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Famed Sausalito Waterfront Landmark ‘Taj Mahal’ Sinks

One of the more unusual casualties of Tuesday’s bomb cyclone was the sinking of the renowned Sausalito houseboat known as the Taj Mahal. There aren’t many sailors on San Francisco Bay who haven’t sailed by this well-recognized waterfront landmark that has resided just inside the Sausalito Yacht Harbor breakwater for over four decades. As Heather Richard’s video showed in our Wednesday story, Sausalito was one of many areas to get pummeled by wind and waves. Apparently, the Taj Mahal flooded and began going down. It’s now being raised, though with unknown long-term consequences.

Taj Mahal Sausalito
The Taj Mahal reported raised after sinking during Tuesday’s bomb cyclone.
© 2023 Paul Dines

The building has been a private residence since real-estate developer and vineyard owner Bill Harlan built it after a trip to India in the ’70s. It is reported to be beautifully appointed with marble floors, a wine cellar, a top-level solarium, sauna and more. It has always been a treat to sail by this palace on the water. Harlan sold the Taj Mahal many years ago.

Taj Mahal Sausalito
It’s a sad sight to see such a magnificent piece of Sausalito architecture suffering from the recent storms.
© 2023 Paul Dines
Taj Mahal Sausalito
Not a pretty picture to come home to.
© 2023 Paul Dines

The Taj Mahal is one of the most famous houseboats in Sausalito, amongst the unique Sausalito houseboat community. We hope she can be returned to her former glory and continue to be a “landmark” for all to see while sailing along the Sausalito waterfront.

Shortly after we wrote the words above we received the photo below from Sandra Bushmaker in Sausalito. Sandra wrote, “My boat is on A dock at Sausalito Yacht Harbor. I took this photo yesterday of the sunk Taj Mahal. I heard today that she will be scrapped as they cannot refloat her. Very sad loss of a Sausalito Waterfront icon and neighbor.”

Taj Mahal Sausalito
We are really going to miss seeing the Taj Mahal while sailing through Sausalito.
© 2023 Sandra Bushmaker

Sandra went on to say, “The sinking is very sad.  It’s like having a favorite part of my neighborhood removed abruptly. I have had a boat on A dock for decades. The picture I sent (above) was from my boat.  Here is another taken seven years ago when I brought my boat up from Los Angeles passing the Taj heading for my slip. That is I standing in yellow top.

Sandra Bushmaker - Nonsuch 30 Ultra
Sandra Bushmaker cruises by the Taj Mahal after arriving from Los Angeles aboard her Nonsuch 30 Ultra Wishbone berthed in Sausalito Yacht Harbor.
© 2023 Sandra

“I have a Nonsuch 30 Ultra, Wishbone, my fourth Nonsuch. I had a photo in Latitude 38 25 years ago on my Nonsuch 22 when I was mayor of Sausalito.’

We can’t agree more. Sailing through Sausalito won’t be the same without the Taj Mahal.


  1. Edward 2 months ago

    It takes Commitment to keep a boat afloat ..
    Super Commitment to Keep a House afloat !!

  2. Ken Brinkley 2 months ago

    Living on a houseboat .North harbor,Portland Oregon .Where there’s a will there’s a way ! Maybe a white knight will appear ?

    • Rochelle 2 months ago

      They delete commenys like the old censored twitter. Done.

  3. Jose Kanusee 2 months ago

    What with Sausalito’s draconian building rules, even if it was possible to salvage the Taj, the city would so complicate the process and add untenable requirements, it is very hard for me to imagine anyone taking on the project at any price. My boat is nearby…

  4. Rochelle 2 months ago

    I find that hard to believe and it’s her hearsay right now. I’d bey they could transfer to concrete barge. My irwin34 sank yrs ago, i stepped DOWN to the lifelines, and we floated her and fixed everything.

  5. Rochelle 2 months ago

    Lets not forget the owl, dossett’s boat sank and is back up, that’s going back 35+ years

  6. Rochelle 2 months ago

    And what happened to my first comment? I said she doesn’t know for a fact it’s hearsay. My 34 irwin was sunk and restored. Why are you deleting my comment??

  7. Cat 2 months ago

    Again it disappears. Is this old twitter?

  8. David 2 months ago

    I know the family that was living there….it’s been a private residence for some time… pls give them some space…

  9. Don Durant 2 months ago

    Wow! Flashback to the ‘70s when The Wanderer, aka L38 founder Richard, was a salesman working for the “Jewish Viking” aka “Tricky Dick Levine” at Sailboats Sausalito. Dick was separated from his wife & living the bachelor life aboard the Taj Mahal.

  10. Cody land 2 months ago

    I worked a year on that project. Stopped by to see it every time I went thru town. A craftsman’s paradise job. This is a shame.

  11. Linda Millard 20 hours ago

    The house boat was the dream of Prentis Hale and his wife Patricia. (They laughingly said it might be christened the Taj Mahale”. When Pat died in March of 1969, the houseboat was sold to Bill Harlan.

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