French Adventurer Dies Attempting to Row Solo Across the Atlantic

French adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin was found dead on Saturday in his boat after it capsized near the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago, while trying to row across the Atlantic solo, according to a statement from his team. Support.

Mr. Savin, 75, activated distress beacons on Thursday evening and early Friday, according to the statement posted on his Facebook page.

“For 24 hours we were in a state of great anxiety,” he said. “We were hoping for a glimmer of hope, and even good news. Unfortunately, this time the ocean was stronger than our friend, who loved sailing and the sea so much.”

Portuguese maritime authorities located Mr. Savin’s boat, the Audacious (“Audacity”), on Saturday, and a diver found Mr. Savin’s body inside the cabin, the statement said.

“We will not be able to say more, not yet knowing the exact circumstances of this tragedy,” the statement said.

Mr Savin began his journey from southern Portugal on January 2 and posted several updates on Facebook.

On January 7, the sixth day of the trip, he described the sea as “very rough” and said it “looked like a roller coaster”. By January 10, he had covered about 163 miles, which he said was “a good start!”

On January 19, Savin posted his final journal entry on Facebook.

“I’ve had issues for the past 10 days,” he wrote. “The solar collector (which must recharge the battery of my water desalination system) has stopped working. I had to use my manual watermaker, but it takes all my physical energy.

“Rest assured,” he added, “I’m not in danger!”

He was heading for the Azores, he said.

“There is a beautiful marina with an airport right next to it,” he wrote. “Everything I need is there.”

“Despite the current difficulties of strong swell and wind, it has become easier because the wind is pushing me towards the archipelago”, he wrote before adding: “Despite everything, I will absolutely not let go! “

Mr Savin, who turned 75 on the trip, was from the oyster-farming town of Arès in southwestern France. He was a former military paratrooper, pilot and ranger in Africa who did not settle quietly into his golden years.

At 71, Mr. Savin had already crossed the Atlantic solo four times.

In 2018, he crossed the Atlantic again, this time in an orange barrel-shaped capsule that he said he built himself. A New York Times report described the capsule, which was about 10 feet long and 6 feet 8 inches wide, as “smaller than a pickup truck and held upright by concrete ballast.”

He completed the journey in 127 days. In an interview afterwards, Mr Savin described his time at sea as “complete freedom”.

“It’s hard to convey,” he said. “Nobody tells you what to do. There are no rules. It’s freedom.

Although gifted and equipped with sophisticated navigation and communication tools, the journey was not without its challenges, he conceded. “Twice I almost collided with big ships,” he said.

But still, Mr. Savin found plenty of time to bask in the opportunities the sea presented him. He passed the time, he said, by reading, writing in his journal, swimming and diving under the barrel to catch fish.

“I had plenty of time to write my book,” he said. “I played a lot of bluegrass on my mandolin.”

William Lamb contributed report.