This 72-year-old man just crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel


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There are now many people crossing the Atlantic Ocean. But those who have done so in absurd ways, fortunately, can be counted on the fingers of one hand. certainly enters this prestigious “elité” since he has just completed his ocean crossing in an orange wooden barrel of 10 square meters, with no engine or other propulsion except the currents and trade winds (the winds of the ocean) and is now drifting off the coast of Florida.

This is the feat of the modern Diogenes

Diogenes, who lived in the 4th century BC and is also known as the “Crazy Socrates”, is also known for having lived part of his life in a…barrel. Our modern biogenic is called Jean-Jacques Savin, is 72 years old and is French. He is a so-called “dynamic pensioner”: he is a former level Triathlon athlete, served as a paratrooper in the military and was an airplane pilot. His leave didn’t stop him as he climbed Mont Blanc to celebrate his 70th birthday. Afterwards, in order not to lose his training, he crossed the ocean leaving from the Canary Islands in December, with destination… somewhere in the Caribbean.

Savin's barrel, without engine or other types of propulsion
Savin’s barrel, without engine or other types of propulsion

Wind travel

As the “king of superyachts”, Dan Lenard, fresh from the ocean without tools,“everything that starts from our half of the Atlantic, sooner or later arrives in the Caribbean. 

And Savin took care of it and showed it to us in a practical way by taking 122 days and nine hours to complete this crossing. The ex-soldier launched himself into the sea on 26 December from the island of El Hierro in the Canary Islands, to cross the Atlantic rocked only by the wind and currents. What drove him? Simply a taste for adventure and a love of “feeling of freedom”, represented by his orange barrel boat.

How did you do it?

On a boat made of a barrel a maximum of 2.10 meters high and 1.70 wide, which can carry 300 kg of weight (Savin included). The hull was built in a small shipyard in Arès. As for the live work, the barrel is equipped with two stabilizing fins and also a drift so as not to roll the barrel on the surface of the sea. The upper part has a dome hatch similar to that of the submarines, while the barrel is equipped with numerous portholes that have allowed Savin to look around.

However, his journey is not over yet. At the moment Savin is still in the middle of the sea, waiting to finally touch the ground or be embarked by some ship.

His model

In spite of the barrel, our dear Jean-Jacques is not inspired by the cynical Diogenes.  His model is Alain Bombard, the French biologist who in 1952 launched into the Atlantic crossing with a 4.5-metre Zodiac sailing boat, the Hérétique,without provisions. He wanted to show that shipwrecked people die from psychological causes and not from lack of food and water. He succeeded, landing in Barbados (from Tangier), after 65 days adrift, during which he fed on plankton and drank sea water, calculated not to risk dying.


Image source: TESA


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