Sharing a love of the sea: Charter tours owner sets sail for chamber

Penn Cove Sailing owner Mark Saia checks the rigging on his boat the Andiamo on a recent tour of Penn Cove. - Janis Reid photo
Penn Cove Sailing owner Mark Saia checks the rigging on his boat the Andiamo on a recent tour of Penn Cove.
— image credit: Janis Reid photo

Mark Saia says he wants to wear a pirate outfit to his wedding.

“That’s why we’re not married yet,” he joked.

The story, one of many he shares with his guests aboard the Andiamo, underlines Saia’s love of all things sailing.

Saia is owner of Leisure Yacht Charters and Penn Cove Sailing, turning his passion for sailing into a vocation.

On a recent sail, several locals boarded the Catalina Morgan 440 and took in the sights of Penn Cove, which included a tour of the nearby mussel farm.

Saia is offering sailings at 5 p.m. on Wednesdays for Coupeville Chamber members.

It’s the best location for his type of business, he said.

“It’s such a great venue,” Saia said. “It’s ridiculously great.”

When sailing Penn Cove, visitors can see Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and the Cascade Mountains on a clear day.

“We’re in this little bowl, it’s beautiful,” Saia said.

Janet Burchfield, of Front Street Realty, stood at the stern and took in the sea air.

Vern Olsen, founder of the Shifty Sailors, was asked to sing a sailing shanty, but he said he’d need another glass of wine for “the ditty to come out,” he said.

Olsen said he chartered a tour with Saia for his family on his birthday last year.

“It was wonderful,” Olsen said.

Vickie Chambers, executive director of the Coupeville Historic Waterfront Association, commented on the efficient use of space on the boat, with every nook and cranny put to good use.

“There’s not an inch to waste,” Chambers said.

Saia described for his guests the two “house sized” rocks that sit submerged a distance from the pier’s end. Saia said the two rocks support each other at an angle and a diver can swim beneath them. This is how he got his cave diving certification, he said.

He then told the story about how the Andiamo was once stopped above the rocks, and as the tide went out, the change in water depth sent the boat straight toward another boat broadside. His girlfriend, who was on board at the time, didn’t know what to do, he said.

“That’s when we decided everyone needs to know how to start the boat and where the key is,” Saia said.

Saia said that the transition from tai chi instructing, his previous passion, to sailing has been effortless. The balance and focus required in tai-chi is the same when sailing.

“You have to be one with the wind, and sense the balance,” Saia said.

Because of his education and experience in eastern arts and philosophies, he considers himself a healer of sorts and that connecting to the water is simply another form of therapy.

“The negative ions you get from the ocean, it’s very healing. It’s a place where you can relax.”

With Saia, guests can experience day sailing, American Sailing Association instruction, sunset sails and extended charters that can include crabbing, fishing, diving and island hopping.

More about Saia’s business can be found at


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