Frenchman Crosses the Atlantic in a Barrel

Jean-Jacques Savin has completed his solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel after arriving at the tiny Caribbean Island of St. Eustatia, near the Dominican Republic.

The 71-year-old Frenchman was picked up by a tanker off the coast of the Dominican Republic, after issuing an emergency call, and was transported to St. Eustatia.

Savin’s vessel is loaded aboard the tanker. Photo:

The former paratrooper spent months perfecting his vessel in a small shipyard in France before launching his escapade. He left the Canary Islands last Christmas in a simple barrel capsule made from resin-coated plywood, heavily reinforced to resist pounding waves. He has floated for 128 days, guided only by currents and winds, without an engine or other assistance.

Why Savin signaled an emergency is unclear, considering that his Atlantic crossing was complete. On arrival, he appeared to be in good health. His family was there to welcome him, and he celebrated his achievement with a local beer.

Savin, second from right, and his family were in Statia to welcome him. Photo: