Whipstaff and Helmsman: an Account of the Steering Gear of the Vasa

By Olof Pipping, published February 2000


The Vasa, lost in August 1628 in Stockholm harbour and raised in 1961, has provided some unique possibilities to study various technical systems of seventeenth century ships.  This paper looks at the parts of the whipstaff gear that were found aboard the Vasa, how they relate to the steering system and the function of individual parts. The overall efficiency of this type of steering is examined as is the likely manoeuvrability of the ship.

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Filed under: Baltic | Early Modern
Subjects include: Archaeology | Historic Vessels, Museums & Restoration | Ship Handling & Seamanship | Shipbuilding & Design

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