Jean-Jacques Savin’s Latest Attempt to Cross the Atlantic Ends in Tragedy

This would have been his sixth time crossing the ocean

Jean-Jacques Savin
Jean-Jacques Savin tests his rowboat at a shipyard in Lege-Cap-Ferret, southwestern France on May 28, 2021.

In 2019, former paratrooper Jean-Jacques Savin accomplished a feat that few people have accomplished — much less someone in their early 70s, as Savin was at the time. He crossed the Atlantic in an unpowered barrel, relying on nothing other than the ocean’s current to get him to his destination. This year, Savin — now 75 — set out to accomplish another ocean crossing, this one powered by rowing. Sadly, the story of this voyage does not have a happy ending.

This weekend, Portuguese authorities learned that Savin died over the course of his journey. His boat was found in the Azores, and a diver subsequently recovered his body.

“Jean-Jacques had activated his two stress levels on Thursday night to Friday,” his team reported in a post on Facebook. “Unfortunately, this time the ocean was stronger than our friend, who loved sailing and the sea so much.”

As reported by The New York Times, Savin’s journey began in Portugal on January 2. Last week, he posted an update to Facebook noting that he had encountered issues with the solar panel on his vessel, requiring him to manually desalinate his water supply. “[T]hat takes all my physical energy,” he wrote.

This voyage would have been his sixth time crossing the Atlantic.

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