Monday, January 31, 2022


 30 January 2022: Our loyal readers might recall a post we put up about two years ago concerning a French adventurer - retired from the military - who crossed the Atlantic Ocean drifting in a barrel. He made it and apparently decided that adventure was not enough to "get his juices flowing" so he decided to do it again, this time, rowing!

He didn't make it.



A 75-year-old Frenchman attempting to row across the Atlantic “to laugh at old age” has been found dead in his cabin at sea, his support team said.

Portuguese coast guards found Jean-Jacques Savin’s overturned boat off the archipelago of the Azores on Friday.


They sent a diver down on Saturday to search it, his team added, but the former paratrooper’s body “was found lifeless inside the cabin”.

The avid triathlete set off from the southern tip of mainland Portugal on 1 January, but there had been no contact with him since overnight Thursday to Friday when he activated two distress beacons.

It was just his latest adventure after crossing the Atlantic alone in a custom-built barrel in 2019, a 127-day trip followed by thousands on Facebook.

Savin was hoping again to reach the Caribbean, this time in a rowing boat eight metres long and 1.7 metres wide, with a rowing station at its centre.

His team earlier on Saturday said they were “very worried”.

“We haven’t heard from him since 00:34 yesterday (Friday) morning,” they said, adding that he had activated “two distress beacons, telling us he was ‘in great difficulty’”.

His daughter in a Facebook post said a search operation “was immediately set in motion in coordination with the French, Portuguese and US sea rescue services”.

He was last heard from north of Madeira, Portuguese islands off the north-west coast of Africa, on his way to Ponta Delgada in the Azores.

Shortly after leaving on 1 January, unfavourable wind conditions had forced Savin to extend his trip by 900km (550 miles).

On Wednesday, he had reported “strong swell and ... wind” on Facebook, adding that he had been forced to switch from using an electric water desalinator to a backup one operated by hand.

“It’s costing me physical energy,” he wrote. But “be assured I am not in danger”.

Savin, who said rowing across the Atlantic was a way to “laugh at old age”, celebrated his 75th birthday on Friday last week on board his two-cabin boat.

He had set off with 300kg (660lbs) of equipment, including freeze-dried food, a spear gun to fish and a heater, as well as the two desalinators.

To celebrate his birthday, he had also brought along his mandolin, foie gras and champagne.

“I’m off on holiday to the open sea,” he had said before leaving.

“I will row eight hours a day and when the wind blows too hard, I’ll close myself in,” he said.


Sometimes, it's better to quit while you're ahead!

Until next time,

                                           Fair winds, 

                                              Old Salt

Sunday, January 23, 2022


 23 January 2022: Can you believe that January is almost over? Where does the time go! And this cold weather sweeping across the United States is horrible; even in Florida it's very cool and wetter than normal. Not so sure about this "global warming" we keep hearing about! Seems colder to me!

54 years ago, 23 January 1968, the USS Pueblo (GER 2), an essentially unarmed navy intelligence ship, was captured in international waters by the North Korean navy and the crew held captive for eleven months. Here is the story of that from



The US Navy's 2nd-oldest commissioned ship has been held hostage by North Korea for 54 years

  • On January 23, 1968, North Korea seized USS Pueblo, an unarmed US Navy surveillance ship.
  • Pueblo is still commissioned as an active ship in the US Navy, but it's still being held by North Korea.
  • Pyongyang has turned it into a piece of propaganda, exhibiting it in the Victorious Fatherland Liberation War Museum.

·       Between 1966 and 1969, the United States was increasingly engaged in South Vietnam, but a few thousands miles away, US troops were still fighting in the previous war.

On the Korean Peninsula, North Korea was becoming increasingly bold, firing on American soldiers. Sporadic engagements with the North had occurred along the DMZ since the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War. This time was different, however, as North Korean attacks began to involve thousands of US troops. It was the closest North and South Korea came to another Korean War. North Korea ambushed American units along the border and even infiltrated South Korea in an attempt to kill the president of South Korea at the Blue House, the presidential residence. Then, on January 23, 1968, North Korea seized the USS Pueblo, an unarmed US Navy surveillance ship operating in international waters. North Korean gunboats, torpedo boats and MiG-21 fighters chased down the Pueblo, killing one sailor and capturing 82 others. The officers and crew of the Pueblo were held and tortured for 11 months. They underwent physical and mental therapy after their release.

North Korean soldiers view USS Pueblo

Kim Il-Sung's plan completely backfired. Not only did the capture of the Pueblo draw international ire for the North Korean regime, the American military increased its presence on the Korean Peninsula.

As his administration attempted to negotiate for the release of the Pueblo crew, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent six aircraft carriers to Korea, along with massive reserve reinforcements and sent $100 million in military aid to upgrade South Korea's armed forces. But Johnson wanted to avoid another war in Korea, as the US military was stretched thin in Vietnam and elsewhere. Just days after the Pueblo was captured, the massive Tet Offensive began. North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong soldiers launched a series of coordinated attacks all over South Vietnam.

Most of the assaults on American and South Vietnamese positions either failed or were retaken quickly, but communist holdouts would linger for months after.  

The United States admitted the Pueblo intruded into North Korean territory, but only to secure the release of the Pueblo sailors. After their release in December 1968 and to this day, the US government still maintains the ship was in international waters.would not be recaptured until March 1968.


And still she sits, still a US navy commissioned vessel, and a major tourist attraction in North Korea. Be sure to stop by when you visit Pyongyang!

Until next time, 

                                           Fair Winds,

                                                 Old Salt



Sunday, January 16, 2022


 16 January 2022: Last week we offered a post on the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, and this week, courtesy of the British Daily Mail news, we offer a story about the oldest commissioned warship in the world. Period. HMS Victory. Admiral Lord Nelson's iconic flagship from the world changing Battle of Trafalgar in October of 1805. She sits in drydock and is truly a sight to behold and tour. She is finally getting a well deserved rehab.



A £35 million conservation project to renovate HMS Victory which will include replacing rotting planks has been announced on the 100th anniversary of the warship being brought into dry dock. HMS Victory being taken in tow by steam tug dry dock no. 2 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard 100 years ago in January 1922

Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's flagship was brought into dry dock 2 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard 100 years ago.


It has stayed there as the world's oldest commissioned warship and the flagship of the First Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff. 

A dockyard spokeswoman said that dry dock 2, which is 220 years old, is itself a scheduled ancient monument.

She said: 'One hundred years ago today, on January 12 1922, the world watched as Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's celebrated survivor from the Battle of Trafalgar was towed from her berth in Portsmouth Harbour and secured into the dry dock.

'First floated out at Chatham in 1765, Victory enjoyed a varied career but by the 1920s was in poor condition and at risk of sinking at her mooring without considerable intervention.

'Later in 1922, on October 21st, Trafalgar Day, the 'Save the Victory' campaign by the Society for Nautical Research was publicly launched and continues to play a hugely significant role in securing the world-famous flagship for posterity.

'Although Victory had been a popular tourist attraction when berthed in the harbour throughout the 19th century, she was opened as a museum ship to the public by King George V on July 17 1928 and has since welcomed more than 30 million visitors.

'Since then, she has welcomed a host of famous visitors including royalty at dinners and balls, and survived a 500lb bomb dropped by the German Luftwaffe during the Second World War. 

'The dry dock itself is now part of a greatly enhanced visitor offer for Victory which, in addition to a self-guided tour of the ship, now includes the chance to descend into the dry dock under the enormous hull on a dedicated walkway, weaving through the recently completed and new state-of-the-art support system.'

Victory has been undergoing a 20-year period of conservation including recently having its mast removed, with the next stage of works now being unveiled.

The spokeswoman said: 'Rotting planking will be removed from the hull and replaced with new oak, repairs made to the ship's structural framework, and she will be fully re-rigged, in a process lasting 10 to 15 years and costing £35 million.

'The project will provide visitors with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see beneath Victory's skin and experience a first-rate line-of-battle ship being taken through a great repair.'

HMS Victory first floated out from the Old Single Dock in Chatham's Royal Dockyard on May 7 1765.

During 206 years in service she would gain recognition for leading fleets in the American War of Independence, the French Revolutionary War and the Napoleonic War.

HMS Victory is renowned for being the flagship of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson, Britain's most celebrated naval leader, fighting in the defeat of the French and the Spanish at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

However, her service was not to end here - in 1808 she was recommissioned to lead the fleet in the Baltic, but four years later she was relegated to harbour service - serving as a residence, flagship and tender providing accommodation.

In 1922 she was saved for the nation and placed permanently into dry dock where she remains today, visited by 25 million visitors as a museum of the sailing navy and the oldest commissioned warship in the world. 

The HMS Victory currently in dry dock in Portsmouth is the sixth ship to bear the name after five previous ships did so.

Of these, the first two were broken up and rebuilt, two were destroyed by fire and the fifth sank in 1744.

The current HMS Victory was launched in 1759 and commissioned in 1778.

It was used in two battles on the French island of Ushant in 1778 and 1780 as well as the battle of Cape St Vincent near Portugal in 1797.

However its decisive role came in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, under the captaincy of Vice-Admiral Nelson who was fatally wounded on board during the conflict.

The ship was taken out of service in 1812 and remained in Portsmouth Harbour until 1922, when it was moved into the Royal Naval Dockyard amid fears for its deteriorating condition. 


As this project is scheduled to take up to 15 years, we will most likely not be reporting its completion in this blog, but should anything further develop, we will report it to you!

Until next time,

                                      Fair winds, 

                                                Old Salt