The Atlantic Ocean in a Barrel at 72-year-old

Savin’s boat-tanker

Somebody tried to cross the Atlantic Ocean making speed records, like the Azimut Atlantic Challenger, or like the two Nordic guys who have done all over the Atlantic with a 4-meter speedboat. Then there is him: Jean-Jacques Savin who in the first days of May last year concluded his ocean crossing in an orange wooden barrel of 10 square meters, with no engine or other propulsion except currents and trade winds.

Jean-Jacques Savin

Among the many who attempted on this route, this is probably one of the most peculiar. Jean-Jacques Savin is a “dynamic retiree”: former Triathlon level athlete, he served as a paratrooper in the army and was an airplane pilot. The leave did not stop him since he climbed Mont Blanc to celebrate his 70th birthday. Then, in order not to miss the training, he crossed the Ocean leaving the Canaries in December, with destination… somewhere in the Caribbean.

“Everything that leaves our half (from the east) of the Atlantic sooner or later arrives in the Caribbean.” 

It took Savin 122 days and nine hours to make this crossing. The former soldier took to the sea on 26 December 2019 from the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, to cross the Atlantic lulled only by wind and currents. What drove him? Simply the taste for adventure and the love for the “feeling of freedom” represented by his orange boat-barrel.

Savin and a fish caught during the crossing

How did he do it?

On a boat made in a barrel high a maximum of 2.10 meters and wide 1.70, which can carry 300 kg of weight (including Savin). The hull was built in a small shipyard in Arès. As for the live work, the barrel is equipped with two stabilizing fins and also a kind of rudder so that the barrel does not roll on the sea surface. In the upper part, it has a domed hatch similar to that of submarines, while the barrel is equipped with numerous portholes that allowed Savin to look around.

Image source: TESA

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