French adventurer, 75, dies attempting solo row across Atlantic

A French adventurer who was attempting to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean was found dead inside his boat on Saturday, his team said.

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Jean-Jacques Savin, 75, had sent out distress signals over the past few days, The Washington Post reported. His death was announced by friends on a Facebook page that had been following his voyage.

The Portuguese coast guard found the boat, named “l’Audacieux’ (The Audacious), overturned near the Azores on Friday and sent a diver on Saturday, according to the newspaper.

Savin’s body “was found lifeless inside the cabin,” The Guardian reported.

“Unfortunately, this time the ocean was stronger than our friend, who loved sailing and the sea so much,” according to the Facebook post.

Had he been successful, Savin would have been the oldest person to have rowed across the Atlantic solo, the Post reported. The current Guinness World Record holder is Graham Walters, who last rowed across the Atlantic in April 2020 at age 72.

Savin activated his distress beacons Thursday night and into Friday, CNN reported, citing a statement by his team. An earlier statement from his daughter, Manon Savin, was posted to his Facebook page, saying that the beacons signaled a situation of “great difficulty.”

The former soldier left the southern tip of Portugal on Jan. 1 on the westward voyage he believed would take about three months, the BBC reported. He celebrated his 75th birthday last week with foie gras and champagne, the news outlet reported.

Savin successfully crossed the Atlantic in 2019, floating 2,930 miles in a bright orange barrel-shaped vessel in a journey that took 127 days, the Post reported. He celebrated his 72nd birthday on that trip.

He also crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat, ascended Mont Blanc and swam across the Arcachon Bay in France four times, according to his project’s website.