Prosper, 1865

Hatch from the outside. Photo by Anders Fransson.

The Swedish top sail schooner Prosper was a small merchant ship belonging to Johan Tillberg in Falsterbo, Ssouth Sweden. On a rough November day in 1865 she was approaching the straits of Spårösund, near Västervik, Sweden. Unfortunately Prosper had no pilot onboard this day.

At the strait's entrance the customs boat was waiting to board the ship. For some reason Prosper failed to reduce sails before entering the narrow passage. The customs officers witnessed how the ship smashed against the rocks on one side of the passage. The ship's side was demolished, but the ship just kept going in the strong wind. After some distance however, Prosper started to sink.

Photos from the deck by Ingemar Lundgren.

The small customs boat saved five crew members, but the swell of the sinking ship pulled down the overloaded rowing boat. One man drowned and the rest managed to swim ashore.

The wreck is nowdays a popular diving object, that can be reached from land. The hull is very well preserved thanks to the brackish water of the Baltic Sea. It is in one piece and standing on 15-20 m depth. The masts have been removed but the bowsprit is in place, as well as rails, deck and hatches.

Hatch from the inside. Photo by Anders Carlswärd.

Like all wrecks older than 100 years, the Prosper is legally protected. You may look, but not touch anything! If you want to dive on the Prosper you can contact the local scuba club in Västervik, address from the Swedish Underwater Federation.

Per Åkesson, Nov 1998

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All photos are used by kind permission. Any publishing requires the photographers' consent.

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