Arthur J. "Tuna" Wullschleger died Sunday at the age of 94 after a short illness. He was renowned as an ocean racer, race official and mentor.
"Tuna" earned his nickname during the fateful Fastnet Race in 1979, when he ordered his crew to take down the spinnaker, according to the International Sailing Federation. The crew called him "Tuna, Chicken of the Sea." But they won the race and Wullschleger’s order might have saved their lives. He used the nickname with pride for the rest of his life.
Wullschleger managed several successful America's Cup syndicates and helped countless others as a sponsor and volunteer.
He was first appointed an international judge in 1982 and he 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.
Wullschleger was a longtime member of the New York Yacht Club, the Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America, according to scuttlebutt.com.
He was commodore of both the Larchmont Yacht Club, where he was a life member, having also served as trustee and treasurer, and the Storm Trysail Club, and was part of the group that founded the Storm Trysail Club’s biennial Block Island Race Week. He also was a past member of other yacht clubs around the world.
Raised in Larchmont, N.Y., Wullschleger was a champion speedboat driver at Cornell University and began frostbiting at Larchmont after serving in the Navy in the Pacific during World War II. In addition to frostbiting, in the 1960s and 1970s he raced his beloved mahogany-hulled yawl Elske with his wife, Diana, ("Stork"), as well as Golliwog and Fire One in ocean and buoy races on both sides of the Atlantic.