71-Year-Old Man Will Cross The Atlantic in Engine-less Plywood Barrel

Former paratrooper Jean-Jacques Savin will cross the Atlantic in an engine-less barrel 4 photos
Photo: Facebook / TESA
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Now that’s one way of avoiding unwanted company this holiday season. A 71-year-old Frenchman has embarked on a record-breaking journey that will see him cross the Atlantic in an engine-less plywood barrel.
The capsule measures 3 meters in length and 2.1 meters in width, and is made of resin-coated plywood meant to resist strong winds and potential orca attacks. Jean-Jacques Savin, a former military paratrooper, was able to raise the money needed to build it, about $68,000 through crowfunding and with the help of a sponsor, and then personally oversaw the process of putting it together.

Needless to say, it has everything inside to ensure Savin’s survival and comfort during the 4,500 km journey: a mattress with straps to prevent him from being tossed around during high seas, a kitchen area and supplies, a solar panel, and even a porthole in the floor that will allow him to watch fish, the BBC reports.

The capsule started off from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands and is destined for the Caribbean. “Maybe Barbados, although I would really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe,” Savin said of where he hoped to end the journey. “That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back.”

Savin hopes to complete the journey in 3 months, during which time he will be dropping markers to help oceanographers in their study of currents in the Atlantic Ocean. A dedicated Facebook page is constantly posting updates on his progress: so far, the barrel is “behaving well,” traveling slowly because there’s little wind.

Until then, he’s prepared for New Year’s with a block of foie gras and a bottle of Sauternes white, and a bottle of red wine for his birthday in January. Because no one said such a journey can’t have a touch of the exquisite.
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About the author: Elena Gorgan
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Elena has been writing for a living since 2006 and, as a journalist, she has put her double major in English and Spanish to good use. She covers automotive and mobility topics like cars and bicycles, and she always knows the shows worth watching on Netflix and friends.
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