According to the rigging contract for the fleet of 1626, a ship the size of Vasa should have carried four anchors. We can positively identify three anchors which belong to the ship, and there are several candidates for a fourth. Archaeologically, the problem is that a large number of anchors were fastened into the ship in the fall of 1628 and spring of 1629 as part of the attempts to raise the ship, and these anchors are the same size as the smallest of Vasa's anchors should be. The three we can associate with the ship with certainty are all of approximately similar size, with shanks 4.00 to 4.54 meters long and weighing about 1500 kg. These are equipped with oak stocks made in two pieces treenailed together around the shank just below the head and an iron ring about 50 cm in diameter, covered with puddening. One of these anchors still had the cat block hooked in the ring when it was found. A detailed presentation of all of these anchors is part of the upcoming Vasa II publication, but for now here is an illustration of a generic reconstruction of this anchor type.
Hello, I'm researching on anchors on board XVI to XVIII century ships and I'm interested in the rigging contract for the fleet mentioned in the last answer: is there only the one of 1626 or any others? Have they been published anywhere? Thanks a lot for your reply. Fabrizio
There are similar contracts from earlier in the 1620s, which usually say the same things about anchors: how many anchors each class of ship should carry and how long the cables should be. The contracts themselves are not published, but I can provide the data and references if you need them.
Hi Fred, I'm reading your answer only now, I see that you answered me the same day I wrote, but the system didn't show it to me for many days and I stopped checking.... Thank you for proposing to provide the data, it will be very interesting to compare with other navies: for each class (of ship capacity?) the amount of anchors and if present their weight, as well as the number, length and weight of the cables. It would be also interesting to study the evolution - if any - in the different contracts. Any news about the book Vasa II ? I'm looking forward to read the chapter on anchors... Thank you Fabrizio
I am afraid that the contracts will not tell you as much as you would like to know. They only specify the number and length of anchor cables to be carried, nothing about the anchors themselves. I have a specific contract for the ship Tre Kronor of 1626 which indicates the weight of the anchor cables, but otherwise the Swedish records are not very detailed on this score. English inventories and specification books of the 17th century are much more detailed by comparison.
Hi Fred, I had too much expectations on old documents... Anyway if you can send me the data and references you have, they would be useful: a comparison is still possible with some similar data for the anchor cables of Spanish ships of the same period, besides the English examples you mentioned. Thanks a lot