Jean-Jacques Savin: Frenchman completes Atlantic crossing in barrel

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AFP

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The adventurer said the journey was “exhilarating…but also quite risky”

A 72-year-old French adventurer has landed on the Caribbean island of Martinique after successfully crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel-shaped orange capsule.

Jean-Jacques Savin set off on his journey in late December from El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands.

He used ocean currents alone to propel the capsule across the Atlantic.

Mr Savin declared his trip a success on 27 April, when he entered the Caribbean after 122 days at sea.

The journey covered more than 4,500km (2,800 miles).

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He was brought to the shore of France’s overseas department of Martinique on Thursday by a French tugboat after being picked up at sea by a Dutch oil tanker.

“It was an exhilarating voyage but also quite risky,” Mr Savin said after arriving on Martinique.

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AFP

The former military paratrooper spent more than four months in the barrel, which is 3m (9 feet) long and 2.10m wide.

The vessel includes a sleeping bunk, kitchen and storage, and has a porthole in the floor through which he was able to watch passing fish.

The capsule was built to resist waves and potential attacks by orca whales. A solar panel was used to generate power for communications and GPS positioning.

Mr Savin mainly survived on stores of freeze-dried food, as well as freshly caught fish and supplies offered by ships he passed on the voyage.

The budget for the trip was raised largely through crowdfunding.

When he set off in December, Mr Savin joked that he would “really like” to end up on a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe.

During the journey, the adventurer worked on a book about the experience, which he plans to publish later this year.

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