Ferry Turns Heads Along Embarcadero

Hornblower Hybrid chartering for about $1,000 per hour

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A very "green" boat docked in San Diego is drawing the attention of folks along the Embarcadero.

    The 64-foot craft called the Hornblower Hybrid can handle 149 passengers at a time. Two obvious things that set the vessel apart from others on the bay are its 10-foot tall wind turbines -- which are made by the San Diego-based company Helix Wind -- on its roof and a photovoltaic solar array above the top-decks's awning.

    "Another interesting thing is that this vessel is a recycled vessel ... the amount of energy we saved by re-purposing a vessel is about enough to run 60 houses for a year," Hornblower San Diego's GM Kier Moorehead said.

    Unger said that between the wind and solar power, they don't need to run an engine to provide electricity for the boat's lighting and entertainment systems. The Hybrid's green footprint extends belowdecks, too, where a pair of fuel-efficient Tier 2 marine diesel engine generators are running. Even the countertops, which were made from recycled Skyy vodka bottles, are doing their part

    The ferry, which has been in operation for more than a year, is the first of its kind in the United States, according to Hornblower. Its home port is in the Bay Area, where it is used during the summer as a ferry to Alcatraz Island, but since then it has been moving around to other areas, said Hornblower San Diego G.M. Jim Unger.

    The Hybrid arrived this week and is docked at the foot of Grape Street. During its two-month stay in San Diego, it will primarily be used for private events for the holiday season, where it can be hired in a no-frills charter for as little as $1,000 an hour.

    Eric S. Page reports about all things San Diego, but he draws the line at cat stories. You can follow his updates at twitter.com/espage or send him a story idea.