Carnage preventer

Roger Ganovelli talks to editor James Boyd about his new anti-capsize equipment for multihulls
After the carnage of the 2002 race, this year's Route du Rhum was lining up to have a perfect safety record for the trimarans taking part. That was until Steve Ravussin managed to flip Orange Project, and was then followed in rapid succession by Ross Hobson's 40 footer Ideal Stelrad and Pascal Quintin's trimaran Jean Stalaven. All the trimarans capsized as they were tackling the front to the northwest of the Azores. This front had remained virtually static for almost a week and the sea state on its west side was steep and confused, drummed up by persistent northeasterly winds at times reaching gale force strength. Capsize, it seems, is an unavoidable ingredient of solo long distance multihull racing. However an individual in France is trying to reverse this state of affairs. Roger Ganovelli is a second generation multihull sailor. His father Marc, a dentist, is an Olympic Tornado sailor of a similar vintage to Reg White and Roger's background is scarily reminsiscent of our own, his father still owns one of White's 1970s-built Iroquois 30ft catamarans. The Ganovellis have lived and breathed multihulls for almost 40 years. During the last disastrous Route du Rhum in 2002 Ganovelli junior was at college where he witnessed the mid-Atlantic destruction that resulted in just three of the 60ft trimaran starters making to Guadeloupe as once out into the Atlantic they were nailed by hurricane strength winds. Studying as a mechanical engineer at the time the cogs began turning in Ganovelli's head over the possibility of some kind of sheet release device to help prevent capsizing or pitchpoling. His ideas were galvanised when the ORMA 60ft trimaran class made it mandatory for some kind of sheet release mechanism to be fitted to the boats for the Route du Rhum. Sheet release systems are not a