Frenchman sets off to cross Atlantic in a barrel

Jean-Jacques Savin spent months constructing the barrel in a shipyard in south-west France

A Frenchman has set off to cross the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, using ocean currents alone to propel him.

Jean-Jacques Savin, 71, left El Hierro in Spain’s Canary Islands and hopes to reach the Caribbean in as little as three months.

His reinforced capsule contains a sleeping bunk, kitchen and storage.

He will drop markers along the way to help oceanographers study Atlantic currents.

Updates on the journey are being posted on a Facebook page and the latest message said the barrel was “behaving well”.

In a telephone interview with AFP news agency, he said: “The weather is great. I’ve got a swell of one metre (3ft) and I’m moving at 2-3km/h… I’ve got favourable winds forecast until Sunday.”

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

He believes ocean currents alone will carry his resin-coated plywood vessel about 4,500km (2,800 miles) to the Caribbean.

The barrel is 3m long and 2.10m wide with six square metres of living space. There is a porthole in the floor through which Mr Savin can watch passing fish.

The capsule has been built to resist waves and potential attacks by orca whales. A solar panel generates power for communications and GPS positioning.

His budget of €60,000 (£54,000; $68,000) was largely raised through crowdfunding.

“Maybe Barbados, although I would really like it to be a French island like Martinique or Guadaloupe,” he joked.

“That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back.”

Source: BBC

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