Rowing the Atlantic: 75-year-old adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin found dead in his canoe

The body of Jean-Jacques Savin, who had crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a barrel in 2019 before leaving on January 1 for a rowing crossing, “was found lifeless inside the cabin of his canoe”.

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 which adds 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 since Friday morning the concern of his relatives, to whom he had given no sign of life since the night from Thursday to Friday.

“We are very worried,” said members of the team who had lost track of him north of Madeira.

“Unfortunately, since 12:34 a.m. yesterday morning (Friday), we have no longer had any contact or any demonstration on his part”, they said after specifying that the navigator had then triggered “his two distress beacons indicating that we were + in large difficulty+”.

On the Facebook page “Jean-Jacques Savin: rowing across the Atlantic”, Manon, his daughter, had indicated that “Everything was immediately implemented in coordination with the French, Portuguese and American sea rescue services. “.

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

“Not in danger! »

Because shortly after leaving Sagres (southern Portugal) on January 1, the adventurer 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.

On Wednesday, on his Facebook page, 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.

Jean-Jacques Savin, a resident of Arès in the Arcachon basin, intended to row across the Atlantic in a canoe and become “the dean of the Atlantic”, “a way of taunting old age”.

He 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.

A great sportsman and “adventurer at heart”, this former military parachutist, thin and muscular, had spent more than four months in 2019 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.

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