French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, sets off on voyage across the Atlantic in a barrel | Eurasia Diary -

19 June, Wednesday

French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, sets off on voyage across the Atlantic in a barrel

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A French adventurer has set sail for the Caribbean in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, hoping to complete the three-month voyage from the Canary Islands with the aid of ocean currents alone.

Former military paratrooper Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, reinforced his orange resin-coated plywood capsule before setting off and furnished it with a bunk, kitchen and storage space.

The Frenchman — who has also worked as a park ranger and a pilot — will drop markers along the way to help oceanographers from the JCOMMOPS international marine observatory study currents in the Atlantic.

The 71-year-old will also be studied upon the completion of his journey — scientists hope to gain a deeper insight into the effects of solitude in close confinement.

Mr. Savin told AFP news agency he had high hopes for his 4,500 kilometre voyage after setting off: "The weather is great. I've got a swell of 1 metre and I'm moving at 2-3 kilometres per hour.

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

Speaking of his final destination, he added: "Maybe Barbados, although I would really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadeloupe.

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

The vessel measures 3 metres long and 2.10 metres across, weighs 450 kilograms and was specially reinforced to withstand potential attacks by orca whales.

The capsule boasts a porthole in the floor, through which Mr. Savin will be able to watch fish passing beneath him.

Mr. Savin's supplies also include foie gras, a bottle of white wine for New Year's Eve and a bottle of red wine for his 72nd birthday on January 14.

ABC News

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