Neil Murray, skipper of last-placed BT Challenge yacht Norwich Union, explains how he hopes to get rejoin the leaders
As Hurricane Michael recedes behind them, Norwich Union skipper Neil Murray says he is attempting to make the most of a new tactical dilemma. Tropical storm called Nadine is reportedly heading northwards and, Murray believes, offers last-placed Norwich Union the chance to catch a ride on north-westerly winds and make up lost miles.
“I was initially concerned the high pressure moving in from the west might envelope us in light winds,” he says, “but this has already intensified and we are still on the edge of it. This is giving us some good winds and there is a new tropical storm developing ahead of us which is also good news.
“We are on the western side of the storm and, as its winds rotate anti-clockwise, this means we will get good northerly to north-westerly winds. These will ultimately become westerly winds which will help propel us on our course south-east towards the bulge of Brazil.
“The double whammy is that it looks like the storm will move north between the fleet, which will mean the boats to the west of the tropical storm will benefit most, while the rest are hampered by light winds. The low pressure we are chasing is moving slowly north-easterly and, as we go towards it, we are getting some pretty constant winds.”
In the last few days Norwich Union has reduced the gap between her and the leaders from over 200 miles to 120 miles today. As Neil Murray anticipated, the easternmost boats such as BP Explorer and Veritas have had lighter winds. “I feel we are making good progress as we steadily close the gap,” he says. “While the leaders are in a similar position to us, we are making big gains on the main pack. I am confident this will continue for the next 24 hours.”