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French retiree heads across the Atlantic in a barrel

The 71-year-old has no way to steer and hopes that ocean currents take him to a Caribbean island


A French retiree set out on Wednesday for a trip across the Atlantic in a barrel.

Here's what we know

Seventy-one-year-old Jean-Jacques Savin embarked on his voyage from the Canary Islands, an archipelago controlled by Spain off the western coast of Africa. He's traveling in a simple orange barrel build out of resin-coated plywood.

While the 65-square-foot barrel has room for him to cook and store enough food for the trip, it has no way for him to steer or propel himself. Instead, Savin plans to rely solely on ocean currents to carry him on his transatlantic voyage. He expects the entire trip to last around three months.

On Thursday, Savin posted a photo of himself from inside the vessel to Facebook, along with his GPS coordinates.

His goal is to reach an island in the Caribbean, but, since can't steer, he's not entirely sure where he'll end up.

"Maybe Barbados, although I'd really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadeloupe," Savin told Agence France-Presse. Landing on a French island, he noted, would make the paperwork easier for a French citizen like himself.

He also told AFP that he was moving at a speed of between 1 and 2 mph, and that "for the time being my capsule is behaving very, very well and I've got favourable winds forecast until Sunday."

What else?

To entertain himself during his trip, Savin has a porthole so he can watch fish, a mandolin, a few books, and a diary he plans to write in daily. He will also be dropping markers along the way on behalf of the JCOMMOPS international marine observatory.

A true Frenchman, Savin also brought at least three bottles of wine along with him: A bottle of white Sauternes to celebrate New Year's Eve, and one of red Saint-Emilion for his birthday, which falls on Jan. 14. The third bottle, a Bordeaux, will remain unopened. After his voyage, this wine will be compared to an identical bottle left safely on land.

One last thing…
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