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Marine Log

Trimaran--solar sail raised

May 27, 2007

Circle Lines plans solar powered ferry for NYC Trimaran--solar sail lowered

The New York Post reports that New York City's Circle Line plans to introduce a part solar powered, hybrid ferry on its Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island route.

The New York Post story says the new technology was the focal point of Circle Line's April bid for a 10-year renewal on its contract with the National Parks Service. If the bid with the National Park Service is successful, the newspaper quotes Circle Line president J.B. Meyer as saying work will start immediately on Miss Statue of Liberty, a 115-foot hybrid trimaran ferry. If the bid fails, Meyer said, green ferries will still be phased into other routes.

The vessel would be a 600 passenger design developed by Australia's Solar Sailor.

Solar Sailor's first vessel, an 80 passenger sightseeing. vessel has been in service for Sydney's Captain Cook Cruises since 2000. Captain Cook's CEO, Anthony Howarth, describes it as "performing above expectations" and being a "robust and reliable vessel."

The larger Solar Sailor trimaran design selected by Circle Line uses "parallel" hybrid technology. The center hull is a conventional drive with bow thrusters, the outriggers contain the electric drive, giving exceptional maneuverability and zero emissions at low speed.

The vessel features one large solar wing above the wheelhouse, folding down to serve as a canopy over passengers or to reduce windage.

The trimaran's speed is 0 - 6 knots using solar/wind/batteries and 7 - 14 knots burning low-sulfur diesel fuel.

Circle Lines may not be the first U.S. operator to put a Solar Sailor trimaran of this design into service. Alcatraz Cruises, which is affiliated with Hornblower Yachts, last year replaced Blue and Gold as the operator of San Francisco's ferries to Alcatraz Island (another National Parks Service Contract) and is planning to introduce the 600 passenger Solar sailor vessels on that route.