July 7, 2022

Jean-Jacques Savin: what we know about the adventurer’s disappearance at sea

He was trying to row across the Atlantic alone. But his canoe was found drifting off the Azores archipelago. Jean-Jacques Savin, 75, is still missing. Update on the disappearance of this Girondin adventurer who has not given any sign of life since Friday and whose fate is still uncertain.

The last contact

It all starts last Friday. Leaving Sagres (Portugal) on January 1, Jean-Jacques Savin, who aims to become “the oldest rower in Atlantic crossings” triggers his distress beacons and announces that he is “in great difficulty” in the north of Madeira, as it is en route to the island of Ponta Delgada, in the Azores archipelago, for a technical stopover. before turning off the contact. “Unfortunately, since 12:34 a.m. (Friday), we have no longer had any contact or any demonstration on his part,” lamented his relatives on Saturday morning.

Adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin's canoe was found upside down. (Portuguese Navy)
Adventurer Jean-Jacques Savin’s canoe was found upside down. (Portuguese Navy)

At dawn on Friday, a merchant ship that was near the area where the beacons are triggered approaches and discovers the Audacieux canoe. The boat returned. No one is on board, say the crew members.

The mess around the disappearance

In the search area, the sailors of the merchant ship fish out a waterproof pouch. Inside, “the navigator’s identification documents”, specifies the Portuguese navy. The latter then announced to those close to the Girondin that he “was found lifeless inside the cabin of his canoe”.

But on Sunday, the Portuguese Navy is much less categorical. The authorities then explain that during the rescue operation the rescuers had “strong reasons to believe that a body could be inside”. But that is ultimately not the case. “The search ended (Saturday) at the end of the day without it being possible to find the victim”, communicate the Portuguese authorities.

“There have been some confusions that we are currently trying to clear up. We don’t know any more. We are awaiting information from the Portuguese authorities,” said Jean-Jacques Savin’s team. A relative regrets: “The communication made by the Portuguese authorities is not the same version as the day before”.

What research device?

On land, in the air, the search was immediately launched last Friday. “Everything was immediately implemented in coordination with the French, Portuguese and American sea rescue services”, says the adventurer’s team. But they were suspended on Saturday. Sunday, Manon, the daughter of Jean-Jacques Savin announces that she has no more information from the Portuguese navy.

Who is Jean-Jacques Savin?

A former military paratrooper, ex-private pilot and curator of a national park in Africa, he is a fighter determined to “taunt old age”. Already in 2019, he had spent more than four months in a barrel-shaped boat three meters long and 2.10 m in diameter to reach the Antilles pushed by the winds and currents.

This time, the challenge was to row across the Atlantic aboard the Audacieux. Originally from Arès, in the Arcachon basin (Gironde), the septuagenarian set sail from Portugal on January 1. An adventure that he regularly leafs through on his Facebook page, which he describes as a “logbook”. Last Wednesday, however, Jean-Jacques Savin warns: he is encountering technical problems and has to make a stopover to repair his boat in the Azores.

The backpacker describes the “strong swell and the force of the wind” and writes: “It costs me physical energy. But he assures her: “Don’t worry, I’m not in danger! (…) despite all this, I absolutely do not give up! »