French Rower Dies During Atlantic Crossing

A 75-year-old adventurer who was trying to row solo across the Atlantic has been found dead in his overturned boat.

Jean-Jacques Savin set off from Portugal on January 1 and estimated that the crossing would take him three months. On Wednesday, he reported strong winds and that his solar panels were giving him trouble. He added, “Rest assured, I’m not in danger!”

Last night, he set off two distress beacons. That was the last anyone heard from him. Yesterday, Portuguese officials found his eight-metre boat overturned off the Azores. The ex-military paratrooper was deceased.


“Unfortunately, this time the ocean was stronger than our friend,” read a statement on his Facebook page.

Savin was no stranger to ocean crossings. In 2019, he drifted 4,500km across the Atlantic in an enclosed capsule, propelled only by currents. The drift took him 122 days.

Rowing the Atlantic, he had said earlier, was his way to “laugh at old age”. He celebrated his 75th birthday last week with foie gras and champagne.

The cause of death is not yet known.

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. Canada's premier arctic traveler, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and is currently working on a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada.

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3 months ago

RIP. Fighting last words: “Laugh at old age”.

Eddy De wilde
Eddy De wilde
3 months ago

He went down fighting, good on him. Savin had goals and persued them. How many can say that?