Guerilla Flotilla 06
photos by Sickrat and Dr. Kludge
The Guerilla Flotilla is an annual invasion of the Chicago River. Since the river is 60% effluent, boat builders are strongly motivated to construct craft that will keep them dry. Some do so with artfully bent and finished wood in basements and garages, and some do so in insane 12-hour chopping all-nighters with a Leftover Crack soundtrack.
The Rat Patrol has been actively engaged in the research and development of trash-based transportation for local river, canal, and sewer exploration. Greatly inspired by the activities of C.H.V.N.K. 666 and the bike-boat at Slaughterama, we forever experiment to find the truly amphibious design. This year's Guerilla Flotilla had two entrants from the Rat Patrol:
The Edmund Ratzgerald
This design is basically a vast overcompensation for the many flaws in my first attempt, which was such a colossal failure that Lake Magazine said I nose-dived into the river like a shot-down plane.
I spent the summer working and sleeping on the Jackson Park lagoon, building many floating vehicles and buildings, and returned to the challenge with a better understanding of the science of hacking together trash to float up shit creek. The 'floatbase' of the Edmund Ratzgerald has been stretched in three directions, the boucancy increased to around 720 lbs, and propulsion and steering systems added.
The Homewrecker derives its name from the way a boat-bike being built in the kitchen can sometimes spark a fight that rages for days and ends when someone's family comes and moves out their stuff. Such are the civilian casualties of our military objectives. A tall-chopper-trike, this monstrosity features two independent drivetrains, two different size rear wheels, and a draw of about three feet (making this a semisubmersible).
Front floatation is provided by a red airplane. Inset shows top-secret drivetrain technology. What's going on in there?
The paddle wheel is built on an alloy rim. This means you can only weld to the spokes. As you travel to the meeting point for the ride to the river, jagged paddle blades are flung at the back of your head. When you arrive there will be two remaining.
The angling of the barrels cuts down on drag.
Both aquachoppers proved to be surprisingly rideable on land. We rode to the river without much incident:
The gleaming Chicago River awaited us...
The crowds waited eagerly by the river side... the promise of schadenfreude was in the air... the Edmund Ratzgerald's transition was smooth and it both floated and balanced well.
The boat steered well, traveled slow, and was pretty stable... I went for a little cruise around the barge-turning basin.
Meanwhile the Homewrecker was readied for launch.
It sat a little low in the water, but floated fine. The boat's maintenance subroutine detected the failure of the primary propulsion and automatically engaged the backup system.
Disaster! One of the barrels of the Edmund slipped loose from its anchor post. The chopper fork sunk to the bottom. Aqua Cat to the rescue!
Somebody always goes in. Hey, now you got an excuse to tell the wife about the syphillis! Just keep that fresh tattoo sleeve out of the water, I don't like what the water is doing to that sign...
Aww, poowater on hands make sandwich taste bad!
Our first amphibious mission was complete. The river is ours!
see Sickrat's pictures here