71-Year-Old Frenchman Sets Out to Cross the Atlantic in Barrel Capsule

71-Year-Old Frenchman Sets Out to Cross the Atlantic in Barrel Capsule

The novel vessel is expected to make the trans-Atlantic voyage “powered” solely by ocean currents.

Jean-Jacques Savin, a 71-year-old citizen of France, has set out to cross the Atlantic in  a barrel-shaped capsule moved solely by ocean currents.

The elderly Frenchman began his voyage on Wednesday from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands.

He hopes to reach the Caribbean on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean within three months.

“The weather is great — I’ve got a swell of one meter and I’m moving at two or three kilometers an hour,” Jean-Jacques Savin told AFP by telephone, as cited by France24.

“For the time being my capsule is behaving very, very well and I’ve got favorable winds forecast until Sunday,” he added.

The barrel-shaped capsule he uses is 3 meters (10 feet) long, and 2.1 meters wide; it is made resin-coated plywood, and weighs 450 kilograms (990 pounds) when empty. It is also equipped with a porthole in the floor allowing a view of passing fish.

Savin himself built his novel vessel in a small shipyard in Ares, in Southwest France. He reinforced it to resist waves and possible attacks by orcas.

The living space inside the ocean capsule measures six square meters, and includes a kitchen, sleeping bunk and storage.

The adventurous Frenchman is a former military parachutist who served in Africa, a former pilot and a former national park ranger.

Savin hopes to reach some of the islands in the Caribbean thanks to the ocean currents in the Atlantic without having to resort to a sail or oars.

“Maybe Barbados, although I’d really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe,” he said.

“That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back,” the man added.

En route to the Caribbean, Savin will be leaving markers for the JCOMMOPS international marine observatory, a way of aiding oceanographers in their studying of the Atlantic currents.

The novel barrel-shaped capsule voyage has a budget of EUR 60,000 (USD 68,000) partly financed by barrelmakers and a crowdfunding campaign.

Savin is to celebrate his 72nd birthday on January 14, 2019, at sea. He has brought with him a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white wine, and a bottle of red Saint-Emilion.

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

(Banner image: Twitter)

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