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In 1628, the warship Vasa set off from Gamla Stan, Stockholm’s old town, on its maiden voyage. The flagship of the Swedish fleet, designed to be the most powerful warship in the Baltic, the Vasa was 226ft (69 m) long, over 164ft (50 m) tall from keel to mast-top, and weighed over 1,200 tonnes including its ten sails, 64 cannons, and 120 tonnes of ballast.

The vessel travelled barely a half-nautical mile before heeling to port in a gust of wind. Water rushed in through the gun ports and the ship sank within minutes. A subsequent inquiry found nobody at fault—the Vasa was built according to the standards of the day, when mathematical calculations of stability weren’t available for another century. Today we know that the center of gravity was too high above the waterline, causing the ship to heel excessively even in light breezes.

The Vasa lay at the bottom for over three hundred years before being rediscovered in 1956 and raised in 1961, making headlines around the world. The ship now is on display at the Vasamuseet where it receives about 1.5 million visitors annually.

Below are trip highlights from July 5th, 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden. Click any image for a larger view, or click the position to view the location on a map. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at

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The 233 ft (71 m) superyacht Skat arriving into Helsinki. German shipyard Lurssen built the yacht for former Microsoft executive Charles Simonyi. The military-styled vessel bears the number 9906, the project number of the ship’s designer Espen Oeino.
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The massive and spectacular Vasa on display at the Vasamuseet, adjacent to Wasahamnen where Dirona is berthed. The person standing below on the right gives an idea of the size and scale of the ship.
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Vasa Stern
A view to the ornately carved stern of the Vasa includes a number of its 700 carved sculptures. The entire vessel, particularly the stern, would have been colorfully painted when it set sail.

The reconstructed ship is 98% original and was remarkably well-preserved for two reasons: the Baltic waters are too cold and fresh to support the shipworms that have destroyed wooden ships elsewhere in the world, and raw sewage dumped into the harbour for centuries had created a dead zone at the bottom, where even bacteria couldn’t live.

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Raising the Vasa
The Vasamuseet has many excellent displays, including a movie and several models showing how the Vasa was raised. In this model, the Vasa is visible through the water the third from the left, between the two red barges.
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An elaborate and detailed 1:10 scale model of the Vasa painted to show how the ship might have looked when it set sail in 1628.
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When we arrived at the Vasamuseet early this morning, nobody was in line. But when we left around noon, a queue ran out the door and up the road.
Show locations on map Click the travel log icon on the left to see these locations on a map, with the complete log of our cruise.

On the map page, clicking on a camera or text icon will display a picture and/or log entry for that location, and clicking on the smaller icons along the route will display latitude, longitude and other navigation data for that location. And a live map of our current route and most recent log entries always is available at


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4 comments on “Vasamuseet
  1. Eric Patterson says:

    I found it fascinating that they sent “Bell” divers to retrieve cannons and other valuable items and the danger they faced (such primitive methods). I am thinking also I hope the N60 is properly ballasted, would be a shame to lose it within sight of the slip at Dana Point… :)

  2. Al Alcalá says:

    I could spend all day at that museum. Interesting side note about the Vasa. If I remember my tour correctly, she was originally designed for one gun deck. Nearing the end of construction, the King of Sweden learned that Poland’s new flagship had more canons than the Vasa on a second deck. The king ordered a second deck of guns be added and the rest is history.

    • Yes, the lesson there for us engineers is “be careful blindly accepting customer requirements”. I can just see the discussion with the King: “it’s a war ship so let’s go with 2 decks of cannons rather than the single deck used by contemporary ships”. That gives it a high center of gravity. Then, “speed can win battles so let’s go with more sail area”. That makes the ship more vulnerable to swift changes in wind force.

      On paper, the ship is excellent but it only makes it a few hundred meters before a small gust of wind blows it far enough over that the canon ports take on water and sink the ship.

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