In 1625 King Gustav II Adolf ordered four new warships, two large and two slightly smaller ones. The two large ships were named Vasa and Äpplet. The ship Vasa capsized on its maiden voyage, and was turned into what is today one of the most popular museums in the world. Äpplet was sunk off Vaxholm in 1659 to become part of an underwater barrier that would prevent the enemy from reaching Stockholm by sea. The museum's maritime archaeologists have now found Äpplet.
Length: 47,7 meter
Width: 12,6 meter
Shipwreck: 1659 (sänktes)
Ship type: Örlogsfartyg
As early as the mid-1500s, the Swedish navy began work on blocking a narrow strait off Vaxholm. During the 1600s, at least ten large Swedish warships were deliberately sunk on the site. One of them was Äpplet.
Äpplet was completed in 1629 by the shipbuilder Hein Jacobsson. He had completed Vasa the year before and suspected, even before the ship was launched, that Vasa had been built too narrow and was therefore likely to be unstable. So Äpplet was built wider, with a slightly different hull shape.
When Sweden joined the Thirty Years' War, Äpplet was among the ships sailing towards Germany. She had about 1,000 men on board, of which 900 were soldiers. Following the war, the ship was in active service until 1658. She was probably idle most of the time – larger ships were rarely used because they were expensive to maintain, inferior as sailing vessels and more difficult to manoeuver than smaller ships.
Äpplet was inspected in 1658 and deemed to be no longer in such condition that it would be worth repairing. The following year, she was sunk.
In 2021, together with the Swedish navy, the museum’s maritime archaeologists found a huge shipwreck in a strait outside Vaxholm, and investigations continued into the spring of 2022. Most of the hull is preserved up to the height of the lower battery deck and protrudes about 6-7 metres from the bottom of the sea. Parts of the ship's sides have fallen to the bottom but are relatively intact.
After compiling data on the ship's dimensions, construction details, wood samples and archival material, the museum’s archaeologists were able to establish that the wreck they had discovered was indeed Äpplet, Vasa's sister ship.
The oak for the ship’s timber was felled in 1627 in the Mälardalen area, east of Stockholm – in the same place as Vasa's timber just a few years earlier