Paolo Sunyak is Captain Paul’s 22-year-old nephew and godson. A recent graduate of LaSalle University in Philadelphia, with a major in Finance. Water is the only thing that Paolo has in common with the sport of sailing, as he was a lifelong, competitive swimmer from the age of 7. Hanging up his swim cap this past May, Paolo has traded that cap in for a hair tie and Sea School. While learning everything he could about sailing and charting, Paolo has been preparing for this adventure since he left LaSalle.
Uncle Paul was determined to share his fierce love of sailing with Paolo. Thus Paolo has genuinely taken to it like a fish to water, pun intended. It definitely “took”! Hollywood, as Paolo has been dubbed by Uncle Paul, is not a seasoned sailor but well on his way. Paolo has become more than his movie star smile over the last several months, plumbing, and electrical work have been added to his list of talents as S/V Bad Captain was being prepared for this 5000+ NM journey.
Paolo is number 3 of 4 kids born to Mark and Maria Sunyak, add a brother-in-law to the mix, and you have a guy with a lot of people in his ‘corner’. Surely he will return a different at albeit better man sometime next year.
If you were a child of the 1960s and ever watched the series Quincy M.E. with Jack Klugman, then you might relate to this story. As a child, Paul, a U.S.C.G. Licensed Captain and Captain of the Bad Captain, had three heroes; Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Connors, and the character Dr. Qunicy of Qunicy M.E. The latter because he was a crotchety old man who lived on a sailboat and always walked away with the girl. That's all Paul wanted to be when he grew up.
Fast forward forty-five years, and one would think Paul was an accomplished sailor or yachtsman; however, the reality couldn't be far from it.
The youngest of five, Paul was born in Maple Heights, Ohio, to his parents, Patricia Ann and Walter William Tuennerman. Shortly after his birth, Paul's family moved into a modest house on 55th Street North in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The death of Paul's older brothers and other factors contributed to the separation of Patricia and Walter, just as Paul entered Elementary School. Shortly after that, Paul's father lost his battle with cancer, and his mother committed suicide.
While Paul's childhood was marked by adversity, including a period during which he lived on the streets of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he attributes his ability to endure and overcome these opportunities to his success in life and proficiency as a leader.
Few would consider moving from the pot room to the dish room a promotion, but that is precisely how Paul viewed his move while working at the Sheraton Red Lion Inn, in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Paul began his restaurant career at the age of fifteen when he took a job at Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips just off the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From there, Paul moved to the Sheraton Red Lion Inn and then an independent, white tablecloth restaurant, the Cuckoo's Nest.
Any restaurant's success depends on the associates pulling together, working towards a shared, well-defined goal, a happy paying customer. This camaraderie and nearly instant feedback had Paul hooked. Paul soon discovered that the long, sometimes thankless hours spent slipping and sliding on quarry tile floors created a bond between him and his coworkers that he had never really experienced as a young adult.
These early jobs in the restaurant industry were formative and contributed to Paul's philosophy towards life, and sailing. One can do anything they want; all they have to do is want it bad enough.
Throughout Paul's career, he never gave up on his goal of becoming that grumpy old guy on a sailboat. So in early 2021, he purchased a 2007 Hylas 46 and brought it home to Pass Christian, Mississippi.
Having spent the better part of the last six months preparing themselves and the S/V Bad Captain, that 2007 Hylas 46, for their voyage, Paul and Paolo, armed with little sailing experience, have set off from Pass Christian, Mississippi, in search of adventure. So come follow along, participate in the tale, and learn that anyone can do whatever they want if they want it bad enough.