a material may assist in reducing the noise associated with movement of the anchor rode along the anchor rode conduit. A plastics material such as PVC may be suitable for this purpose.

The anchor rode conduit may be disposed below the base deck structure and above the pontoon on which the anchor rode conduit is disposed. In some embodiments, anchor rode conduit may be substantially in vertical alignment with a centre line of the pontoon on which the anchor rode conduit is disposed. In other embodiments, the anchor rode conduit may be disposed to be circumferentially displaced from vertical alignment with a centre line of the pontoon on which the anchor rode conduit is disposed.

In some embodiments, the windlass (i.e. the drum reel of the windlass) has a substantially horizontal axis of rotation. In other embodiments, the windlass (i.e. the drum reel of the windlass) has an oblique axis of rotation. Such an orientation is neither horizontal nor vertical. The axis of rotation may be set at an angle of at least 5° from horizontal, for example. The axis if rotation may be set at an angle of not more than 45° from horizontal, for example. Typically, the offset from horizontal of the axis of rotation of the windlass substantially matches any circumferential offset of the position of the anchor rode conduit with respect to vertical alignment with the centre line of the pontoon on which the anchor rode conduit is disposed.

The windlass may be disposed in a compartment of the pontoon, the anchor rode being conducted along the anchor rode conduit from the anchor fairlead and around an anchor rode diverter to the windlass. As already mentioned, the windlass may have a drum reel for receiving the anchor rode. The diameter of the drum reel may be greater than the axial length of the drum reel. This allows the windlass to store an adequate length of anchor rode at an acceptable range of fleet angles.

The anchor rode conduit may have an end cap. This may be disposed at a proximal end of the anchor rode conduit (i.e. closest to the windlass). The purpose of the end cap is to reduce water ingress along the anchor rode conduit. The end cap may have one or more suitable opening to permit passage of the anchor rode.

In some embodiments, the vessel is a pontoon style vessel with three hulls. In this case, the hulls are parallel and extend along the full length of the pontoon boat. Each hull is attached to the deck of the boat, with one running along the middle (i.e. the central hull) and the other two on either side of the central hull. This arrangement results in the deck being well support across its width. For a three hull vessel, the anchor system is preferably disposed on the central hull.

Summary of the Figures

Embodiments illustrating the principles of the invention will now be discussed with reference to the accompanying figures in which:

Figure 1 shows a perspective view of the pontoon hulls and base deck structure forming part of a three pontoon hull vessel according to an embodiment of the invention. The superstructure of the vessel is not shown.

Figure 2 shows a side perspective view of the pontoon hulls and base deck structure shown in Figure 1 .

Figure 3 shows a perspective view, from the stern, of the pontoon hulls and base deck structure shown in Figure 1 .

Figure 4 shows a perspective view, from the bows, of the pontoon hulls and base deck structure shown in Figure 1 .

Figure 5 shows a side view of the central hull of the embodiment shown in Figure 1 but with the base deck beams omitted.

Figure 6 is a side view of the front part of the central pontoon hull of the embodiment shown in Figure 1 .

Figure 7 is a rear perspective view of the front part of the central pontoon hull shown in Figure 5. Figure 8 is a front perspective view, taken from slightly below a notional waterline, of the front part of the central pontoon hull shown in Figure 5.

Figure 9A is a front perspective view, taken from above, of the front part of the central pontoon hull shown in Figure 5. Figure 9B is an enlarged view of the indicated part of Figure 9A.

Figure 10A is a more oblique front perspective view than Figure 9A. Figure 10B is an enlarged view of the indicated part of Figure 10A.

Figure 11 shows a front perspective view, taken from slightly below a notional waterline, of a front part of a central portion of a pontoon hull of a modified embodiment.

Figure 12 is a side perspective view of the embodiment shown in Figure 11 .

Figure 13 is a side elevation view of the embodiment shown in Figure 11 .

Figure 14 is a longitudinal sectional cutaway view of the embodiment shown in Figure 11 .

Figure 15 is a partial perspective view, taken from the rear, of the embodiment shown in Figure 11.

Figure 16 is an enlarged partial perspective view of the windless arrangement of the embodiment shown in Figure 11 .

Figure 17 is an enlarged perspective view of part of the anchor rode conduit and roller of the windlass arrangement of the embodiment shown in Figure 11 .

Detailed Description of the Invention

Aspects and embodiments of the present invention will now be discussed with reference to the accompanying figures. Further aspects and embodiments will be apparent to those skilled in the art. All documents mentioned in this text are incorporated herein by reference.

A first embodiment of the invention is illustrated with reference to Figures 1 to 10. A second embodiment is illustrated with reference to Figures 11 to 17, this being a modification of the first embodiment.

Where appropriate, corresponding features in the figures are given corresponding reference numbers and the description of some features of some figures may be omitted where they have been described previously. Figure 1 shows a perspective view of the pontoon hulls and base deck structure forming part of a three pontoon hull vessel 100 according to an embodiment of the invention. The superstructure of the vessel is not shown. Figures 2, 3 and 4 show different views of the same three pontoon hull vessel.

The vessel has three elongate pontoon hulls, central pontoon hull 102, port pontoon hull 104 and starboard pontoon hull 106. Each pontoon hull extends in the longitudinal (fore-aft) direction of the vessel, from a bow region of the vessel to a stern region of the vessel.

The pontoon hulls 102, 104, 106 are parallel to each other. A base deck structure is arranged at the upper sides of the pontoon hulls. The base deck structure comprises an arrangement of laterally extending beams 108. These are attached to the pontoon hulls by a corresponding arrangement of brackets 110 welded to the pontoon hulls.

Although not shown in the drawings, it is intended that a superstructure is supported on the base deck structure. The superstructure may include various items arranged for user comfort and for usability of the vessel. For example, there may be provided a deck overlaying the base deck structure and providing a surface suitable for users to walk on, a perimeter wall or railing, seating, steering equipment, fishing stations, etc. At the stern of the vessel is provided space 112 for positioning an outboard motor.

As best shown in Figure 4, each pontoon hull has a bow region. Each bow region comprises a forwardly tapering shape, terminating in a longitudinally extending seam 114. Arranged laterally on either side of the bow seam are spray plates 116. The spray plates are arranged to prevent excessive spray from projecting upwardly from the water during high speed travel of the vessel.

Figure 4 shows the anchor 120, in its hauled-in position, arranged at the bow portion of the central pontoon hull 102. The anchoring system is described in more detail below.

Figure 5 shows a side view of the central pontoon hull 102 of the embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 4, but with the base deck beams 108 omitted. Each pontoon hull typically comprises an aluminium structure. The general shape of the structure is cylindrical (circular cylindrical). The pontoon hull comprises various compartments which may be sealed from each other via bulkheads. Some of these compartments may be open (typically opening to the top side, to allow positioning of equipment in the compartment, and access to that equipment). Others of these compartments are closed and typically are pressurised. In particular, the bow compartment 122 at the bow region of the pontoon hull is sealed and pressurised. This allows it to withstand impact with the water, and limited impact with solid objects, without significant deformation. In Fig. 5, hull seam 124 indicates the boundary between compartment 122 and windlass compartment 126, which is not pressurised. A bulkhead (not shown) is positioned interiorly of the hull seam.

As shown in Figure 5, the central pontoon hull (and the port and starboard pontoon hulls) may have longitudinally extending ribs 128 along the underside of the pontoon holes, to aid tracking of the vessel. The vertical position of these ribs can be considered to be a notional waterline of the vessel, at least under limited loading of the vessel.

Turning now to the anchor system, Figure 6 is a side view of the front part of the central pontoon hull shown in Figure 5, including the bow compartment 122 and the windlass compartment 126. Also shown is a bow region 130 of the base deck structure. Figures 7-10 show further features of the anchor system and its relationship with the central pontoon hull 102.

The anchor 120 is shown in its fully hauled-in position held on the bow roller, indicated generally as 200. The bow roller 200 in this case is attached to the underside of the bow region 130 of the base deck structure. Referring to Fig. 9B, the bow roller 200 comprises lateral side plates 210, 212 which are connected via a top plate 214 and a wire loop 216 to form a fairlead for the anchor rode (described in more detail below). Top plate 214 is shown with a series of fixing holes at different positions, ensuring that it is fixable in a variety of positions and ensuring suitability with a wide range of boats. A roller 218 is rotatably mounted between the side plates 210, 212 and aligned with wire loop 216 of the fairlead. The anchor fairlead is thereby configured to guide the anchor rode during hauling in and letting out of the anchor 120.

An enclosed anchor rode conduit 220 is disposed rearwardly of the bow roller 200 and extends longitudinally along the upper side of the forward part of the pontoon hull. The enclosed anchor rode conduit 220 takes the form of a pipe through which the anchor rode is guided during hauling in or letting out of the anchor. The enclosed anchor rode conduit is attached to the pontoon hull via an arrangement of brackets 222, 224 which may also serve to support part of the base deck structure. This ensures that the enclosed anchor rode conduit 220 is held securely in position.

In this embodiment, the enclosed anchor rode conduit 220 is not positioned at the top most part of the pontoon hull (although this is a feature of the modified embodiment, described below). Instead, in this embodiment, the enclosed anchor rode conduit 220 extends along the pontoon hull at a laterally offset position, at about an angle of between 5° and 30° from the top most part of the pontoon hull. As shown in Figure 4, this allows the position of the anchor to be laterally offset from the bow portion of the central pontoon hull, which in turn as shown in Figures 5 and 6 allows the fully hauled-in position of the anchor to be slightly behind the front of the bow of the central pontoon hull.

Figure 8 is a front perspective view, taken from slightly below the notional waterline, of the front part of the central pontoon hull shown in Figure 5. This shows the fixing of the bow roller 200 with respect to the underside of the bow portion of the base deck structure.

The windlass 300 is shown in Figure 9A. The windlass 300 is disposed below the topmost level of the central pontoon hull, inside open compartment 302. The windlass comprises a drum reel 304 for receiving and storing the anchor rode. The reel 304 is supported by windlass bracket 306 which in turn is attached to vertically extending bulkhead 308 of the pontoon hull. The windlass is powered in this embodiment by an electric motor 310. A level wind mechanism (not shown) may be incorporated in order to neatly arrange the anchor rode on the drum reel of the windlass. In this embodiment, the axis of rotation of the drum reel maybe neither vertical nor horizontal. Having an oblique angle of rotation allows the anchor rode to be passed from the anchor rode conduit 220 to the drum reel 304 in the most advantageous orientation to allow neat winding of the anchor rode on the drum reel 304.

Figures 10A and 10B show similar features to those shown in Figures 9A and 9B. Figure 10 additionally shows the change in direction of the anchor rode 312 between the anchor rode conduit 220 and the length of anchor rode between the anchor rode conduit and the drum reel of the windlass. Accordingly, at the rear end of the anchor rode conduit is provided a further roller, the rode diverter roller 314, configured to divert the anchor rode 312 from the anchor rode conduit towards the drum reel 304.

Although not shown in the drawings, the anchor rode includes a length of chain and a length of line (rope) connected in series. The length of chain is connected to the anchor 120 at a distal end of the chain. In this description, the term ‘distal’ identifies features that are distant from the windlass along the anchor rode and the term ‘proximal’ identifies features that, relatively, are closer to the windlass, as measured along the anchor rode. The length of rope is connected to a proximal end of the chain. The length of chain is selected in order to be substantially the same length as the length of the anchor rode conduit 220. As will be understood, including a length of chain in the anchor system can increase the efficiency of the anchor system in engaging with the sea bed (or lake bed or river bed). However, it is difficult to store a length of chain on a drum reel at any significant length without risk of tangling of the chain or damaging rope already stored on the drum reel. Therefore one particular advantage of the preferred embodiments of the present invention is that, in the fully hauled in configuration of the anchor system, where the anchor is held in the bow roller (anchor fairlead), the chain is housed inside the anchor rode conduit, but no chain extends onto the drum reel of the windlass 300. With this arrangement, any suitable length of line can be stored on the windlass, allowing, if wanted, very long total available anchor rode length. As will be appreciated, pontoon boats do not have a significant vertical drop available in the depth of the hull in order to provide an anchor drop into an anchor locker. Accordingly, the arrangements provided by the embodiments of the present invention provide a convenient anchor system specifically for pontoon boats, where the draft of the hull is relatively shallow.

The use of a drum reel windlass on which the anchor road is stored, without the use of an anchor locker, permits the operation of the anchor system based on the simple operation of a button, for example a rocker switch (not shown) where pressing the rocker switch in one direction lets out the anchor and pressing the rocker switch in another direction hauls in the anchor.

The enclosed anchor rode conduit preferably provides an interior surface which reduces friction and noise of the chain running through it. For example, the anchor rode conduit may be an aluminium (or other suitable metallic) tube lined with a lining material such as a non-metallic lining material. Preferably the lining material is a low friction material and/or a noise dampening material. Plastics materials may be suitable for this purpose, such as PVC. In the context of an aluminium pontoon hull, the provision of an anchor rode conduit reduces the likelihood of the anchor chain impacting the hull, which would otherwise cause unwanted loud noises.

As shown in the drawings, the drum reel of the windlass has a relatively large diameter. This is despite the overall diameter of the pontoon hull being typically limited to about 600 mm or less. Additionally, the axial width of the drum reel is relatively narrow. These features allow a relatively large length of rope to be stored on the drum reel whilst keeping the fleet angle of the rope as low as possible. This allows the rope to spall onto the drum reel in a suitably neat fashion, to avoid miss-winding or tangling.

A modified embodiment of the invention will now be described with reference to Figures 11-17, in which similar features to those already identified and described with respect to the first embodiment have similar reference numbers and/or may not be described again in further detail.

In general terms, the modified embodiment differs from the first embodiment in that the anchor rode conduit is disposed above central pontoon hull, substantially aligned with the fore-aft centre line of the central pontoon hull. The effect of this is that the anchor is also positioned substantially in register with the fore-aft centre line of the central pontoon hull.

Figure 11 shows a front perspective view of the front part of a central portion of a pontoon hull 102 of the modified embodiment. The view is taken from slightly below a notional waterline of the pontoon boat.

As with the first embodiment, the bow roller assembly 200 is attached to the underside of the bow portion 130 of the base deck structure. The construction of the bow roller assembly 200 is similar to the first embodiment and is not described in further detail here.

The anchor rode conduit 220 also has a similar construction to the first embodiment, although its position is different, as already explained. The anchor rode conduit 220 passes through a corresponding aperture in laterally-extending bracket 252 formed on the top of the pontoon hull.

Figure 14 is a longitudinal sectional cutaway view of the modified embodiment. The view is taken along the fore-aft centreline of the pontoon hull. In this schematic drawing, the anchor rode 312 is shown as a rope, but in reality the part of the anchor rode located in the anchor rode conduit 220 is a chain. The anchor rode 312 passes along the interior of the anchor rode conduit 220, over rode diverter roller 314a (rotatably supported by bracket 315) and on to the drum reel 304a of the windlass 300a. As shown in Figure 15, in this embodiment, the windlass 300a is attached via a bracket 306a to a base plate 307 located in windlass compartment 302a. In this embodiment, the windlass 300a is disposed so that its axis of rotation is horizontal. The anchor rode 312 is directed onto the drum reel 304a of the windlass from above, as shown in Figure 15. Figure 16 is an enlarged view of part of Figure 15. In this view, the anchor rode diverter roller is again obscured by bracket 315. Also attached to bracket 315 is a chain-link sensor 317. This is positioned in order to sense whether chain of the anchor rode 312 has exited the proximal end of the anchor rode conduit 220. The intention is that the chain should not pass over the anchor rode diverter roller, in order for it to avoid reaching the drum reel 304a of the windlass 300a for the reasons explained above.

Additionally or alternatively, sensor 317 may operate to sense the length of anchor rode 312 paid out and/or hauled in.

Figure 17 is an enlarged perspective view of the proximal end of the anchor rode conduit 220 and the anchor rode diverter roller 314a, but with brackets 252 and 315 omitted for clarity of understanding. The chain-link sensor 317 is also omitted. The purpose of Figure 17 is to highlight the presence of endcap 320 on the proximal end of the anchor rode conduit 220. This is secured in position by jubilee clip 322. The end cap 320 is in the form of a rubber diaphragm with cross slits 324, 326. The cross slits permit the rope to pass along the anchor rode conduit but the presence of the end cap 320 provides a means to reduce water ingress into the pontoon hull along the anchor rode conduit. In addition, the end cap reduce the generation of noise (whistling) from air through the anchor rode conduit 220 when the boat is travelling at high speeds.

In each embodiment, the windlass may be a direct drive 12V powered drum windlass. To ensure a suitable range of fleet angles onto the drum, the drum has a relatively short axial length and a relatively large diameter. Preferably the axial length of the drum is not more than 150 mm, preferably not more than 100 mm. Preferably the diameter of the drum (the part onto which the rope is wound) is not less than 100 mm. Furthermore, the axial length of the drum is preferably not more than the diameter of the drum (the diameter of the part onto which the rope is wound).

***

The features disclosed in the foregoing description, or in the following claims, or in the accompanying drawings, expressed in their specific forms or in terms of a means for performing the disclosed function, or a method or process for obtaining the disclosed results, as appropriate, may, separately, or in any combination of such features, be utilised for realising the invention in diverse forms thereof.

While the invention has been described in conjunction with the exemplary embodiments described above, many equivalent modifications and variations will be apparent to those skilled in the art when given this disclosure. Accordingly, the exemplary embodiments of the invention set forth above are considered to be illustrative and not limiting. Various changes to the described embodiments may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. For the avoidance of any doubt, any theoretical explanations provided herein are provided for the purposes of improving the understanding of a reader. The inventors do not wish to be bound by any of these theoretical explanations.

Any section headings used herein are for organizational purposes only and are not to be construed as limiting the subject matter described.

Throughout this specification, including the claims which follow, unless the context requires otherwise, the word “comprise” and “include”, and variations such as “comprises”, “comprising”, and “including” will be understood to imply the inclusion of a stated integer or step or group of integers or steps but not the exclusion of any other integer or step or group of integers or steps.

It must be noted that, as used in the specification and the appended claims, the singular forms “a,” “an,” and “the” include plural referents unless the context clearly dictates otherwise. Ranges may be expressed herein as from “about” one particular value, and/or to “about” another particular value. When such a range is expressed, another embodiment includes from the one particular value and/or to the other particular value. Similarly, when values are expressed as approximations, by the use of the antecedent “about,” it will be understood that the particular value forms another embodiment. The term “about” in relation to a numerical value is optional and means for example +/- 10%.