Please select your home edition
Edition
Zhik Yachting Range

Tuna dies at the age of 94

by US Sailing and ISAF on 28 Nov 2012
Arthur "Tuna" Wullschleger . ..
One of the great characters of sailing Arthur J. 'Tuna' Wullschleger died Sunday, November 25, at the age of 94 years.

'Tuna' earned his nickname during the fateful Fastnet Race in 1979, when he ordered his crew to take down the spinnaker. The crew called him 'Tuna, Chicken of the Sea'. But, they won the race, and Tuna's order may well have saved their lives. Tuna used the nickname with pride for the rest of his life.

Tuna managed several successful America's Cup syndicates, and helped countless others - as a sponsor and volunteer.

Tuna was first appointed as an International Judge in 1982, and remained active as a judge and umpire until his passing. His IJ status was renewed at the 2012 ISAF Annual Conference in Dublin in early November.

Born and raised in Larchmont, New York, Arthur Wullschleger, who became known to all who raced and sailed with him as 'Tuna', grew up sailing on Long Island Sound, learning to love sailing at Larchmont Yacht Club, where he eventually became Commodore. As a young man, he spent his summers in a French speaking Canton of Switzerland with family, where he became fluent in French.

He attended College at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY studying engineering. During his college years, his passion was racing outboard powered hydroplane class boats. This series was held in many geographic areas of the US, and Tuna pioneered a system whereby he maintained a centrally based engine shop in Kansas City, MO, where his outboard motors were rebuilt, tuned and maintained.

This innovation in logistics allowed him to exchange engines that were race worn for a fresh motor on the way to the next event simply by detouring there en route to the next racing venue. He became very successful on the circuit, eventually winning multiple class championships with this system, including the U. S. Amateur Championship in 1938.

After receiving his degree, at the outbreak of World War II, Tuna enlisted in the US Navy where as a young officer, his knack for this type of organization and insight for staging and logistics was recognized in the fleet and he was assigned to be part of an advance team that would travel throughout the Pacific. Starting in Alaska where the Japanese were very intent on gaining a foothold in this territory, the team would establish defensible bases which were then supplied with fuel and ammo or even made into strategic forward airstrips that helped thwart this invasion attempt. Eventually, Tuna concluded the war period doing this throughout the Pacific as US Marines recaptured island territory. In September 1945, he was present, as an aide to the senior naval officer, when the Imperial Japanese Navy surrendered their naval base at Ominato.

After the war, Tuna returned to Larchmont and spent a successful career running the family textile business. There he formed an association with Colin Ratsey that would lead to many well known ocean racing boats named Golliwog, beginning with a sister ship to Finnisterre and finishing with a well known series of C&C Yachts to his final Peterson Three tonner. His racing career took him to many places and included numerous Bermuda Races, Transatlantic races, Skaw Races to Scandinavia, Cowes Weeks and Fastnet Races.

This was in the heyday of Offshore racing which has spanned the Offshore Grand Prix Races we still hold today. Along with this pursuit, Tuna was a founding member of the Storm Trysail Club and was instrumental in organizing their biannual Block Island Race Week. After serving as Commodore of the STC, Tuna was a key figure as well in the America’s Cup where he participated in several New York Yacht Club Defender syndicates in the 70’s and on into the 80’s where he led their America II Syndicate to Perth Australia in an attempt to win back the America’s Cup from the Australians.

During these years, Tuna developed a passion for judging and upon his return from Australia, became active in both the maxi Circuit as well as the Fifties series where he was a fixture in overseeing the jury at all of their events as Chief Judge.

Not content with protests and hearings as the most efficient way of resolving boat on boat issues for America’s Cup type match racing, Tuna was a part of the original group which included ISAF president Goran Petersson, and Tom Ehman who pioneered the concept of on the water umpiring in Newport, RI at the 1987 Maxi Series and used initially at the 1988 Congressional Cup. This system has developed into what we now regularly see at umpired match and Team Races internationally.

Although Tuna retired from umpiring in the mid-2000's, Tuna continued to judge actively well into 2012; participating annually in Key West Race Week, the Etchells Jaguar Series, the International Rolex Regatta, Antigua Race Week and the Newport Bermuda Race, to name just a few of his favorite events.

Behind the gruff exterior was a heart of gold. Many of ISAF's top race officials can trace their development to advice and mentoring given by Tuna.

There are few people in the World who have contributed more to the sport. The sailing community has lost a legend.

The video below features Arthur 'Tuna' Wullschleger in his capacity of Operations Manager for the New York Yacht Club and speaks as they exit the 1987 America's Cup Regatta

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignSouthern Spars - 100Zhik ZKG 660x82

Related Articles

Day 74 – Vendée Globe victory 24 hours from Le Cléac'h's grasp
British sailor Alex Thomson conceded that his chances of overhauling leader Armel LeCléac'h on the home strait were slim Alex Thomson today conceded that his chances of overhauling leader Armel Le Cléac'h on the home strait were slim, despite narrowing the gap to just 35 miles. In the last 24 hours Thomson, 42, has halved Le Cléach's lead of 70 miles but as the pair prepared to enter the final 300 miles of the solo round the world race this afternoon he said the advantage was now firmly with his French rival.
Posted today at 4:53 pm
Former Clipper Race skipper chasing Vendèe Globe glory
Alex, 42 from Gosport, made up 30nm on his French rival Armel le Clèac’h overnight to cut the deficit to around 40nm After more than 70 days, the Vendee Globe is set for an epic finish, with the youngest skipper to win the Clipper Race, Alex Thomson, closing in on the lead as the race enters into the final 24 hours. Alex, 42 from Gosport, made up 30 nautical miles on his French rival Armel le Clèac’h overnight to cut the deficit to around 40nm by Wednesday morning.
Posted today at 3:34 pm
Team Tilt officially selected for the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup
Twelve teams of youth sailors aged 19 to 25 have been selected to race the RBYAC 2017 in Bermuda in June. Twelve teams of youth sailors aged 19 to 25 have been selected to race the RBYAC 2017 in Bermuda in June. They will compete on the foiling AC45s that were used for the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series events and will race in the lead up to the America’s Cup itself.
Posted today at 2:26 pm
Vendée2020Vision sailors inspired by Alex Thomson’s performance
The aim of Vendée2020Vision is to help progress these sailors up to the next rung of the ladder. To help them with their fund raising, Vendée2020Vision sailors last year had the opportunity to take part in 12 bespoke training modules.
Posted today at 1:58 pm
Inaugural GC32 Championship coming up next month
A joint gathering of the international fleets of GC32 one design foiling catamarans is to take place in Muscat This will be the first occasion ever that the GC32 Racing Tour and the Extreme Sailing Series™ fleets have combined to lock horns on the race course.
Posted today at 12:44 pm
Quantum Key West Race Week – Day 2 with Nic Douglass
Day two for my first time at Quantum Key West Race Week, and I was out on a J122, Second Star, sailing in the ORC fleet Day two for my first time at Quantum Key West Race Week, and today I was out on a J122, Second Star, sailing in the ORC fleet. What. A. Day.
Posted today at 11:59 am
Quantum Key West Race Week rollicks through Day 2
To the delight of the more than 600 sailors, day two's racing nearly mirrored day one's memorable conditions. Today, Lewmar Day, offered more stellar racing in 15- to 20-knot winds amid sunny skies and warm air temperatures. To borrow from a familiar phrase, 'Race. Rinse. Repeat.'
Posted today at 11:31 am
Vendee Globe – Thomson races towards the finish against French rival
British sailor Alex Thomson is in second place with just 40 nautical miles behind French rival Armel Le Cléac’h. With just 390 nautical miles left to the finish port of Les Sable d’Olonne and less than two days until the leading duo are expected to complete the solo, non-stop, around the world race, British sailor Alex Thomson is in second place with just 40 nautical miles behind French rival Armel Le Cléac’h.
Posted today at 11:15 am
Vendee Globe - Thomson reduces margin but has to make vital decision
Single-handed monohull world record holder, Alex Thomson, continues to gnaw away at Banque Populaire VIII's lead Single-handed monohull world record holder, Alex Thomson, continues to gnaw away at Banque Populaire VIII's lead in the Vendee Globe Race. The margin between the first and second boat is now just 36nm.
Posted today at 10:55 am
Vendee Globe - One tack holds key to Vendée Globe glory
Victory in the solo round the world race now comes down to one crucial last manoeuvre. With less than 40 miles separating Vendée Globe leader Armel Le Cléac'h from second-placed Alex Thomson this morning and under 400 nautical miles left to the finish line, victory in the solo round the world race now comes down to one crucial last manoeuvre.
Posted today at 6:57 am