Frenchman, 71, Attempts to Cross Atlantic Ocean in a Barrel Relying on Only Currents and Winds
Could Jean-Jacques Savin be the most adventurous septuagenarian ever?
Jean-Jacques Savin may be the most adventurous septuagenarian ever!
According to multiple outlets — and his Facebook page — the 71-year-old Frenchman spent months building a barrel-shaped capsule, and on Wednesday, he boarded the vessel off the coast of El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands. He is attempting to reach the Caribbean, which will require him to traverse most of the Atlantic Ocean, relying only on the current and wind, The New York Times reports.
Savin, a retired military parachutist, describes his journey on his website as a “crossing during which man isn’t captain of his ship, but a passenger of the ocean.”
Since his departure, the voyager has been sharing his GPS coordinates regularly. On Thursday, after traveling one to two miles per hour for a day, he was about 19 kilometers from his origin, according to CNN.
He anticipates he will have to spend about three months in the 10-foot-by-6-foot-8-inch capsule before reaching his destination.
As of Thursday, Savin was still contemplating where he would come ashore. His final options are Barbados or the French islands of either Martinique or Guadeloupe — to make the arrival paperwork easier, he said.
The Times reports that Savin’s $66,000 trip was paid for entirely by crowdfunding and a sponsorship by a French barrel maker.
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On the vessel, he brought a bottle of Sauternes white wine and a block of foie gras for New Year’s Eve, according to CNN, as well as a bottle of Saint-Émilion red for his birthday in January.
For additional amusement, the capsule has windows so he can observe the fish and other surroundings. There’s also a bunk bed, captain’s seat and kitchen counter squeezed aboard.
After the journey is complete, Savin plans to fly back to his hometown of Arès, known for its oyster farming.