LONDON — Drifting in the ocean in a sailboat at the mercy of winds and currents can be a nightmare for a lot of. But a 71-year-old Frenchman with a style for journey has discovered a new means to conquer the Atlantic Ocean: in a barrel.
The adventurer, Jean-Jacques Savin, set sail on Wednesday from El Hierro, the smallest of the Canary Islands, the Spanish archipelago west of Morocco. He will try to attain the Caribbean with solely ocean currents and commerce winds propelling his capsule, in accordance to a Facebook web page arrange to doc his challenge, the place he plans to publish day by day updates together with GPS coordinates monitoring the journey.
Many folks have crawled into barrels to go over Niagara Falls, with some surviving, however nobody has been recognized to cross the Atlantic in a barrel fabricated from plywood.
Mr. Savin, who hails from the oyster-farming city of Arès, in the southwest of France, hopes to obtain the feat in about three months in an orange barrel-shaped capsule about 10 toes lengthy and 6 toes eight inches large. It’s smaller than a pickup and held upright by a concrete ballast.
On his project’s website, Mr. Savin — a former military parachutist, pilot and park ranger in Africa — described his venture as a “crossing during which man isn’t captain of his ship, but a passenger of the ocean.”
Mr. Savin has already crossed the Atlantic four times using a sailboat. His new venture comes decades after another Frenchman, Alain Bombard, set out from the Canary Islands to Barbados in a small rubber boat in 1952, subsisting only on seawater, plankton and raw fish.
Mr. Savin has a few home comforts on board: A wine lover, he is carrying an amphora of wine from near Bordeaux. Another bottle remained in France, and experts will compare the taste of the two after Mr. Savin’s return. But the capsule, which he said he built himself this year in a small shipyard in Arès, offers Spartan living quarters.
A bunk bed, a captain’s seat and a kitchen counter take up most of the interior, and there is barely enough space for a man to stand. Two doctors will study Mr. Savin’s health and behavior after months in such a confined space at sea.
Small portholes on each side of the capsule and a couple looking into the water are Mr. Savin’s windows on the world. The capsule also has satellite technology to guide him and is carrying equipment to gather data for ocean research.
The initial funding for Mr. Savin’s 55,000-euro (or $62,000) adventure came from a group including two French barrel makers; the rest was gathered via crowdfunding.
Drifting south and west from the Canary Islands, Mr. Savin expected to be at sea for his 72nd birthday, in January. For New Year’s Eve and his birthday, he has packed foie gras, a bottle of Sauternes white wine and a Saint-Émilion red, he told the French news service Agence France-Presse.
He said he would like to end up on a French island (the paperwork would be easier, he said), and he intends to take a flight home.
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