Sailing and boat controls in Valheim

Keep your eyes on the horizon.

Valheim features a massive world for you to explore. You can explore quite a bit of it on foot, but eventually, you’re going to encounter a lot of water, which means you’ll have to build a raft or one of the larger boats. The sea is just as dangerous as land. The first step to surviving this dangerous challenge is learning how to sail your vessel, and it can be a little complicated.

How to sail

You can craft a sea worthy vessel by making a raft, or a karve. If you want to explore large gaps of water, we highly recommend reserving your resources and crafting bronze nails to make a karve. It’s well worth the effort, far more durable than the raft, and significantly faster.

When you have your ship, jump into it, and look for the rudder. Interact with it, and you’ll be able to maneuver your ship. The main trick with your ship is to focus on the wind. On the right side of your screen, you’ll see a yellow ship, surrounded by a circle. The yellow area of that circle is the ideal location you want the wind the blow based on the direction you’re going. Both the ideal locations and the wind will change while you’re sailing. You can use the ‘a’ key to move to the left and the ‘d’ key to go to the right. By pressing the ‘w’ key, you will lower the sail. If the wind is blowing against your ship in the non-ideal location, keep your sail down. The larger ships will blowback and make less progress while sailing.

It takes a bit of practice to master it. Make sure whenever your ship is docked, your sail is pulled up and not exposed. It’s easy to slowly drift away from the shore, forcing you to make a new one or attempt to swim out to bring it back to shore.