A San Francisco-based company, Hornblower Yachts, is working with Solar Sailor of Sydney, Australia, to construct two 600-passenger trimarans for Alcatraz (at a cost of between $6 million and $8 million apiece) that will run on as much on sun and wind power as they do diesel fuel—and will emit half the pollutants of a similar sized conventional ferry. Service is scheduled to start in 2008, and a second vessel is on order for 2011.
The slickest feature? The triple-hulled vessel will have a 45-foot high retractable wing covered in solar panels that can generate 20 kilowatts of electricity to help take the load off the two diesel engines. 600pax_tri_side_lr The wing also generates some 170 hp on its own as a sail. When conditions get hairy and the wind hits 30+ knots (that’s when many sailboats start to de-mast), the wings fold up, all beetle-like, and the ferry operates like one of its older counterparts All this is based on a similar ferry that’s already been in operation in Sydney for a couple years