Witness accounts from 1628 relate that Vasa had four sails raised at the time of the catastrophe. In all she could carry ten raised. After several years of work, conservators have been able to establish that what had been considered a pile of leaves was in fact the six sails which had not been hoisted.
In the exhibition the fore topgallant sail covers a whole wall. This was the smallest sail on the Vasa, 32 square metres, and as far as we know is the oldest surviving sail in the world. Five models of ships at sail, powerfully sculptured in copper, demonstrate the complicated manoeuvre of turning into the wind.
The exhibition includes a replica of the great platform from which the sails were worked, 17 metres above the deck, and you can try standing here at the same dizzy height looking down to the lowest levels of the museum.
Sail a ship
In a new part of the exhibition is a section for younger visitors, the Sail a Ship adventure, a computer-based activity that requires group cooperation.
Sail the ship by solving three tasks at three different stations - hauling an anchor, setting sails and steering with the whipstaff. Once all three stations are ready, the ship sails away and two shots are fired in quick succession - a so-called Swedish ransom.