What are these art boats? POST #2 Lost Vegas this Saturday night at CELL SPACE

So people are asking how the boat project got started and all that stuff. And it’s pretty simple. The boats are made of foam and plywood. Like 2 coffins, filled with scrappy foam.


The foam has air in it. So there is the miracle of buoyancy. You know this miracle if you ever tried to turn a Pepsi bottle upside-down in water and let it shoot up like a missile. So the design is a pontoon design. With 2 pontoons. So the water that the pontoon displaces has somewhere to go. It’s called a displacement hull. We use dagger boards to true the course.


foam pontoon

The boats are kinda like a dock, if that helps you. They are very sturdy and very stable in the water. The bigger the boat, the less the chop affects it. They are by no means water-proof. Water fills the pontoons. But the foam is in there to push up. Yes, Timmy. Like a wonder bra. If you were to purchase the foam and the lumber new, this boat would cost $1,000 or so.

maria in queens

For propulsion, I use Mercedez 240 D diesel engines. 4 speeds. I pull the engine out of the car but leave the front tires on. The front tires then become the bearing the allows me to pull the propeller out of the water. The engine sits in a cradle called a 5th wheel. It’s the thing you see in the back of a pick-up truck for a horse trailer. I just got a few of those and modified them. You literally move the entire engine module to steer the craft. If you look, you can imagine how it works. It’s ridiculous, amazing and totally functional. No one has ever done anything quite like it. It’s not an out-board or and in-board. I call it: the ON-BOARD.


6196 - Camp Tipsy


Anton Berteaux is the engine guru. He sets the engines up to run well in 2nd gear so the prop has some functionality in reverse. The engines are complete, with radiators and buttons to start and stop and even a radio. The wheels even have their orignal Mercedes hubcaps. Salty boat guys rub their eyes the first time they see the boats. Some people hate them.

anton cowboy

Boating is something that you think of as either a trade or a leisure time activity for the very rich. You simply don’t think of a boat as transportation or housing. Until something like Katrina happens. I can make a boat out of inflated garbage bags and trash cans lids and survive a flood. In 20 minutes. You see a gallon of milk. I see 30 pounds of lift. There are some things that we have done that are pretty stellar.


There are some things that didn’t work out too well…

It lives!photo by ani thompkins

Then there is the hot tub boat. Which is a singularity. Just look at it. And not only is it totally cool, and kinda fast… it makes all the girls take their clothes off! Then you take off to the middle of the lake, pretend the battery has gone dead and you become the last man on Earth!!!!!!

hottub boat

Tomorrow I’ll tell you more about Swoon, the artist who directs the sculptural component and what her story is. And we’ll talk about the vegans. Oh the humaninty. Here is last years crew


Lost Vegas is the event in San Franciso that is supporting this endevour. It’s this Saturday. It starts at 9:00, at the old CELL SPACE 2050 Bryant St @ 19th.

vegas - 45

photo by Caution Mike

Chicken John's Lost Vegas

the ramp of death photo by scott beale

Lost Vegas

photo rat roulette by scott beale


champion racers photo by mo mo

By coming to CELL SPACE you are supporting the boat project this year. We are putting in the water in Slovenia and motoring to the Venician Beinalle, the bi-annual art festival that doesn’t want us anywhere near it. We think that they just need to get to know us. So we’re crashing their festival. With a $50,000 garbage liability. Sometimes you have to push a little.

Build a boat out of garbage and go on an art adventure in another country. How’d I get so lucky?



One Response

  1. Wow. This post is great. It’s really cunning you come up with researching this particular subject. Nice one.

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