‘Applet’: The Missing Piece Of The Swedish Shipbuilding Puzzle

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  • The Swedish Museum of Wrecks announced on Monday that they found the long lost sister vessel of the 17th century warship “Vasa”.
  • The Shipwreck was discovered on the island of Vaxholm, outside of Stockholm.
  • The designer made Applet wider than her doomed sister ‘vasa’ after realizing that its proportions could lead to instability.

The Swedish Museum of Wrecks announced on Monday that archaeologists have discovered the long-lost sister vessel of the iconic 17th-century warship “Vasa,” which sank on its maiden voyage, reported by CBS News.

Massive discovery

The 225-foot “Vasa,” which was salvaged in the 1960s, was built by the same shipbuilder as “Applet” (The Apple), which was launched in 1629.

“When we saw how similar the wreck was to Vasa, our pulses raced,” said Jim Hansson, maritime archaeologist at the museum, which posted video and images of the shipwreck on its website and on social media.

According to the museum, the massive shipwreck was discovered in December in a strait off the island of Vaxholm, just outside Stockholm.

Hansson stated that the construction and dimensions appeared very familiar, raising the possibility that it was one of Vasa’s sister ships.

Key details

While some of the ship’s sides had fallen off, the hull had been preserved up to the lower gundeck, and the parts that had fallen off revealed two levels of gunports.

In the spring of 2022, a more thorough survey of the wreck was conducted, revealing ship details previously only seen on the Vasa.

According to the museum, technical details, measurements, and wood samples confirmed that it was “indeed Applet, Vasa’s sister ship.”

There is now a diving ban in the area where the wreck is located. The same museum reported the discovery of two more warships in the same area in 2019.

Investigating and rescuing

Archaeologists thought one of them was Applet, but further investigation revealed that those vessels were two medium-sized warships named “Apollo” and “Maria” from 1648.

Shipbuilding development

“With ‘Applet,’ we can add another critical piece to the puzzle of Swedish shipbuilding development,” Hansson said, adding that this allowed researchers to study the differences between Applet and Vasa.

“This will help us understand how large warships evolved, from the unstable Vasa to seaworthy behemoths that could control the Baltic Sea — a decisive factor in Sweden’s emergence as a great power in the 1600s,” another maritime archaeologist at the museum, Patrik Hoglund, said.

“Vasa,” named after one of Sweden’s kings, was intended to be a symbol of Sweden’s military might but capsized after just over 1,000 yards. 

It was rescued in 1961 and is now on display at Stockholm’s Vasa Museum, one of Sweden’s most popular tourist destinations.

Unstable design

According to the museum, Hein Jakobsson, the designer of both ships, realized that Vasa’s proportions could lead to instability even before she was launched, so he built Applet wider than her doomed sister.

Battleship history

According to the museum, when Sweden joined the Thirty Years’ War, Applet was among the ships sailing towards Germany with about 1,000 men on board. The ship was declared unseaworthy after the war.

“Applet was sunk off Vaxholm in 1659 to become part of an underwater barrier that would prevent the enemy from reaching Stockholm by sea,” according to the museum.

The same shipwright also built two other ships, Kronan (the Crown) and Scepter, both of which served in the Swedish navy and fought in naval battles.

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Source: CBS News

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