Lack of Wind Slows Frenchman Crossing Atlantic In Barrel

French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin is 36 days into his attempt to cross the Atlantic in a specially built orange barrel.

With no engine, sails or paddles, the unusual craft relies on trade winds and currents to push him 4,800 kilometers from the Canary Islands to Caribbean in about three months.

On Wednesday, he reported awaking to an early spring morning and clear sky with a beautiful crescent moon. However, he said there was not a lot of wind, which was slowing his travels.

He described his journey as a “crossing during which man isn’t captain of his ship, but a passenger of the ocean.”

Savin spent months building his bright orange, barrel-shaped capsule of resin-coated plywood that is strong enough to withstand battering waves and other stresses.

The barrel is 3 meters long and 2.10 meters across. It has a small galley and a mattress with straps to keep him from being tossed out of his bunk by rough seas.

Portholes on either side of the barrel and another looking into the water provide sunlight and a bit of entertainment. The unique craft also has a solar panel that generates energy for communications and GPS positioning.

As he drifts along, Savin is dropping markers in the ocean to help oceanographers study ocean currents. At the end of the journey, Savin will be studied by doctors for effects of solitude in close confinement.

He also posts regular updates, including GPS coordinates tracking the journey, on a Facebook page. 

Savin’s adventure, which will cost a little more than $65,000, was funded by French barrel makers and crowdfunding.

Savin hopes to end his journey on a French island, such as Martinique or Guadeloupe. “That would be easier for the paperwork and for bringing the barrel back,” he told AFP.