Some climb Mount Everest blind. Others hop the marathon on one leg. It’s hard to believe that Jean-Jacques Savin wants to drift across the Atlantic from the Canary Islands in a self-built plywood barrel, driven only by wind and waves. People exist!
Born in 1947, the Frenchman will certainly not be a claustrophobic, as his journey will take around three months. The dwelling in which he will live for this time is 3 meters long, 2.10 meters wide and weighs 450 kg. He has had small portholes installed so that he can see where he is bobbing. And to prevent it from simply being run over by container ships, he has painted the big round thing bright colors.
Laminated with epoxy © Savin
He plans to set off around December 20, 2018, if the winds are favorable – and will hopefully spend a quiet, contemplative Christmas on board. If Jean-Jacques Savin is still in a celebratory mood after Christmas and New Year’s Eve, he can also celebrate his 72nd birthday on January 14 on board his ton.
Project TESA © Savin
Jean Jaques Savin in the barrel © Savin
Former skydivers will certainly be familiar with the feeling of not knowing exactly where you will land. “I don’t know exactly where I’m going, Barbados or Guadeloupe,” the triathlete told the French news agency AFP. He wanted to experience “the feeling of freedom” and “admire the richness and wildlife of the sea”.
Savin’s barrel has a place to sleep
As we all know, there’s enough space in even the smallest hut. Jean-Jacques Savin has a sleeping area, a seating area, a kitchenette, a card table and some storage space in his barrel. There was no room for a bath, so the pütz will have to do. He also has a television, namely a porthole in the floor through which he can watch the fish. So that it can be located, it has also made itself available for scientific purposes and has a buoy on board that will measure the currents.
The view of the Atlantic © Savin
His great role model is Alain Bombard, known for his scientific studies on the survivability of shipwrecked people. He had ventured across the Atlantic in an inflatable dinghy in 1952. He was on the road for 65 days, allegedly without drinking water or food on board his rubber boat. He fed on fish, the liquid from which he used as drinking water. Bombard landed on Barbados. “But my name isn’t Alain Bombard,” counters Jean-Jacques Savin, “I wouldn’t have set off with him back then.” We will certainly find out how he will feed himself.
Many have crossed the Atlantic in crazy ways. float reported on two young Finns who sailed across the Atlantic in a 4.30 meter long motorboat aptly named “Psycopaatilla”, went off course, were picked up by a cargo ship, were launched again, then capsized with their boat and finally actually arrived.
Psycopaatilla © Seppo Muraja
In the fall of 2018, a small autonomous sailing boat called “SB Met” successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean in the Microtransat Challenge, remotely controlled without a crew on board. So why shouldn’t a Diogenes in a barrel be able to make the journey? The gods will certainly be with him.
And so the journey continued.
This text first appeared on float on November 21, 2018. Updated on December 26, 2023.