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Hornblower Hybrid will be available in San Diego for tours, charters through January

November 11, 2009

San Diego, CA (November 12, 2009) – The Hornblower Hybrid, the first hybrid ferry in the United States, has arrived in San Diego for a two-month stay. The Hornblower Hybrid uses a combination of solar panels, wind turbines and fuel-efficient diesel engines to power the vessel. The vessel, which is the first of it’s kind and unparalleled in the world, was designed and built by Hornblower Cruises & Events. See a video of the Hybrid here.

The Hornblower Hybrid will be docked at the Grape Street Pier at 1800 N. Harbor Drive. A passerby will not miss the sleek look and the ten-foot-tall wind turbines on the roof. Helixwind, a global renewable energy company located in San Diego, manufactures the wind turbines.

The vessel will be available for media and private tours or for private charters by calling 619-686-8700. It is 64-feet long and can carry 149 passengers. The spacious main deck and awning-covered open top deck is a perfect entertaining space.

In the last year measurements taken have proven that the vessel has reduced fuel consumption on it’s normal route in San Francisco by 29,000 gallons, which represents a 70% reduction from the previous vessel on this route. This savings is equivalent to permanently removing 50 cars every year from roads.

“The Hornblower Hybrid is a great ambassador of innovation and green technology. Not only are we demonstrating technologies that are available today, but we also have the privilege and responsibility to use this vessel to educate those who come aboard about steps, both big and small, that they can take to make our planet a cleaner place to live,” said Hornblower San Diego General Manager Jim Unger. “We are so pleased to be able to share the Hornblower Hybrid with San Diego.”

The Hybrid is environmentally friendly inside and out. The vessel itself is even recycled: it was originally a dive boat and Hornblower engineers removed the entire propulsion (generators, engines and motors) system and replaced it with a custom-designed hybrid system. The carpeting contains post consumer recycled materials, is recyclable and meets the US Green Building Council LEED criteria for recycled content. A significant portion of the interior signage is printed on Plyboo, a composite material made from sustainable sources and containing no harmful chemicals. The countertops throughout the vessel are made by Vetrazzo from recycled SKYY vodka bottles. The lighting throughout the vessel is LED, which requires a fraction of the energy of standard bulbs and provide an equal or greater amount of illumination.  

The Hornblower Hybrid uses power generated by the wind turbines and a photovoltaic solar array covering the awning on the top deck. That power is converted and stored in battery banks that then power the navigation tools, lighting and other electronics on board the vessel.  Excess power is stored in the main propulsion battery banks.

In addition to solar panels and wind turbines, the Hornblower Hybrid also has Tier 2 marine diesel engines. These cleaner, fuel-efficient engines reduce the amount of diesel fuel used, emissions and overall carbon footprint. The customized drive system allows the captain to monitor the energy needs of the vessel and select the most efficient power sources. For example, when the boat is idle at the dock the engines will shut off and the motors will run off of energy stored in the battery banks.

The Hornblower Hybrid is a model of the potential power of alternative energies and creative engineering solutions. The Hornblower Hybrid is a platform from which the general public will realize first-hand knowledge of the capabilities of solar power, wind power and other hybrid technological advancements.

The Hornblower Hybrid is also a platform for Hornblower to discuss Respect Our Planet, the company’s environmental outreach program. From coast to coast, in all Hornblower operations, Respect Our Planet helps guests learn about how individuals can impact the health of our planet. Hornblower is on the leading edge for environmental responsibility within the maritime industry and Respect Our Planet allows the company to chronicle all achievements under one banner.

For more information:

Hornblower Cruises & Events has been the leading charter yacht and public dining cruise company in the United States for more than 29 years. The company operates over 50 vessels, including the 3 largest dining yachts on the West Coast and the first Hybrid ferry in the United States. The company operates two ferry service concessions for the National Park Service – Alcatraz Cruises provides transportation to Alcatraz Island and Statue Cruises provides transportation to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  In 2005 Hornblower founded Respect Our Planet, a nationwide environmental organization dedicated to educating Hornblower guests and employees on how to protect and preserve the environment. For more information visit: