Family Connections in Seattle
30 April 2018
The Clipper Race stopover in Seattle, USA, was an unforgettable one for crew and supporters alike, with an action paced timetable of events and some glorious weather showcasing the very best of what the city has to offer.
But there was an extra reason why it a visit to remember for Garmin crew member Sarah Addison, a 32-year-old Process Engineer from Glasgow, Scotland, who we last caught up with in Punta del Este ahead of Leg 2. A recent family tree discovery made her time in Seattle even more special, as she explains: “It was only a year or so ago that my uncle told me that he had been doing a bit of digging into our family tree.
“He had discovered that my great-great-grandmother’s brother, Peter Buchan, and his wife had left the north east coast of Scotland and moved to Seattle in the 1920s when there was a lull in the fishing industry.
“It was in Seattle that he and his family also started building yachts – the most famous one was the Buchan 37.
IMAGE: Sarah's long-lost relatives.
More digging revealed even more similarities, and that the timing of Sarah’s visit could not have been more apt.
“My uncle found out that in this branch of our family, a father and son who had kept the Buchan name, were Olympic gold medallists for the Star class. On my side, Buchan is my Grandmas maiden name.
“The most bizarre thing is that we also have a sailing Olympic medallist on our side of the family. My cousin, Luke Patience, won silver in the 470 class at the London Olympics in 2012 and it was around that time that my uncle found out about the Seattle family. So, it must be true, sailing and the sea runs in the genes and must be in our blood!”
IMAGE: Sarah at the helm on Garmin.
Following that initial connection through the genealogy agency based in Scotland, Sarah used the Clipper Race Stopover in Seattle to meet face to face with Bill Buchan, who is 83 now, and his son, Carl, who both won gold in the Star class during the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
“They were so accommodating while I was in Seattle,” says Sarah.
“They picked me up, we went for dinner with Bill, his wife and his daughter at the Seattle Yacht Club. We hadn’t met before but it really does feel like they are family. They have been absolutely amazing.
“They have been so enthusiastic and supportive when it comes to the Clipper Race. I took Bill down to have a look at the Garmin team yacht.”
“They’re so enthused about meeting their Scottish relatives and they have invited us all over again. I’m so lucky that the reason I am here is because I am on the Clipper Race and the Clipper Race has brought me together with some distant relatives.”
IMAGE: Sarah got to meet her relatives during the Seattle Stopover.
On her upcoming Clipper Race adventure, which will see her race from Seattle to Panama, through the Panama Canal and up to New York, Sarah says: “Leg 2 from Punta del Este in Uruguay to Cape Town in South Africa was amazing, it surpassed all my expectations.
“I don’t know why, but I thought the sea would be pretty monotonous when we got out there, the same thing every day but actually every day was different. You would get really blue sky one day, would be surfing down waves the next, then the next day you’d be in a storm, and the next day it would be a millpond out there. We got the stormy conditions I was hoping for, too.”
IMAGE: Sarah on board Garmin during the race to Cape Town.
For Sarah, it was great to be back with her Garmin teammates after so many months apart, and amid her race preparations, she commented: “I am less nervous for this leg but the challenge this time is going to be the heat for sure!
“Everyone seems raring to go, totally up for it, and everyone is fresh on the leg.”
IMAGE: Sarah and her Garmin teammates ahead of Race 10 from Seattle to Panama. ©Ben Soloman
And with Olympic sailors from two sides of Sarah’s family watching her progress during Race 10: The Garmin American Challenge, the pressure is certainly high.
“I said before I left that I will try and bring the gold home for Garmin on this next leg to make them all proud but we will see!”
Keep up to speed with Sarah’s progress as she races on board Garmin during Leg 7 via the Clipper Race Viewer and read the latest from Skipper Gaëtan Thomas and Sarah’s teammates via the Garmin team page.Join The Race