Rowing across the Atlantic: Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin found dead in his canoe

Frenchman Jean-Jacques Savin wanted to become the oldest man to row across the Atlantic.

AFP - PHILIPPE LOPEZ

Text by: RFI Follow

3 mins

The Girondin Jean-Jacques Savin, 75, who was trying to cross the Atlantic by rowing and whose relatives had not heard from since Friday, was found dead on Saturday in his canoe, off the Azores. 

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The " 

body of Jean-Jacques was found lifeless inside the cabin of his canoe the Audacieux

 ", announced in a press release to AFP the team of volunteers who followed the septuagenarian adventurer, who left on January 1 from Portugal. The “ 

Portuguese maritime security had located yesterday

(Friday)

the boat unfortunately returned off the Azores. A diver was able to go down and visit the boat this Saturday 

”, specifies the text underlining that “

 the ocean this time was stronger than our friend, he who loved navigation and the sea so much

 ”. The team also indicates that it does 

not yet know "the exact circumstances of the tragedy

 ".

The navigator, who had made himself known by crossing the Atlantic in a barrel in 2019, pushed by the winds and the currents, had aroused the concern of his relatives since Friday morning. “ 

Unfortunately, since 00:34 yesterday morning

(Friday),

we have no longer had any contact or any demonstration on his part

 ,” members of his team told AFP on Saturday morning. According to them, he had triggered his two distress beacons, "

 indicating that he was

'in great difficulty'".

During the last contacts, Jean-Jacques Savin was north of Madeira, offshore, and was on his way to the small island of Ponta Delgada, in the Azores archipelago, to repair.

Because shortly after his departure from Sagres (southern Portugal) on January 1, this great sportsman, “ 

adventurer at heart

 ”, was quickly diverted due to bad winds.

His initial route had thus been extended by 900 km and then he had to encounter serious energy and communication problems.

 “Not in danger!

»

On

his Facebook page on

Wednesday,

Jean-Jacques Savin mentioned the " 

strong swell and the force of the wind 

", adding that he was obliged " 

to use

(his)

manual desalinator 

".

 It costs me physical energy.

Don't worry, I'm not in danger!

 “, he wrote.

Living in Arès, in the Arcachon basin, he intended to row across the Atlantic and become "

 the dean of the Atlantic 

", "

 a way of taunting old age

 ". "  He

was an extraordinary, atypical man

 ", recalls the mayor of Arès, Xavier Daney, who also speaks of an "

 outstanding adventurer, a well-marked character, with character, as one can be on the Arcachon bay. We are peasants of the sea, a little earthy and a little sailor. He was a pure Aresian, his father was an oyster farmer.

 “

 There is no reason to think that it was one adventure too many

 ”, he assures, expressing a “ 

very strong thought for his daughter Manon,his partner Jackie and the whole team of volunteers

 ".

Barrel crossing the Atlantic

Jean-Jacques Savin had celebrated his 75th birthday on January 14 aboard his canoe, eight meters long, 1.70 m wide and equipped with two cabins and a rowing station.

On board, 300 kg of equipment, including freeze-dried food, a heating point, a spear gun for fishing, an electric desalinator and a manual, his mandolin, Champagne, Sauternes and foie gras to celebrate his birthday.

I'm going on vacation to the open sea, I'm taking three months of vacation

 ," he laughed shortly before his departure.

In 2019, this slim and muscular former paratrooper had spent more than four months in

a barrel-shaped boat

three meters long and 2.10 m in diameter.

He had thus crossed the Atlantic alone, driven by the winds and currents.

This former private pilot and curator of a national park in Africa had thus joined the West Indies, which he hoped to join again by rowing.

He had signed a book,

127 days adrift, the Atlantic in a barrel

, on his adventure which had also been followed by 23,000 people on Facebook.

(

With

AFP)

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