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The Vasa was a Swedish warship launched in 1628. On its maiden voyage, it sailed not quite a mile from port and sank like a rock. It was rediscovered in the 1950s, almost entirely intact (the cannons had been salvaged in the 1700s).

You’ve probably heard of it, but a neat Twitter thread about it floated across my feed tonight, which led me to the museum’s official website. Well worth an hour’s happy browse, I say.

Hello! We survived Monday!


Comment from Mitchell
Time: July 30, 2019, 4:49 am

Ship was doomed by mismanagement and incompetence from the top down, finally ending with this: “An inquiry was organised by the Swedish Privy Council to find those responsible for the disaster, but in the end no one was punished.”

Absolutely perfect.

Comment from Durnedyankee
Time: July 30, 2019, 1:09 pm

Now, that’s not completely accurate – it didn’t just sink.
That gives people the impression they screwed up and it leaked or something!

Oh no, it’s better than that!
She heeled over, water flooded through the gun ports and down she went.
Top heavy – too much weight above the water line.
But, you have to admire how the museum has turned a total bajillion kroner boondoggle into a success story by pointing out the fact that we got a lot of history that would otherwise have been lost when they retired her, as they would, and the “harpies of the shore” eventually scrapped her.

This is personal for the male members of the clan.
One can’t build a “ship” without a keel and hull deep and wide enough to keep it upright. Discovered during our ‘ship building phase’ one summer in Maine.

Such useful information was helpfully provided by the old walruses of the family who’d served in the US Navy and Coast Guard.

Provided, interspersed with guffaws, AFTER we’d built it, launched it and watched it roll over.
Though when rememberd over beers, my next oldest brother swears one of the female line mumbled, “not enough keel to her” at one point prior to launch.

There was supposedly a lesson in there for us.
They were full of such lessons about the sea, sea faring, and “fightin Krauts and Japs”.

Several come instantly to mind:
There is no such device as a skyhook.
There is no such tool as a left handed screw driver or hammer.
There is no such rope as a ‘water line’ and the bosun’s mate will send you to engineering if you are foolish enough to ask him for it because they borrowed it and haven’t returned it.
You can’t hold a large ship away from the dock with your arms and you shouldn’t try (“red smear” was the term Grandfather Berry used)
and my personal favorite
You should swim away as fast and far as you can after your ship is torpedoed to avoid being sucked down with it when it goes under.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: July 30, 2019, 1:43 pm

Naval architecture and ship design simply hadn’t progressed enough in the early 17th century to the point where they could be confident that such a large ship would be seaworthy. I imagine some exchanges such as this might have taken place:

Rulers: Build us a honkin’ big warship! Put in lotsa guns!
Builder: But I’ve never built such a ship. I don’t know how.
Rulers: Build it anyway or we will demote you to oakum picker.
Builder: Well, if you put it that way…


Captain: Open up those gun ports!
Builder: If the ship heels over, that will let water in.
Captain: But the Rulers and lots of big-wigs are watching.
Builder: You want them to see the ship capsize and sink?
Captain: Hmm. Well, no, but I don’t want to seem timid.
Builder: I think I’ll go have a beer. In Denmark.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: July 30, 2019, 6:26 pm

OMG Weasel! Boris is headed your way, sorta, long way around via Wales


Boris Cheeekin Video!

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 30, 2019, 9:25 pm

Hahaha…my chicken FaceBook groups exploded with that picture, Durned.

No matter how I struggle to make my social media feed apolitical, something always happens…

Comment from J. S. Bridges
Time: August 2, 2019, 12:49 am

I have been privileged (in my view, anyway) to have been able to visit the Vasa Museum – in point of fact, my (late) spouse and I expended most of an entire day in touring the museum and the ship that is the sole, entire reason for the existence of the museum. It has been some time ago that we were there; however – it’s not as though the whole thing is going away anytime soon at all…

Anyway – it’s truly quite impressive (both the ship itself,and the museum, as well). So far as I am aware, it is the only “singular-subject” museum in the world, and the ship – due to a number of factors – was remarkably well-preserved while it was submerged, and it remains so to this day, so that it amounts to a literally encyclopedic artifact of ancient maritime history. When it sank, it went down with all sails set and with virtually all of the rigging, etc. intact.

The whole thing is quite fascinating, really…

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