Wasa 1628

‘Wasa’ (or Vasa)

Ship’s History

She is a Swedish warship built between 1626 and 1628, with 1200 tonnes displacement, on the orders of the King of Sweden Gustavus Adolphus. Richly decorated as a symbol of the king’s ambitions for Sweden and himself. Upon completion, with an overall length of 69- and 52 meters height, she was one of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world. However, hardly ten years later exceeded by the famous English warship ‘Sovereign of the Seas’ having a displacement of 1522 tonnes. (Which I am building now)

The Wasa foundered into her maiden voyage on 10 August 1628 and was salvaged 333 years later with a largely intact hull in 1961. Conservation was carried out by impregnation with polyethylene glycol (PEG), a method that has since become the standard treatment for large, waterlogged wooden objects, such as the 16th-century English ship Mary Rose. She is in the Vasa Museum in Stockholm.

Thousands of artifacts and the remains of at least 15 people were found in and around Wasa’s hull. Among the many items found were clothing, weapons, cannons, tools, coins, cutlery, food, drink and six of the ten sails. The artifacts and the ship herself have provided scholars with invaluable insights into details of naval warfare, shipbuilding techniques and everyday life in early 17th-century Sweden.

Causes of sinking

The reason for sinking is that the distribution of mass in the hull structure and the ballast, guns, provisions, and other objects loaded on board puts too much weight too high in the ship. Further, the ship was finished with heavy 24-pounders on both decks, and this may also have contributed to poor stability. Too late – Captain Söfring Hansson had ordered the lower gundeck ports to be closed once the ship began to take on water, but by then it was too late. If he had done it before he sailed, Wasa might not have sunk on that day.

The model

This ship is build with wax brass castings, walnut and lime, brass and walnut fittings and etched brass details.

Model dimensions

Overall Length1180 mm
Hull Length1030 mm
Maximum Width420 mm
Hull Width80 mm
Height940 mm