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Jean-Jacques Savin: French adventurer dies crossing Atlantic Ocean

Image source, Getty Images

A 75-year-old Frenchman who was trying to row across the Atlantic Ocean has been found dead at sea, his support team said.

Adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin had previously made the crossing in a large barrel in 2019.

“Unfortunately, this time the ocean was stronger than our friend, who loved sailing and the sea so much,” a statement on his Facebook page said.


Savin had triggered two distress beacons on Thursday night.

His family had not heard any news from him since, and “were hoping for a glimmer of hope, and even good news,” the Facebook statement said. But on Friday Savin’s canoe was found overturned off the Azores, an island chain in the North Atlantic Ocean, by Portuguese maritime officials.

The exact circumstances of his death have not yet been determined.

The former military paratrooper, who celebrated his 75th birthday at sea last week with foie gras and champagne, set off from Sagres in southern Portugal on 1 January, with the aim of crossing the ocean solo.

On Wednesday, he wrote on Facebook that there were strong winds which made his journey longer by 900km (560 miles), and said he was having trouble with his solar power. But he added: “Rest assured, I’m not in danger!”

Jean-Jacques Savin in his canoe

Image source, Getty Images

He said he planned to fix the issues once he arrived at the “beautiful marina” of Ponta Delgada, the capital of the Azores.

Savin had planned to spend some three months in his 8m (26ft) canoe, which he referred to as his “friend”.

He had described the rowing feat as a way to “laugh at old age”.

In 2019, the adventurer successfully crossed the Atlantic in a barrel-shaped orange capsule, using the sea currents alone to propel it across the water for 4,500km (2,800 miles) – a journey of 122 days.

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