Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sepia Saturday #198: The grand fiasco

This week's Saturday prompt was the launch of a boat; it was suggested we could write about "starting things" as well as anything else that caught the eye or fancy of the viewer. The photo was full of promise.

Just having returned from the Baltic, I thought of the many fascinating ship-related things we saw in the area.

In Sweden, we saw the salvaged boat, the VASA. It was intended by the King of Sweden to be the start of something new and it was huge -  the greatest battle ship ever to sail for the Swedish navy. Unfortunately, the mighty Vasa, on her maiden voyage, traveled for one mile, staggered under a gust of wind, heeled over and promptly sank. They aptly call the incident, the Grand Fiasco.

Despite the fact that she was fatally designed, she's breath-taking to see almost 4 centuries later.  People in Stockholm refer to it affectionately as "the wreck. Redemption is hers because it's now one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. What loot she didn't carry her soldiers and sailors to in war, she now collects for the country in the museum gift shop. I wonder what the carpenters and boatbuilders who created her would think if they were told of the mighty war ship's ultimate fate?

Actually many of the builders knew the boat wasn't sea-worthy but nobody could could muster up the guts to pass the word up the line that a fiasco was in the making. "Not my job." And in those days I think they still "killed the messenger". The boat was a beautiful thing with the stern covered with carved animals painted in bright colors. Pigments weren't readily available in those days and people lived in a gray, brown world. The sight of this huge beautiful ship with all the color and dazzle would have done half it's job with the good PR for the King it would have generated. I'm guessing everyone in the know just had their fingers crossed that there might be a better outcome that there was. Doesn't that sound familiar?

Replica showing the Grand Fiasco as she met her fate

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