Dianne Leggatt, supported by Rob Mazza, described the history of the Swedish battleship "Vasa". A military showpiece, it nevertheless broached and sank on its maiden voyage, a scant 1300 metres from its launching point. About 20 sailors died on the ship, and many of the others were rescued by the flotilla of smaller craft celebrating the launch.
A recovery effort later in the 1600s retrieved the valuable brass cannons that sank with the Vasa, after which she sat on the bottom of Stockholm harbour for more than three centuries. The precise location of the wreck was forgotten until it was discovered in 1956.
The discovery of the ship revealed that it was in magnificent condition, preserved by dark, cold water of a chemistry that prevented the wood being consumed by parasites. While the wood survived well, all the iron that had fastened the parts of the hull was long gone through corrosion.
An ambitious recovery and restoration was begun, and indeed still continues today. While the Vasa can be seen in the Vasa Museum, its planks are gradually decaying through acidification. Eventually -- not soon -- the Vasa will lose much of its remaining innate structural integrity and efforts are proceeding to mitigate its decline.
The Incredible Story of Sweden's Vasa Warship
Joshua Hanlon explains how the pride of Sweden's 17th century fleet sank less than an hour after it set sail in this well-shot video.
Gorgeous Decay: The Second Death of the Swedish Warship Vasa
An article describing the preservation challenges facing the Vasa
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