Daily Event for August 10

1627: On her maiden voyage the Swedish galleon Vasa sailed out of Stockholm and promptly sank. The Vasa
was a magnificently ornate 64 gun warship. Built in Stockholm's Royal Dockyard she was 1,300 tons and 180 feet long. The problem was stability. She failed her stability test when the men running back and forth across her deck caused her to roll dangerously. However under political pressure she was ordered to sail anyway. As she left the safety of the harbor a gust of wind caused her to heel over far enough that the open gun ports began to taken in water.

She went down quickly taking between 30 and 50 of the 200 men on board with her. The Vasa settled upright in about 100 feet of water and remained there until she was discovered by Anders Franzén in 1956. The wreck was in an unbelievable state of preservation because of the conditions in the Baltic Sea. She was raised in 1961 and an astonishing 95% of the ship was recovered, excluding the cannons which were recovered in 1663. The Vasa is now located in a special museum built just for her in Stockholm. Restoration efforts are still underway.

© 2005 Michael W. Pocock