Sailing & The Ocean
Sailing is an integral part of Valheim, as you would expect for a game centered on Norse Mythology. When you make your first boat (or raft if you like), you’ll notice it has its own UI and controls.
You can check other Valheim guides:
- Valheim Admin Commands for Your Server
- Valheim Fishing Guide
- Valheim How to Build a Ship
- Valheim Dedicated Game Server Setup Guide
- Valheim How to Get StagBreaker
- Valheim FAQ: Questions & Answers for Beginners
- Valheim Cheats & Console Commands
It works precisely how you’d expect in terms of steering with driving logic (hold right = go right, instead of inverse for actual rudders).
You have three options for forward, and one for back. Tapping forward once gives you paddling, twice is half mast sail, three times is full mast. Backwards is paddling only. The wind plays in heavily when using your sail. The direction of the wind is important, and the more “behind” you the wind is (shown on the indicator on the left) the more power you’ll get forward. When the wind is in “front” of you, in the darkened area of the circle, you’re in a dead zone and will not gain speed from your sail. If you need to go in that direction, paddle.
The Ships: The raft specifically sucks, and rightly so. It’s pretty cheap and disposable, but without wind, it moves at a snail’s pace. The Karve moves pretty decently and is definitely better than walking if it’s not much different in terms of distance, even if you have to paddle a decent amount. It also comes with 4 storage slots. The Longship is, as it implies, long, and the fastest as well. It comes with quite a few storage slots, and is absolutely great.
Generally speaking, you’ll be ready to really make use of the seas around the time you’re ready, or nearly ready, to venture into the swamps. Going earlier is plausible, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
Not as terrifying as some games portray it, but ending up in the middle of the ocean without a boat is still a death sentence. But, hopefully that won’t happen to you. Out on the high seas, you can find Sea Serpents as well as Krakens.
Sea Serpents are hostile creatures that will attack you and/or your ship. They are long fish-like creatures that move quickly, and typically spawn during the night in stormy conditions. They drop a useful meat for food, and, if you can harpoon and drag them to shore so they don’t sink, scales which can make a very good shield if you get it early enough.
Krakens are inversely passive creatures, which do not attack. They are extremely large, and can be spotted quite easily once found. They look at first like an island, but bob with the waves and have strange growths on them called Abyssal Barnacles. They are 100% passive, and will not mind the player unless they begin to mine the abyssal barnacles, which is the only resource you can gain from them. The barnacles drop Chitin, which is used to make the harpoon for dragging creatures (like the serpent) around, as well as a very powerful backstab knife. After beginning to mine the barnacles however, the Kraken will soon submerge itself into the depths, so be sure you’re not short on stamina or too far from your boat once it starts getting ready to go.