The captain’s guide to galleons in Sea of Thieves

The original concept of Sea of Thieves was just about galleons. Rare added the sloops later, because the request for it was very high. While sloops are fun and relaxing, galleons are where the game asks you and your crew to work in a much more complex way together. Because of the bigger size of this ship, there are more positions and tasks to fulfill.

Since I prefered captaining galleons and had success in standing up to its challenges, I would like to share my tips, tricks and maneuvers to become a successful captain or crew member of the galleon. More detailed guides on things like personal combat can be found here!


  • Guides are more like guidelines, than actual rules.

  • Take them as advice and find your own way to success and fun with it!


There are different ways to approach the idea of playing as a team in Sea of Thieves. While the more relaxed players prefer to go with the Partyboat, there is also the option to play on a way more serious and performance oriented way. What works best for you depends on you alone as a player. We want to present our ideas about this approach, which we call Ruleboat and the mix of both, the Halfruleboat.


Shotcallers are very common in PvP based games like i.e. League of Legends. Some people prefer to play with very dominant captains, because it has proven to be better in other games. What he says is rule and must immediately be done. We made a list of roles, which are mostly given by the captain on the go. Of course it is smart to be aware of the strengths of each crew member.


Since these are no rules, you can choose whatever your crew feels comfortable with. Halfruleboats may have captains, but they go with a more relaxed style.On this boat, you will still try to progress or at least do some missions, but you are not going for first Pirate Legend or anything like that. It is the middle ground that will appeal to most players.


Partyboats are the opposite of Ruleboats, meaning that they put a higher focus on fun and rum. Sea of Thieves gives player the option to play this way, so make sure to use it! Whether trying to make an alliance with other crews, steal their bananas, sing some shanties, play hide and seek or just to enjoy the scenery the Partyboat will ensure you have a good time. Make sure your crew is aware of this playstyle, as it can be frustrating for others if they actually want to progress in-game.


  • Nobody is forcing you to give fixed roles to your crew or yourself, but in most cases it’s way more effective. If everyone is looking out for everything, it’s either not working at all or extremely loud! Surely you can swap these roles on the fly if you ask your mateys.
  • Most roles are spread across multiple players and ask you to take more than one role or might not even be necessary at all. This depends very much on the playstyle of your crew. A lot of people don’t like it if someones wants to be the shotcaller or similar, so make sure to check if everyone is alright with it first!

Captain (Shotcaller)

  • You might be the shotcaller on your ship, but try to be nice anyway!
  • Probably the most important role on the galleon. Picking that role should almost always be decided by two questions: “Who do you trust?” and “Whos the most experienced player at Sea of Thieves or any other naval ship game?”.
  • This might be a strange tip, but stay cool. No matter what the situation is like, try to stay calm and cool-headed, it will not only improve your gameplay by a lot, it might even calm the rest of your crew. This also involves not being toxic and not insulting people or even your own crew in voice or so. It’s a non-competitive game, you don’t lose any ranking when you die or sink, so use that opportunity to have some fun.
  • Don’t be silent! Especially in combat situations it’s your job to react to the enemy’s behaviour, so tell your team what you are planning to do.


  • Your job is to control the ships movement.
  • This role is mostly being taken by the captain, but that’s up to you and your crew.
  • Try to understand the way ships move – it’s rarely on islands.
  • On top of the steering wheel is a golden handle, indicating the middle of the wheel. On galleons the wheel can be turned two times to the left and right. Count it!
  • Whether or not you are the captain, you might or might not do the calls for the length and angle of the sails. Understanding how they work and how they wont within the next moments is key to getting the maneuver you want to do.


  • This role is nearly only useful in out of combat situations.
  • Your job is to help the helmsman move the ship around the world.
  • Be wary of your surrounding! Talk to your helmsman. Depending on light, angle/length of the sails and weather, there are a few things that are very hard to see from the point of view of the steering wheel.
  • Learning all the islands might seem a bit tryhard, but it could be worth it. After you have spent some time in the game this will come naturally.

Other roles

  • Of course you can come up with your own roles, but the previously named ones are very common. You could name someone for repairs, boarding, cannons and the crows nest, but this can bring you in adverse situations.

Simple strategies

Let us start with a few simple ideas. We split them up into the different parts of the ship so you have a better overview.


  • Lowering the enemy anchor and locking them in place can turn the fight into a completely different direction, if your helmsman can bring you in the right position.
  • That of course also means, that you should protect your own, sometimes even at all cost! So never forget that it’s possible to hold a falling anchor and ask for help.
  • Don’t always drop the anchor. We all know that the sound is amazing. But it makes you very vulnerable, since you mostly only leave one guy behind on the ship, if you go on an island.
  • Anchorturns are risky but can give you the necessary edge in a fight. Keep in mind, that the helmsman can adjust the turn, depending on your speed and the angle of the steering wheel. Tell him, when you drop it!
  • Never anchorturn if you don’t have a coordinated crew. It doesn’t end well.
  • If your anchor is lowered it might cost you the ship if the enemy crew is in a position where they can freely continue shooting at you. Make sure to get moving again and repair then instead of just fixing holes until you run out of resources!
  • Stop pulling backwards!


  • Use the sails. I still see way too many players not taking advantage of them. This does not only mean keeping them in the wind as good as possible, but also lifting and lowering them during a fight.
  • Lifting your sails makes your turns way faster and tighter. Don’t be afraid to lift your sails while doing a turn, especially against sloops. It helps a bit with negating the natural advantage they have.
  • Sometimes it’s more important to do sails than repairs. Problems are generally easier fixed by fighting the cause, not the effect. Getting out of the firing range of the enemy makes repairing much faster!
  • Consider assigning a sail to each person. Especially while chasing an enemy this might be the key advantage.
  • If you are playing with a random crew consider lifting the middle sail up a bit so the helmsman is able to see properly.


  • Cannons in Sea of Thieves are pretty hard to master.
  • Aim for the topdeck of the ship to get rid of the enemy crew – oneshots are not as rare as you might think.
  • Aim below the waterline to sink hostile ships.
  • Don’t underestimate the possibility to shoot your crew to the enemy ship. Lowering the anchor of the enemy ship is extremely dangerous for them, especially if their helmsman doesn’t react to it.
  • Always keep in mind: Resources are never to be wasted. Even if you do hit a long range shot, the likelihood of doing another one is pretty low and one shot doesn’t sink them. It might not even cost them a plank, because you “just” hit the topdeck.
  • With that being said, especially if you are new to the game, wait for a good opportunity to get a good angle and put 2-3 members on the cannons, then board them.

Steering wheel

  • If the captain is likely to be the most important role on the ship, the steering wheel might be the most important part of it.
  • Your capability and that of the enemy ship’s helmsman determine not only where the fight will happen, but also how many holes your crew has to fix before you can board them or even miss them completely by sailing uselessly past their stern, ending up on their broadside since they slowed down their ship and did an anchorturn, because you didn’t properly react to their sails.
  • Thinking ahead of enemy ships can be vital. Your turn radius can be your own death – don’t end up with your back or head at their broadside.
  • Like mentioned before: Communicate with your crew to do anchorturns in the right situation. You are the one that controls the angle your ship will take, before its going to lock in place.


  • Especially while the game is still new, you will win a lot of fights just by communicating properly. If everyone in the crew just gives a quick shout when someone is boarding you or when they die, when they go to repair and when they can’t repair and so on, you are going to work together a lot better.


Now that we have the basics of the way, let’s get to the different parts of combat. Going In-Depth on maneuvers isn’t really going to help much because every fight is different in Sea of Thieves. Instead, we’ll give you a general idea of what to do in most situations. Keep in mind that mixing these approaches is more complicated, but can give you a significant advantage.

Attacking by boarding

  • Blunderbuss and cutlass are very strong weapons in close quarters
  • There are a number of ways to go with this style. Keep in mind, that you always need gunpowder if you didn’t shoot them before boarding, unless your crew is going to help you out with some cannonballs
  • Gunpowder barrel carriers  always need to keep distance to the rest of the boarding party!
  • Defend the holes inside the enemy ship. Preventing them from repairing is a very good way to sink an enemy. Running and eating their bananas is very effective and fun!
  • Getting boarded is a very uncomfortable situation, especially for unorganized crews. Run around, drop their anchor, steal their resources and cause as much confusion as you can.
  • You like personal combat? Read our guide!

Attacking by cannonfire

  • After reading the “Cannons”-part above and a bit of practice, shooting them shouldn’t be the problem anymore. Getting into a good position is.
  • Running in SoT is, like in most games with an open PvP system, easier than attacking.
  • Turn your lamps off and try to not attract any attention. Don’t sail directly towards them. Get your sails up, so you stop at a good position to shoot them, while they can’t shoot back. Stopping at their front to cut their escape path is very often a good idea.
  • Attacking a moving ship is much harder. As a general idea: Try to predict their movement and cut the curves they are sailing.

Defending against boarding

  • You can hear a little “Splash” sound when someone emerges from the water/grabs your ships ladder. Get used to this sound and you won’t get sneakily boarded again. Once you figure it out it’s quite easy to hear and kill every intruder with a good blunderbuss shot as soon as they peak on your ship.
  • Stay calm. It might be best to focus on steering while an enemy is downstairs or you might need to raise the anchor quickly. Make sure to kill intruders as soon as possible but don’t forget the rest.

Defending against a ship

  • If the enemy ship is coming towards you, don’t engage! Defending is, in most cases, much easier. Get your sails up and turn on them with your broadside. Put 3-4 people at the cannons and get a massive advantage before the fight even starts. Most people will just try to ram and board you.

Galleon vs sloops

    • Sloops are not only faster if you sail directly into the wind, they can turn much faster and have less draft. Chasing good sloops as a galleon is very hard and in most cases requires a lot of experience and prediction.
    • Try to get as close to the sloop as possible, since you have the numbers advantage.
    • Watch your anchor and try to get their anchor lowered. If this requires shooting one of your crew on an island so he can reach them it might be justified.
    • Work your sails properly and you will eventually catch up. Most sloops you encounter in the first weeks after launch won’t be aware of many escaping techniques.

Thanks a lot for reading!

We hope we did a good job at giving you an overview of how the galleon could roughly be played. We will be posting some more in-depth guides about some of the topics in the near future, so stay tuned! Also, don’t forget to join our Discord server to find people to play with and chat about the game with us 🙂

Author Kazaar
Categories Guides
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