Please select your home edition
Edition
Wildwind 2016 728x90

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

Mackay BoatsProtector - 660 x 82Naiad

Related Articles

A Few Rays - When you think of sunscreen as a filter....
If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? If a sunscreen is a filter of UV rays, how much is enough? Where the skin is exposed and a sunscreen is working for you, it is filtering UV rays. Some of those rays always get through. The percentage of the high energy UVB rays (said to cause sunburn) that get through to cells in the skin can be determined by the claimed SPF of the product you are using.
Posted today at 10:26 am
Charleston Race Week - Overall report
Charleston Race Week 2017 took place in April 20-23 2017. ORC rule was implemented as the principal handicap rule Charleston Race Week 2017 took place in April 20-23 2017. ORC rule was implemented as the principal handicap rule for the Charleston Race Week 2017, it was the first time this system was used in a major North American regatta. Thirty boats raced in four separate ORC Classes at this event.
Posted today at 8:22 am
World Cup Series in Hyères – Racing needs to be fast, not the food
Spanish sisters, Carla and Marta Munté Carrasco, sail together in the 49erFX and know they have a problem. Many sailors will be brimming with confidence after browsing the weather forecast and will be striving for gold in Hyères. But it is a team small in stature that know exactly where they stand in terms of performance that intrigues.
Posted on 24 Apr
New addition to North Sail for Volvo Ocean 65 racing machines
Their sails have powered eight out of nine Volvo Ocean Race winners since 1989-90, with Steinlager 2. Instead of assembling cloth panels into a particular sail shape, the Volvo Ocean Race sails are composites. This means that 3Di material 'tapes' are laid in a specific arrangement, offering stable structure to the sail where it is needed most.
Posted on 24 Apr
Experience is key as Team Oman Air prepare for Extreme Sailing Series
Team Oman Air skipper Phil Robertson says his crew's unrivalled experience could prove vital to victory in second round Known worldwide for hosting sailing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Qingdao is notorious for its ability to catch crews off guard with a fickle breeze that can go from next to nothing to gale force in a matter of minutes.
Posted on 24 Apr
FAST40+ Spring Regatta - Preview
The second event in a busy FAST40+ season will be the FAST40+ Spring Regatta, hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club. The second event in a busy FAST40+ season will be the FAST40+ Spring Regatta, hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club. FAST40+ Race Director, Stuart Childerley, sets the scene for the event.
Posted on 24 Apr
Meet the Clipper 2017-18 Race crew Zuzana Vybiralova
A first for Clipper Race, Zuzana Vybiralova will make history this year as first Czech Republican to take part in race A first for the Clipper Race, crew member Zuzana Vybiralova will make history this year as the first Czech Republican to take part in the race in eleven editions.
Posted on 24 Apr
Melges 24 European Sailing Series - And the winners are…
Maximum number of races sailed in almost perfect conditions was a result of three-day Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta Maximum number of races sailed in almost perfect conditions was a result of three-day Portoroz Melges 24 Regatta - the season opener both for the 2017 Melges 24 European Sailing Series and Melges 24 Italian Sailing Series. Andrea Racchelli and his team on Altea ITA722, the winner of the 2016 Melges 24 European Sailing Series, were showing their superiority since the beginning of the regatta
Posted on 24 Apr
Champions crowned after tricky finale at Sperry Charleston Race Week
Charleston is known for its reliable spring seabreeze, but the Holy City’s coast outdid itself this year Charleston is known for its reliable spring seabreeze, but the Holy City’s coast outdid itself this year during the 22nd edition of Sperry Charleston Race Week. It wasn’t just the three race days either; from the first team’s arrival for practice more than a week earlier until the lengthy awards ceremony on Sunday night, reliable southerly winds buffeted the region, ensuring maximum racing
Posted on 24 Apr
She’s still here with us, and now we can be there for her
Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Of the many endearing qualities in Lisa Blair, the one that is paramount is her effervescence. Yet it is what lies behind that which could be her most incredible characteristic. Sometimes you can almost overlook her steely determination, but not for long when you start talking with her. Catching up with her live from Cape Town surely was a vivid reminder of not only what this sailor can accomplish
Posted on 24 Apr