Frenchman sets off to cross Atlantic in a barrel

Frenchman Sets Sail For Caribbean In A Barrel

Frenchman Sets Sail For Caribbean In A Barrel

A 71-year-old Frenchman has embarked on an epic journey across the Atlantic on a barrel-shaped capsule heading towards the Caribbean.

Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, set out from the Canary Islands in his orange barrel, which is three-metres long, on Boxing Day.

Along the way, Savin will be dropping markers for the JCOMMOPS worldwide marine observatory to help its oceanographers study the currents.

The vessel, which weighs 450kg (990lb) when empty, comprises of a six-square-metre space complete with a kitchen, sleeping bunk and space for storage. A porthole on the floor allows him to watch the ocean life.

Mr Savin is a former military paratrooper and has also worked as a park ranger and a pilot.

He has expressed the hope that currents will carry him naturally to the Caribbean without the need for a sail or oars. "I've got favorable winds forecast until Sunday", Savin told AFP shortly after he set off. His voyage will also serve as a way for oceanographers from the JCOMMOPS worldwide marine observatory to study such currents, as he will drop off markers on the way. Savin's vessel is crafted of resin-coated plywood that's created to resist both waves and killer whales, with a solar panel that will give him enough juice for Global Positioning System and communications.

The BBC reports Savin has some foie gras, as well as white wine for New Year's Eve and red wine for his upcoming 72 birthday.

Speaking about where his travels might take him, he said: "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", said Mr Savin.

Even the wine onboard will be studied: He is carrying a Bordeaux to be compared afterward with one kept on land to determine the effects of months spent tossed on the waves.

Savin wants to prove a theory put forward by French doctor and adventurer Alain Bombard in 1952, stating a journey across the Atlantic without any technical help is possible.

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