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State Will Impose High-Impact Waterfront Development

After years of fierce debate over waterfront development, contentious city council meetings throughout the West Coast, and an existential battle over the soul of our shores, the State of California has issued a sweeping decree mandating major, high-use construction in seaside towns. Soon, high-rise hotels, condos and the accoutrements of gentrification — such as taprooms and coffee houses — might not be just a possibility in waterfront cities, but a requirement.

A new bill recently passed by the California State Legislature has cleared the way for large-scale, high-impact development, effectively removing municipalities from their own planning processes, and centralizing control at the state level.

In the crosshairs of the new law are some of Marin County’s most sacred jewels, including the city of Sausalito and Travis Marina, the latter of which has already been earmarked for transformation into a dense, futuristic cityscape.

This artist’s rendering, obtained by Latitude 38‘s investigative division, illustrates the aggressive, ultra-modern development planned for Travis Marina. Needless to say, there are no sailboats in this particular vision of the future.

Boating infrastructure, marine businesses, and the very character of communities forged by centuries of saltiness are all but doomed to become extinct in favor of an evolution toward ‘modern’ urbanity.

“It’s time to end the exhaustive debates over development, and come together behind a single vision for the future,” said one state lawmaker, who spoke to Latitude on condition of anonymity. We pressed the lawmaker further by bringing up the elephant in the room: Isn’t this bill nothing more than a draconian measure that ignores the will of the people?

“The people’s will has become too convoluted to effectively govern, or to efficiently plan for a city’s future. It’s time to do what’s in the best interest of the people: remove people from the equation.”

We spoke to another member of the legislature — who identified themselves as a sailor, and also spoke to us anonymously — about where sailing and maritime culture might fit into this new model for the future. “We plan to have sailing museums in the lobby of every waterfront condominium complex and convention center,” the member told us. “Maritime culture will be well represented in the general decor of seaside homes, bars and businesses. Frankly, we think this is a fantastic opportunity for sailors to liquidate their boats and gear by selling it all on Craigslist, so that someday, they can enjoy it decorating the walls of their new, high-scale neighborhood microbrewery.”

And you thought the Salesforce Tower was disruptive to the skyline. With sailboats in this rendering, it does appear that those who both plan for and hold the keys to our future have decided to include the sport and lifestyle of sailing. (Note what appear to be solar panels on the Golden Gate Bridge.)
© 2020 Stack Exchange

The greatest loss might be Travis Marina (at Horseshoe Cove), the fate of which was already up in the air due to a tenuous lease for both the marina and shoreside facilities. Both lawmakers told us that even if the “life” of the marina had been extended through some kind of commitment to affordable boating infrastructure, its development was, nevertheless, inevitable.

“Look, in the end, the development of Bay Area shoresides is inescapable,” one of the lawmakers said. “It’s time that people accept not the future they want, but the future that they’re destined to have.”

— latitude / mark frankle, senior investigative reporter

Couple on 34-ft Sailboat Say They Will Continue Self-Isolating from Each Other for Duration of Marriage

Amanda and Tony Henderson were only 14 days into the start of their new cruising life — and just four months into their marriage — when the mandate to shelter in place with immediate family was announced.

Despite their initial commitment to each other, and to public-health guidelines, the couple found that spending all of their time together in a 34-ft space pushed them to wits’ end.

“The final straw for me was when I had retreated outside to enjoy a sundowner after a long day of boat projects,“ said Amanda. “I just wanted a peaceful moment alone, but he emerged from the companionway, strolled to the side deck immediately behind my head, and began to relieve himself.”

Tony remembers things differently. “She has no racing background, and no regard for keeping the leeward side of the boat free for use as the ‘outside head’.” When asked to elaborate, the couple eagerly disclosed a long, contentious list of grievances. Tony added, “Since we had to remain in our ‘bubble’, she dragged me to the grocery store for what she deemed ‘essential’ provisioning, saying she couldn’t carry it all back herself. We spent six and a half hours there, but only bought two boxes of gluten-free cookies, a bag of mixed nuts, and a small jar of organic wildflower honey.” (Both parties insisted on elaborating their affronts, but Latitude has chosen to abbreviate our reporting so as to remain neutral.)

When the coronavirus pandemic brought the world to a halt — and social distancing became the standing order for all humanity — the Hendersons decided to permanently incorporate the mandate into all aspects of their relationship.

Tony and Amanda Henderson were disappointed to find that they could not adequately follow social-distancing guidelines while in the dinghy.
© 2020 GoGraph

“This makes sense to us; two-meters (6.56 feet) distance, and minimal talking,” Amanda said. Latitude 38 had to remind Amanda that speaking is not expressly prohibited under most public-health authorities’ social-distancing guidelines. “Better safe than sorry,” Amanda said.

Tony agreed. “We find that we get along better when we don’t have any contact.”

The Hendersons said that, given the buffer prescribed by self-isolating standards, their marriage will only benefit in the long run. “We love each other very much,” both Amanda and Tony told us. “But when you’re on a 34-ft sailboat — and you’re married — you really need to keep your distance.”

— latitude / sherry shearwater, cruising-relationship correspondent

Cantankerous Skipper Finds Trolling on Social Media Adequate Substitute for Racing

Following the cancellation of races at his local yacht club, Chad Johnston felt empty. “There are emotions you can only express on the water,” Johnston said. “Sometimes, you just need to scream STARBOARD, threaten to protest something, or berate one of your crew for being slow to trim out of a tack.”

Johnston was relieved when, during his quarantine, he found Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. “If you’re looking for a place to express unchecked and unnecessarily aggressive emotions, it turns out that social media are even better than the race course,” Johnston said, adding that since the quarantine had begun, he’d instigated now-ongoing arguments with a number of strangers over superfluous, even irrelevant details.

“It’s great!” Johnston said excitedly. “People will fight with you over anything. People will give you the finger or insult your family over absolutely anything. It’s just like a tight mark rounding!” Johnston said he was delighted to discover the diverse emoji vocabulary now available, as well as all caps. “It’s like yelling in type,” he said. “AND VIRTUALLY AS SATISFYING AS SCREAMING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS!”

Like Chad Johnston, Captain William Bligh would probably have enjoyed social media’s rampant aggression.
© 2020 Orion Pictures Corporation

“There is, however, a limit to the satisfaction I can get from social media,” Johnston noted. “Unlike the race course, people can just . . . ignore you on the internet.” Johnston was shocked and dismayed to discover that ‘blocking’ and ‘unfollowing’ provided an escape for one’s opponent during a contentious argument.

“It’s been good to stay sharp on Facebook,” Johnston said. “But I can’t wait to get back on the water. At least my crew can’t ignore me.”

— latitude / him tenry, newsroom intern

Latitude Nation — April Fools! These three stories are entirely fictitious, even if, in some cases, they’re not that far-fetched. We know these are serious and scary times, but we hope that we made you laugh. Be well. Be safe. Be kind. 

And please, wash your hands.


  1. markwesti 4 years ago

    Happy April fools day ! You got me , half way through the first article I’m thinking , what , was this some of the pork that Nan slipped into the 2T bill ?

  2. Vikas 4 years ago

    Yikes – the first paragraph about water front development sounded much too plausible. Then I realized the date 🙂 . Even so..

  3. John Cloonan 4 years ago

    Hi. Thanks. At first, I was actually worried.

  4. Robin Cabak 4 years ago

    April Fools! Love it! Star Fleet rendering in the second image?

  5. RonK 4 years ago

    Not funny! I believed the first paragraph as some of our elected officials are in bed with developers even with the knowledge of April Fools’ Day. I remember the 2000 home development planned in the small valley off Marin Drive, even had stone signs at the entrance, before the GGNRA was instituted.

  6. Nick 4 years ago

    It was real until I saw the Lat 38 “investigative division” had unearthed the plans! From there on out it was funny – all three articles. Congrats! Oh, and I see there’s an article about the maglev harbor tow in Newport Beach…. Gotta go read it

  7. Dan 4 years ago

    You got me good.

  8. Nancy 4 years ago

    Ya got me! Was about to race into the other room to tell my husband that the waterfront development world had gone crazy…. then read about the newlywed couple on a 34’ boat….then began to think, not just read… Ya got me, for just a little while. April Fools!

  9. Gus van Driel 4 years ago

    Terrific effort at some levity at this very challenging time for all of us.

    Thanks for making this a delightful and Happy April Fools Day!!!

  10. Victor 4 years ago

    I’m embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until the next day I realized the April Fools angle.

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Maritime Learning
As we shelter in place and catch up on our reading, studying, streaming and viewing, it occurs to us that it is like we are having a second winter season.