71 yo Frenchman embarks on journey across Atlantic… in a barrel

Jean-Jacques Savin has started a 4,500 kilometer journey across the Atlantic in a plastic capsule that comes complete with a toilet and is reinforced to protect him against killer whale attacks.

Savin hopes to reach the Caribbean in three months, relying on only the oceans currents to get him there.

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

The three metre long and 2.10 metre wide barrel weighs 450 kg when empty and is made from heavily-reinforced resin-coated plywood. Savin spent months working on it in a shipyard in France, and it contains a kitchen, a bed, a small table and storage space.

Savin set off from El Hierro in the Canary Islands and thinks his final destination will be Barbados, but said he 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,” he said.

Throughout the voyage, Savin will leave markers for the Global Ocean Observing Systems Coordination (JCOMMOPS) international marine observatory so oceanographers can learn more about currents.

READ MORE: US explorer completes first-ever solo trek across Antarctica

A former military parachutist, pilot and park ranger, Savin packed some foie gras and a bottle of white wine to celebrate New Years Eve inside the capsule, and brought a bottle of red wine for his 72nd birthday in January 14.

You can track Savins current position in the Atlantic here.

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