Nov 27, 2012, 10:27 AM
EIGHT BELLS - Arthur J. "Tuna" Wullschleger
Arthur J. "Tuna" Wullschleger (94 years) died Sunday, November 25, after a long and full life. Tuna was a longtime member of the New York Yacht Club, the Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Cruising Club of America. He was past 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 STC's biennial Block Island Race Week. Tuna was also a past member of a number of other yacht clubs around the world.
Raised in Larchmont, NY, he was a champion speed boat driver in college at Cornell University, and began frostbiting at Larchmont after his serving in the Navy in the Pacific during WWII. In addition to frostbiting, in the 1960s and 1970s, he raced his beloved mahogany-hulled yawl Elske with his late wife Diana ("Stork"), as well as Golliwog and Fire One in ocean and buoy races on both sides of the Atlantic.
In the late 1970s, he began his career as a sailing judge, an avocation to which he devoted himself until his death. He helped develop umpiring at the 1987 Maxi Series and at the 1988 Congressional Cup, and quickly helped the discipline adapt to include team racing, smaller keelboats and dinghies. For his service to the sport, Tuna was awarded the ISAF Silver Medal, US SAILING's Nathanael G. Herreshoff Trophy in 1998 and the Harman Hawkins Trophy in 2010.
US SAILING's Tuna Fund, which among things was designed to help attract younger umpires to the disciplines of match and team racing who might not have the financial resources, was launched in 2009. His long involvement with the America's Cup started in 1980 as part the support team for Ted Turner's Courageous campaign, and extended through to Operations Manager for the America II syndicate, for which he was awarded the New York Yacht Club Medal (1988) and an umpire for defender trials in San Diego in 1992.
He served as co-Chief or the Chief Judge for too many regattas to mention, and was looking forward to returning to Key West Race Week in January 2013 as Chief Judge Emeritus. He was a mentor for countless competitive sailors, judges, and umpires around the world - a role he relished and for which he will be fondly remembered. -- Patricia A. O'Donnell