Anna Tunnicliffe was born in Doncaster, England. Anna's parents owned a yacht when she was a child and this is where she learned to like sailing. She and her family moved to the United States at the age of 12 and lived in Perrysburg, Ohio. There she attended Perrysburg High School and joined the North Cape Yacht Club where she raced Optimists and other small boats for the next five years. In 1999 she began sailing the Laser Radial. Her first event in this boat was at the Leiter Cup in Detroit, Michigan. Despite her small build she advanced to the Smythe Finals for her area, where she was the only woman sailing. She participated in cross country, swimming, and track at the varsity level. In her senior year she won district track championships in the 800 meter and set a new high school record of 2 minutes 17.56 seconds. After a hard decision between sailing and track, she decided to go to the Old Dominion University to study and sail. As a student at ODU she contributed greatly to the sailing community.
In January 2014, Tunnicliffe announced her retirement from Olympic Sailing after 12 years of competition.
She helped in bringing four national championships to the school including the ICSA Women’s National Championship, and three ICSA Women’s Single-Handed championships. At ODU she competed as an A division skipper for the women’s team and B division skipper for the co-ed team during her junior year. During her senior year, she competed as an A division skipper for both teams. In her sophomore through senior years, Tunnicliffe was awarded women’s team all Americans status, and co-ed all American status in her senior year. For every year the Quantum Sailor of the Year award was given, Tunnifliffe was a finalist. The Quantum sailor of the year is an award given to the top college female sailor. She was a runner up her junior year, missing 1st by only 0.02 points, but was finally given the award in her senior year. Along with all of these accomplishments, she was one of three finalists for the ICSA sportsmanship trophy.
As of now, Tunnicliffe is ranked 1st in the world for the women's singlehanded dinghy, the Laser Radial. At the 2007, US Sailing Olympic Selection Trials held in Newport and Middleton, Rhode Island, she secured a spot on the 2008 US Olympic Sailing Team.