In 1628, the Swedish warship Vasa set off on its maiden voyage from Stockholm harbor towards Poland, where a war was raging in the Baltic. Built by 400 craftsmen at the royal shipyard at Stockholm, the ship was richly decorated as a symbol of the king's ambitions for Sweden and himself. It was 69 meters long and was fitted with 64 cannons, and upon completion, it was of the most powerfully armed vessels in the world of that time. Unfortunately, Vasa was too top heavy and dangerously unstable. Despite the lack of stability, the king was eager to see her in battle and pushed her to sea. On the day of departure, a swelling crowd gathered at the harbor to watch the ship leave. Over a hundred crewmen along with women and children were on board as the crew was permitted to take family and guests along for the first part of the passage. After sailing just 1,300 meters, at the first strong breeze, the ship foundered, leaned over and sank. Around 30 people lost their lives.
This is the story of the Vasa and its parallels to software engineering.