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Frenchman, 71, sets sail in 10ft-long BARREL in bid to reach Caribbean using only ocean currents

French pensioner, 71, sets sail in a 10ft-long BARREL in a three-month bid to reach the Caribbean using only ocean currents

  • Jean-Jacques Savin hoping to cross Atlantic in barrel using only ocean currents
  • Savin hopes to reach Barbados, Martinique or Guadaloupe within three months
  • The 71-year-old will be dropping markers to help oceanographers study currents

A 71-year-old Frenchman has set sail across the Atlantic in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, hoping to reach the Caribbean within three months using ocean currents alone.

Jean-Jacques Savin set off from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands for a three-month voyage he hopes will take him to Barbados, Martinique or Guadaloupe.  

The former paratrooper had worked on his vessel for months in the small shipyard of Ares on France’s southwest coast.

Measuring 10ft long and nearly 7ft across, it is made from resin-coated plywood, heavily reinforced to resist waves and potential attacks by orca whales.

Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin (pictured), 71, has set sail across the Atlantic in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, hoping to reach the Caribbean within three months using ocean currents alone

Measuring 10ft long and nearly 7ft across, it is made from resin-coated plywood, heavily reinforced to resist waves and potential attacks by orca whales

Measuring 10ft long and nearly 7ft across, it is made from resin-coated plywood, heavily reinforced to resist waves and potential attacks by orca whales

Inside the capsule, which weighs 990 lbs when empty, is a six-square-metre living space which includes a kitchen, sleeping bunk and storage. A porthole in the floor allows Savin to look at passing fish.

‘The weather is great – I’ve got a swell of one metre and I’m moving at two or three kilometres an hour,’ he told AFP by telephone after setting off from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands.

‘For the time being my capsule is behaving very, very well and I’ve got favourable winds forecast until Sunday.’

A former military parachutist who served in Africa, Savin has also worked as a pilot and a national park ranger.

He has stowed away a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white wine for New Year’s Eve, along with a bottle of red Saint-Emilion for his 72nd birthday on January 14.

Savin hopes currents will carry him naturally to the Caribbean without the need for a sail or oars – ‘maybe Barbados, although I’d really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe,’ he quipped.

Inside the capsule, which weighs 990 lbs when empty, is a six-square-metre living space which includes a kitchen, sleeping bunk and storage. A porthole in the floor allows Savin to look at passing fish

Inside the capsule, which weighs 990 lbs when empty, is a six-square-metre living space which includes a kitchen, sleeping bunk and storage. A porthole in the floor allows Savin to look at passing fish

Savin has stowed away a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white wine for New Year's Eve, along with a bottle of red Saint-Emilion for his 72nd birthday on January 14.

Savin has stowed away a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white wine for New Year’s Eve, along with a bottle of red Saint-Emilion for his 72nd birthday on January 14.

Jean-Jacques Savin set off from El Hierro in Spain's Canary Islands for a three-month voyage he hopes will take him to Barbados, Martinique or Guadaloupe

Jean-Jacques Savin set off from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands for a three-month voyage he hopes will take him to Barbados, Martinique or Guadaloupe

‘That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back.’

Along the way, Savin will be dropping markers for the JCOMMOPS international marine observatory to help its oceanographers study the currents.

And he himself will be the subject of a study on the effects of solitude in close confinement.

Even the wine onboard will be studied: He is carrying a Bordeaux to be compared afterwards with one kept on land to determine the effects of months spent tossed on the waves.

Savin has a budget of 60,000 euros (£54,000) for his expedition, covered in part by barrelmakers and a crowdfunding campaign. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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